After the huge success of 1957’s The Curse Of Frankenstein, it was far from a surprise that Hammer wasted little time in cobbling together plans for a sequel.

Shot back-to-back with Dracula (hence a number of sets look suspiciously similar), this Terence Fisher-directed flick picks up the Baron’s story as he awaits his execution for the crimes committed in the previous film.

But thanks to a canny switcheroo from a couple of henchmen, a priest is guillotined and buried instead of the Baron, allowing Peter Cushing’s creation to scarper to the town of Carlsbruck and start a new life.

This he does under the name Dr Stein, quickly establishing himself as a respectable doctor, happy to help those both rich and poor.

Naturally this is all a front though, as Frankenstein is using the body parts of his less fortunate patients to continue his research into the reanimating of patched-up bodies.

The plan is to place the brain of deformed henchmen Karl (who is a willing accomplice) into the body of a more able person, and the Baron is helped in this task by local physician Hans Cleve (Francis Matthews), who rumbled Frankenstein’s true identity.

Although everything seems a great success at first, as this is a Hammer horror flick it doesn’t take a genius to work out that things will go awry, and soon the Baron has a homicidal creature, the local medical council and a host of disgruntled patients on his tail.

Can the Baron escape once more? Well, the fact that Cushing went on to star in another host of Frankenstein movies should answer that question – although the scriptwriters do offer up an ingenious way of continuing the series on this occasion.

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The great man is at his impeccable best again on this occasion, offering up a performance that ensures the Baron straddles the line between sympathy and outrage.

Cushing is helped by a solid sidekick in the form of Matthews’ Kleve and the requisite glamour comes in the form of Eunice Gayson’s Margaret.

Fisher’s direction is assured as ever, allowing the viewer to soak up the atmosphere, period detail and solid acting.

There are issues with pacing, mainly in a first half that treads water, but things click into gear in the latter stages and get genuinely thrilling as the various parties hunt each other down.

As far as the ‘creature’ goes, both Oscar Quitak and Michael Gwynn hold things together well (if you excuse the pun) and it is far more effective to have a basic human form becoming slowly unhinged, rather than any over-the-top monster effects.

My only real issue is the title – although the Baron does crowbar in at one point that he will have his ‘revenge’, this is never really in evidence – revenge against whom for example? How exactly is what he doing this time around ‘revenge’?

Despite that minor quibble, The Revenge Of Frankenstein is a worthy addition to the Hammer series and features another fine turn from Cushing.

 

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.