Saturday, October 22, 2016
Hammer Watch: Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)
A few apologies to my brother and Jamie who watched this movie with me. While technically a horror movie, this one moves along more like a 19th century novel reflecting upon injustices until the last third. I'm not sure that last third is actually scary - it's more interesting from a science-fiction/ fantasy point of view.
I selected the movie in part because I've been trying to get my head around what Hammer was doing with it's Dracula and Frankenstein films back in the day, and in part because it's the closest to a Bride of Frankenstein film I've noted the studio producing. It is, of course, absolutely nothing like Bride of Frankenstein, so that was a wash.
This film begins with a young boy seeing his father executed for murder, a man of a mercurial temperament we see the boy inherit as a young man. He's a lab assistant for the local doctor, a man of limited imagination, who has opened his door to Baron Frankenstein, laying low as he conducts a new round of experiments - these tests showing him how to preserve the soul in the body for a period after the body has perished.
The young man has fallen for an Inn Keeper's daughter, supposedly deformed and ugly, but within certain limitations of the make-up. Three aristocratic young men like to visit her inn, abuse their status by refusing to pay for drinks and mock the girl's deformities (yeah, class acts these guys).
After a series of events leading to the young man being framed for murder by the aristocrats, the young woman dies as well, and Frankenstein shoves the dude's soul in there with the young woman. Why? Because the Victor Frankenstein of the Hammer movies is curious like a cat.
Turns out maybe that young man inherited dad's tendency to get a bit stabby, and mayhem ensues.
I'll never think anyone tops Colin Clive's Henry Frankenstein, but it's hard not to really like Peter Cushing's take on Baron Victor Frankenstein. He's aloof, aristocratic, suffers no fools and utterly driven by his work. He's a jerk, but a fascinating jerk, and that's something for filmmakers choosing a direction. I mean, he really doesn't care about anyone or anything but inhuman experiments vis-a-vis life and death.
I appreciate that the story was interesting and entertaining enough that I could hang in there until the actual "horror" part kicked in, but the movie never feels exactly like it's "Frankenstein", exactly. I mean, sure, it fits in the universe set up by Hammer, but... I dunno.
Anyway, not too much more to say on this film. Fun, but nothing essential.