Monday, January 30, 2017

Day 91: The Curse of Frankenstein

This was Hammer Studios first real journey into horror. The studio came to define horror in the 60s but this 1957 foray was just a taste of things to come. Peter Cushing stars as Victor Frankenstein, the creator of the creature. He is awaiting execution as the movie begins and calls in a priest to explain how it was his monster that did all the killing not him. Of course, in the telling of the story he admits to several murders himself, either by direct or indirect action. Even if I believed his story, he should still be executed.

Anyway, the story all takes place in flashback as Frankenstein and his tutor, Krempe, figure out how to bring a puppy back to life. Rather than run with that little miracle, Victor wants to assemble the perfect man and bring him to life. It isn't long before he is collecting body parts (which got this movie an X rating when it came out) and luring a professor to his home to murder him and harvest his brain. By this time, Krempe was against the whole sordid mess and screws up the brain harvesting on purpose. When Christopher Lee awakens as the beast, Frankenstein blames his murderous rage on the brain damage caused by Krempe. Caught in the middle is Frankenstein's fiance, whom Krempe loves and Frankenstein's mistress.

The monster is kind of small potatoes in this production. The real villain is the mad doctor (this launched a series a sequels starring Cushing as Frankenstein and his various creations) and Cushing does a great job portraying himself as believing he is innocent. Lee is pretty great as the creature that can't quite control his motor skills. The body count is fair but the blood is at a minimum. It is pretty tame by modern standards but pretty entertaining.

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