The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

A violent and intense adaptation of the classic story. This film is melodramatic and deliciously sinister. It’s a fun ride of a movie.

This is the movie that launched Hammer horror. Hammer produced a particular brand of bloody and violent horror film shot in glorious technicolor. It all started here.

The story deviates from the original film and the book in several key ways. The first and most important change is that Dr Frankenstein is the villain here. In the 1931 film the scientist is driven mad by the pursuit of knowledge, but he recovers his senses eventually becoming the sympathetic hero. In this film Frankenstein is the monster. He is horrible. He does evil things in his pursuit of knowledge. He engages in a terrifying series of events to create his monster.

The monster here is played by Christopher Lee. He doesn’t have much screen time, but the time he does have is utilized well. The creature design here is closer to the book. He is horrible to look at. His skin is pale. He has one dead eye and sounds that don’t heal. He is horrifying.

The film has a lot of genuine scares and frightening moments as well as scenes that crawl under the skin. Frankenstein here is worse than his monster ever was as he locks his lover in which the creature. It is more intense and probably more palatable for a modern audience. It’s faster paced and indulges in the more intense kind of horror people look for today.

On its own this is a really great retelling of the story. As a companion to the 1931 film it is a fun take on the story that shows a different side of the characters and themes. It’s fun to watch the same themes played out in very different ways.

Absolutely my cup of tea. A

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