I am so excited at the news that Scream Factory is releasing a new Collector’s Edition of one of my all time favorite Hammer films: The Evil of Frankenstein.
Directed by Freddie Francis from a script by John Elder and released in 1964, The Evil of Frankenstein is the first film in Hammer’s Frankenstein series that breaks continuity with the previous two. In a way, it’s a kind of reboot of the Frankenstein saga. Peter Cushing returns to the role of Baron Frankenstein, and of course is as brilliant as ever. Also, unlike the rather dark persona he brought to the character in the previous two films, this time he presents a rather more sympathetic and likeable Baron, for he does not commit cold-blooded murders in the interests of crazed scientific success. On the contrary, he is given a more heroic twist. The real villain of this movie is not the Baron himself, but the rather crooked hypnotist Zoltan (Peter Woodthorpe), whose services Frankenstein calls upon to reanimate his creature’s mind.
The storyline of The Evil of Frankenstein, despite its irrelevance to its two preceding films, is very enjoyable and entertaining. I can forgive a break in continuity if a new movie in a franchise is a good enough story, which this certainly is. As usual, Hammer enhances this film with gorgeous cinematography and wonderfully Gothic settings.
The movie opens with Baron Frankenstein being forced to leave town after a local priest gets wise to his rather dodgy experiments. Arriving back in his hometown of Karlstaad – a move fraught with danger considering his past notoriety here – and accompanied by his assistant Hans (Sandor Eles), Frankenstein discovers his original creation (played by Kiwi Kingston) frozen in a cave. Thawing it out, Frankenstein and Hans remove the creature to the Baron’s former chateau. Tagging along with the pair is a deaf-mute young girl (Katy Wild), whom they have rescued from a gang of thugs who had been terrorising her.
Being unable to restore the creature’s full mental capacity by scientific means alone, Frankenstein decides to seek the help of a local hypnotist: the aforementioned Zoltan. However, being the unreliable jerk that he is, Zoltan has more evil designs in mind as he attempts to hypnotise the creature back to full awareness. Thus all hell breaks loose as Zoltan uses the creature to embark upon a robbing and murdering spree in the local village. The part where the monster bursts into the burgomeister’s bedroom and, in front of the old man’s screaming wife, bangs his head repeatedly against the wall until he is dead is particularly horrific.
Discovering Zoltan for the wicked swine he really is, Frankenstein attempts to boot out Zoltan from his home – only to come up against the hypnotist’s vengeful wrath as he orders the creature to turn on his creator and kill him.
The Evil of Frankenstein is a movie that you should definitely add to your Hammer collection, and if you are going to buy any release, this Scream Factory Collector’s Edition is the one you should choose.
This fantastic release from Scream Factory has tons of special features, details of which are as follows:
- NEW 4K Scan Of The Interpositive
- NEW Audio Commentary With Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr
- NEW The Men Who Made Hammer: Freddie Francis
- NEW An Interview With Assistant Director William P. Cartlidge
- NEW An Interview With Actress Katy Wild
- TV Version Of THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (From The Best Available 16mm Print)
- The Making Of THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN – Narrated By Edward De Souza And Featuring Interviews With Wayne Kinsey, Caron Gardner, Hugh Harlow, Pauline Harlow, Peter Cushing, And Don Mingay
- A Moment With Actress Caron Gardner
- TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN TV Pilot
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery
You can buy this Collector’s Edition of The Evil of Frankenstein by clicking on the image link above this article.