THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1958)

Due to the massive success of THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957), Hammer Films realized they had the potential for a franchise on their hands and quickly put into production a sequel that would ultimately rival the original in style and quality. 


Certainly one of the best of the Frankenstein series, THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN is also one of the best films made by the studio. 


At the end of CURSE, Baron Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) was headed for the guillotine. Fortunately returning director Terrence Fisher never showed his beheading, so with a clever twist, the Baron escapes death and flees to the European village of Carlsbruck. There, he sets up shop as Dr. Stein and quickly becomes the toast of the town. 


He is soon visited by a rival physician, Dr. Kleve (Kerwin Matthews), who has figured out the good doctor’s true identity. Ironically, Kleve has no intention of exposing Victor. He wants to become his pupil and help him further his research. 


Victor agrees and in his most audacious experiment (so far), he and Kleve transplant the brain of Victor’s crippled and hunchbacked helper Karl (Oscar Quitak) into a Adonis-like body. 


But impatient with the limitations of his new body, Karl escapes the doctor’s care and winds up over taxing it. Soon the mind begins to degenerate, as does his body. Fueled by anger, Karl goes on a killing spree before in the end exposing Victor as the Baron Frankenstein. 


An enjoyable horror romp from start to finish, THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN builds on everything they got right with the first film and amps it up. Once again Peter Cushing is superb as Victor Frankenstein…though he probably could have picked a better alias than “Dr. Stein,” but I guess that ties in with his hubris.

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MAY 10, 2014