Film Review: The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

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This was Hammer Productions’ maiden voyage into full-color gothic horror, a path that led the studio to box office success on both sides of the Atlantic for many years to come.  This was the first time many audiences ever saw human blood in technicolor, and the first time Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee appeared in a horror movie together.

Cushing plays Baron Frankenstein and Lee plays his mute monster in a loose adaptation of Mary Shelley’s story.  Both actors give fine, melodramatic performances.  For legal reasons, Lee’s makeup is very different from Boris Karloff’s in the Universal classic.  It’s more disturbing, closer to what Shelley described in her novel, even if Hammer’s screenplay takes several liberties with her storyline and characters.

Director Terence Fisher and his crew do well with the studio’s always-limited resources, especially in the way of sets, wardrobe, and music.  While it’s often overshadowed by Horror of Dracula (Hammer’s next feature), I think Curse of Frankenstein is better paced, better performed, and better scored.

Despite the baron’s beheading at the end of the film, Hammer would go on to make six more Frankenstein films, five with Peter Cushing.

Rating: 3.25/5 ★★★¼☆ 

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About Scott_S

Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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