Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (2003)
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Dr Frankenstein has buried his old identity and is now working at an asylum where he basically has complete control and harvests the inmates for their body parts so that he may continue his ghastly experiments on reanimation with the help of an ambitious doctor who has been institutionalised. Using pieces from the asylum's most promising inmates, Frankenstein patches up a horrific brute of a monster who is as sad and tortured as he is grotesque.
Hammer's last Frankenstein film is arguably one of the best of their final years. Director Terence Fisher was back at the helm for one last crack before retiring. Peter Cushing ( sporting a bad wig here) was back in his most famous role. And as usual, Hammer provided a good supporting cast as well as some tight script writing. So the stage was set to give the Frankenstein series one last big hurrah and for the most part, it works completely. The film is a true sequel which is good, as elements from the previous films are incorporated (either for a little in-joking or for plot developments including Frankenstein being burned at the end of Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed) to allow for newer developments to make way. Unlike the Dracula series, one of the strengths of the Frankenstein series was to re-invent itself and look original in every instalment (despite the plots being almost the same). At no point here do you feel like you've been here before and it's all seemingly original material we're given. Logical progression of the story has made Frankenstein more evil and murderous in each instalment and finally Fisher decides to go the full distance and relish the fact that the previously-sane-although-corrupt scientist is now simply a mad killer who doesn't realise the futility of what he's doing. Credit must be given to Cushing as well because his performance verges on the sane/insane and at times you don't know which side of the line he's treading. It's a fitting finale for Cushing in his best cinematic role, even though he could have slept-acted the part now. Shane Briant as his assistant is also pretty good and reminds the viewer of how Frankenstein used to be: a little cold, naive but intelligent and ruthless nonetheless. Dave Prowse plays the part of the monster and through his mannerisms, he manages to turn the creature into a sympathetic and pitiful monster. For the first time, Hammer decided to actually go with an out-and-out monster instead of just some guy with a big head and big boots. That's maybe one of the reasons why so many people dislike this entry. Albeit the suit isn't particularly convincing but it's still believable if you remember this is a mixture of about 60 body parts from different people - it ain't gonna be perfect folks. Gore was upped in the later Hammer films and there are plenty of surgical pleasantries here, with no less a brain transplant revealed in all of it's shocking power. Depending on what version you get, some parts may be censored ( this cuts my rating down half a star since the US DVD is the cut version. Try to find the old laser disc from Japan to see the uncut version) And like the rest of the Hammer films, it wouldn't be a Frankenstein film without the finale where the monster does meet it's maker (but not before a classic Hammer moment where the creature is digging graves during a lightning storm).
To sum up here. Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell is an excellent finale to the Frankenstein series and that's because everyone from the director to the actors to the guys who makes the coffee seem to be on top form here. Check it out.
Now this is the stuff! A real good filthy one. Not only is the good Baron treating the criminally insane in a dirty prison, but he is blackmailing the warden and using the inmates as his only personal body farm. Along comes the uppity Shane Briant as Dr. Helder, who has been convicted of the same sort of arrogant grave robbing organ harvesting. Why these ghouls rely upon town drunkards, I will never understand. Madeline Smith plays the Angel, who does not talk, just looks longingly at the various scenery keeping her bosoms well covered. Still what a fetching young girl! Darth Vader plays the monster ape man with the rotting brain of a math professor. Bad things happen. Mainly to the monster. The ending is one of the best in the series.
Enjoyable final Cushing Frankenstein film from hammer Studios. Set in an insanse asylum, Dr. Frankenstein of course resumes work upon building a new human from pieces. A worthy final entry in the series.
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