A precursor to the modern-day likes of Morgan Freeman, Peter Cushing had that ability to bring an air of credibility to the most ridiculous material, and make you feel you were watching something far more worthy than you actually were.

Such is Frankenstein Created Woman, a 1967 offering from the venerable studio that comes chock full of soul-switching, miraculous plastic surgery, over-the-top histrionics and plenty of unintentional humour.

But, in the safe hands of Cushing, and with Hammer veteran Terrence Fisher at the helm, this is more than worth a casual watch.

The fourth in the series of British releases featuring the ‘mad’ doctor (following The Curse, The Revenge and The Evil of Frankenstein) the film takes place in Germany.

Starting off with what appears a jokey execution scene that swiftly turns sinister, we are introduced to Hans, a young lad that goes on to become an assistant to Frankenstein and his fellow accomplice, Dr Hertz.

The Baron has come across evidence (after freezing himself no less), that it is scientifically possible to keep the soul of a person alive even after they have become physically dead.

Having craved the opportunity to test this theory out on other subjects, Frankenstein gets his opportunity after Hans is framed for murdering a local tavern landlord.

A hasty guillotine execution follows, taking place in front of the landlord’s daughter Christina, a horribly disfigured young woman who was enjoying a relationship with poor Hans.

He is beheaded and she throws herself off a bridge to her death, and hey presto the good Baron has two bodies on his hands to try out his tricks.

And try out his tricks he does, with a canny off-screen manoeuvre that sees the soul of Hans placed into the body of Christina, who for some inexplicable reason also sees her deformities vanish (the facial scars I can just about let go, but a withered hand and a limp as well?) All seems well, but as we know in films of this ilk that will not last too long, and sure enough the spirit of Hans begins to ‘possess’ Christina and lead her on a quest for justice as she tracks down the real killers of her father.

All builds towards a slam-bang, and as is so often the way with Frankenstein movies, a partly-moving climax.

Overall there is plenty to like here – the acting is reasonable throughout the cast (although as ever with Hammer films there is the ‘spot the modern day British TV actor game’ – in this case Heartbeat’s Derek Fowlds as one of the killers) and Cushing brings his usual polished performance to the table.

Susan Denberg, who was plucked from near obscurity for this role and returned to it shortly afterwards, makes an interesting female lead as Christina, although more could have been made of the ‘man’s soul trapped in a woman’s body’ dynamic.

There are a few nasty shock scenes, with quite a graphic edge by Hammer’s standards (although not modern ones it must be said) and the second half of the film certainly gathers pace after a somewhat sluggish opening.

Despite its handful of faults, Frankenstein Created Woman is a very worthwhile addition to the Baron’s body of films and certainly worth tracking down.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.