‘Your blood will run cold when the monster rises.’
Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell is a 1972 British horror film, directed by Terence Fisher and produced by Hammer Film Productions. It stars Peter Cushing, Shane Briant (Straight on Till Morning; Demons of the Mind; The Picture of Dorian Gray) and David Prowse (The Horror of Frankenstein; Vampire Circus).
Filmed at Elstree Studios in October 1972 but unreleased until 1974, it was the final chapter in Hammer’s Frankenstein series of films as well as director Terence Fisher’s last film.
Baron Victor Frankenstein (Cushing) is housed at an insane asylum. He has been made a surgeon at the asylum, and has a number of privileges, as he holds secret information on the asylum’s corrupt director (John Stratton). The Baron, under the alias of Dr. Karl Victor, uses his position to continue his experiments in the creation of man.
When Simon Helder (Briant), a young doctor and fan of the Baron’s work, arrives as an inmate, the Baron takes him under his wing as an apprentice. Together they work on a new creature. Unbeknownst to Simon, however, Frankenstein is acquiring body parts by murdering his patients.
The Baron’s new experiment is the hulking, ape-like Herr Schneider (Prowse), a homicidal inmate whom he has kept alive after a violent suicide attempt and on whom he has grafted the hands of a recently deceased sculptor (Bernard Lee). Since Frankenstein’s hands were badly burned in the name of science (perhaps in either The Evil of Frankenstein or Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed), the shabby stitch-work was done by Sarah (Madeline Smith), a beautiful mute girl who assists the surgeon, and who is nicknamed “Angel”. Simon tells the Baron that he is a surgeon, and the problem is solved.
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Extra features include: Taking Over the Asylum: The Making Of Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell – Charming Evil: Terence Fisher at Hammer – Audio commentary by Shane Briant and Madeline Smith, moderated by Marcus Hearn – Animated stills gallery. Hammer have confirmed that this version is the most complete ever released with “previously missing vein clamping/head sawing/mad dancing & more”.
‘The ultra low budget does show in Scott MacGregor’s claustrophobic sets, unconvincing miniatures, and the monster’s get-up is obviously a pull-over mask designed by Eddie Knight (though the monster is unique in the annals of Frankenstein cinema). But Fisher’s direction and Cushing’s consummate performance (adding complete madness this time to the character) display a true dedication to this kind of cinema, and the confinement of the asylum only adds to the doomed, somber mood.’ DVD Drive-in
” …the script does not develop in any interesting way: it is just a string of situations without resonance and the production obviously lacked resources, being incredibly limited in scope. What finally capsizes it though is the creature, a hairy muscle-bound apeman who has little menace to offer and certainly no poignancy.” David Pirie, A New Heritage of Horror
” … the whole thing is subdued and listless – the murky greens and browns of the set design are depressing and there is a feeling that we are simply tracking over old ground.” Sinclair McKay, A Thing of Unspeakable Horror: The History of Hammer Films
“The film is preoccupied with failure and death, following the downbeat trend of Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. It is Fisher’s last grim fairy-tale, with genuine moments of power and poetry, providing a fitting conclusion to the story of the Baron that does not disgrace the director or the star.” David Miller, The Peter Cushing Companion
“The Hammer Frankenstein series went out as it came in, led by Peter Cushing’s typically fine performance and Terence Fisher’s sound direction.” Tom Johnson, Deborah Del Vecchio, Hammer Films: An Exhaustive Filmography
Cast and characters:
This gory ‘bottling’ scene was removed by the UK’s BBFC censors:
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Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) to the asylum inmates: “Go back to your rooms. There’s nothing more for you to see. It’s all over now.”