Peter Cushing and Shane Briant in Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)

An Old Hammer for a Young Audience

Dr. Simon Helder (Shane Briant) is a fan of the works of Baron Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) and has taken to employing a Bodysnatcher (Patrick Troughton) to bring him corpses to experiment on. But when the police catch the Bodysnatcher he leads them to Simon and that leads to him being placed in an asylum. But it is there that he meets his idol who now goes by the name of Dr. Carl Victor and who takes the young Helder under his wing as an assistant physician to the patients. That is until Helder uncovers Frankenstein's secret laboratory where he has been continuing his experiments in reanimating the dead and where the young doctor inadvertently releases a Monster in to the asylum.

After watching several Hammer horror movies over the past few weeks the one thing which I kept coming across was the feeling that whilst they may still entertain those who watched them the first time around their style was not overly watchable for newer audiences. But ironically Hammer's final Frankenstein movie "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell" is probably the most watchable when put in to context of a newer audience trying to watch it and that is because it keeps things extremely simple.

Let me put it this way, what do you expect from a Hammer Frankenstein movie? Well firstly Peter Cushing who shows up as the Dr. and delivers that same clipped tone which he has had through out the movies as well as those piercing eyes. We also have the monster with David Prowse no less behind the make-up and of course being a Hammer movie of the 70s some pretty young women but not so many that the focus seems to be on them. Aside from that we have a simple storyline of a young doctor worshipping Frankenstein and then after making the mistake of releasing the monster comes to question whether playing God is right. It is so simple that modern audiences whilst they may not be blown away by the horror will find it easy to follow and not overly stuffy.

What this all boils down to is that by the time "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell" was made the franchise had run its course. But as a final farewell to Peter Cushing and his Baron Frankenstein it works remarkably well and by no means the stiff period pieces that some of the Hammer movies were.