If you say Hammer Film Productions, you’ve got my attention. I love the old British horror studio and the classics it churned out in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.
“Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell” is one of the least of these films, despite the wonderful talent behind it. Peter Cushing plays Baron Frankenstein, keeping an extremely low profile as the chief physician at an insane asylum. Dr. Carl Victor, as the Baron is now known, is still attempting to breathe life into corpses. And, he’s willing to use the poor asylum inmates as his unwilling subjects.
There are many reasons “Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell” is a disappointment. Horror icon and director Terence Fisher just didn’t have it here. The story, on the surface, makes for a great horror tale. But, the acting and special effects are mind-boggingly bad. The most unforgivable mistake was the monster’s get-up (David Prowse of “Star Wars” fame in a gorilla suit.) Far from terrifying! Even the hair patches on the ape suit were sloppy. They reminded me of a naked Austin Powers.
Even more astounding was the “R” rating assigned to this 1974 film. Most of the violence is clunky and unintentionally funny. Not even a glimpse of nudity as was common in many Hammer films of the early 1970’s. So, why the “R” rating? Even the brain surgery scene was a bit on the lame side.
No, give me a good Hammer production any day. This just isn’t one of them. Grade: D+
Runtime: 93 minutes
Rated: “R” (mild to moderate violence)
Released by Warner Archive
Format: DVD only
Special Feature: Audio commentary by David Prowse and others