Sunday, March 22, 2015

Vital Gore

Straight from Universal to Hammer and their take on the Frankenstein story. Curse of Frankenstein from 1957, directed by Terence Fisher with Peter Cushing as Frankenstein and Christopher Lee as his creation.

Hammer's first colour horror film and the first on-screen pairing of Cushing and Lee together in a horror film. Clearly keen to avoid litigation from Universal the studio had too use a different title and a remarkably different make up from the Jack Pierce original. It's also all very self contained with most of the action taking place in and around Baron Frankenstein's house which presumably kept the budget down.

Cushing is suitable sinister and unpleasant as a murderous version of Victor Frankenstein. Meanwhile Christopher Lee is buried under the make-up but still manages to bring a remarkable pathos to his version of the monster. And of course there is the first appearance of that bright red blood that characterised the Hammer horrors, particularly in that famous and oft repeated sequence when the creature is shot in the eye and clasps his hand to his face as the blood pumps out.

And it wouldn't be a Hammer without some heaving bosoms and Valerie Gaunt and Hazel Court prove to have the corsetry, and the screams, to fit the part. But the film belongs to Cushing and Lee who are both terrific. It all rattles along quickly before Frankenstein is condemned for his crimes. Somehow the studio will have to get him out of that for the inevitable sequel, but first they would have a stab at (or stake at?) that bloodsucking Count.

Four out of Five buckets of gore for Curse of Frankenstein but I can hear a hearse pulled by riderless black horses thundering this way to see if Dracula can beat that score.

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