Sunday, May 20, 2012
Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974) *
Director: Terence Fisher
Screenplay: John Elder
Cast: Peter Cushing, Shane Briant, David Prowse, Madeline Smith, David Prowse, John Stratton, Patrick Troughton, Charles Lloyd Pack, Michael Ward, Bernard Lee, Peter Madden
Hammer's last Frankenstein picture is an oddity indeed, deliberately conceived in an era of upheaval and experimentation as a conscious experiment in back to basics aesthetics, with as many original contributors on board as possible.
Unfortunately, austerity measures demanded a savagely low budget, necessitating that the film be almost entirely shot in a few claustrophobic studio interiors. It's grim, too, with several surprisingly unsavoury grand guignol flourishes and a pervading air of gloom, while the monster make-up is as weirdly over the top as the film's title.
The result was a film that remained unreleased for two years (and as long again in the US), but such is the professionalism of the studio, even at this low an ebb, that, to aficionados at least, it remains interesting and oddly compelling at all times.