The Horror of Frankenstein Reviews
An almost good entry from Hammer with a solid and creepy performance by the lead Ralph Bates, but the lack of interesting ideas, abrupt ending and below par script hamper the film.
This feels like a prequel of sorts, it traces Frankenstein back to his school days shows him essentially finding his way, scientifically speaking. There is a scene in which he enthusiastically brings a severed arm back to life for example. The Horror of Frankenstein is actually quite an entertaining film, Ralph Bates is great in the lead role and the humour that Sangster injected into proceedings gives it a light hearted side which helps the narrative flow without becoming cumbersome or lethargic. I'll have to trace the non-'collection' Hammer Frankenstein's now to see how they compare.
However, The Horror of Frankenstein shines not only among Hammer films, or Horror films, but films in general, for reasons: Ralph Bates, Kate O'Mara, and Veronica Carlson's boobs. The sex appeal is obvious, I mean just look at her! wow. Having dispensed with the obvious, my main contention is Ralph Bates' performance as Victor Frankenstein. Most critics claim that he pales in comparison to Cushing's portrayal as the mad doctor, but I think they may be yearning for a daddy figure or something, because thought Cushing's Dr. Frankenstein hits all the high notes in an operatic performance, Bates' Dr. is a surly rake-hell, an absolute heel of a man. That is his strength in this film and the scenes in which he appears with others are simply awesome. His carping tone, his smug mugging, and his dirkish manner with the ladies is a performance to be revelled in. He is, in my opinion, a punk rock version of a Hammer lead, as opposed to Cushing's classical stylings or Christopher Lee's Big Band Jazz.
I guess people are expecting some kind of revamped storyline, or some new revelations on the scientific process, or more stuff with the Monster. Perhaps they prefer the darker sets of the older Frankenstein movies, with laboratories shrouded in darkness. And they can find these things in other movies, to be sure. But Bates is hilarious as the Doctor, and his interactions with O'Mara are heartbreakingly misogynistic, which makes us wonder how a man can be so cruel... but then a again, he is a mad doctor. This inhumnaity to women is actually the key to understanding Bates' Dr. Frankenstein, as well as the egotistic behavior he displays with his colleagues at the university early in the film.