Friday, May 20

The Revenge of Frankenstein's monster - not very monstruous

Here's another awesome poster for Revenge of Frankenstein featuring an illustration the monster, who is nowhere near as cool looking in the film as this poster. The monster of this film is interesting, however, even if not really very scary. He has more screen time and character development than the Christopher Lee monster from the previous film. The Baron has moved to a new town and set up shop as a physician under the name Dr. Stein, and is performing community service helping the poor and needy. Seems he's turned over a new leaf... or has he?



True to form, Frankenstein has set up a secret lab elsewhere and enlisted the aid of a new faithful sidekick Fritz, a hunchbacked lab assistant. He is pilfering body parts from the medical clinic to continue his experiments. The assistant is an interesting development as Hammer was very careful in the first film to keep their version different from the Universal version - yet here they use both a hunchback assistant and the name Fritz, which was the assistant's name in the original Universal film. Writer Jimmy Sangster was undoubtedly aware of these elements from the Universal film, and must have added them as a bit of a nod of the cap to the James Whale version.

A young ambitious medical doctor named Hans recognizes Frankenstein. However, he doesn't turn him in to the authorities... He is, instead, eager to learn from the Baron, and enlists as his pupil and assistant. Together they work to create a new body to transplant the brain of Fritz into. Fritz, sick of his crippled shell, is eager to move into his new fleshy residence. They successfully transplant his brain and move him to a room near the clinic to heal.

Frankenstein tells Hans that as long as the Fritz/monster has sufficient time to heal the transplantation will be successful. They strap him to a bed to keep him from moving about, and leave him in this room. Creature/Fritz escapes his bonds and makes his way back to the Baron's lab. His intent is to destroy his old body in an incinerator. While there a watchman hears him moving around in the lab. Mistaking him for a burglar he gives him a severe beating, which damages the brain and turns him into an angry beast. He attacks and kills the watchman, the begins to slowly revert back to the misshapen form he had before - his hump returns, along with his limp and curled arm and his features contort to resemble the monster on the poster. But ultimately he just isn't really a very convincing monster, just a guy with a hump, limp, forehead scar and a scrunched up face.

It is too bad, because the doctor is a fascinating character and they really give him some terrific character development in this film. Hans is a welcome addition too, and the dynamic between the two as they work together to push the boundaries of science works really well. Frankenstein openly flaunting his presence in a new town, rather than skulking about in the shadows is brilliant, and completely in character. Unfortunately the third chapter in the Hammer Frankenstein doesn't continue this storyline and abandons the continuity. Sangster's two films work together perfectly and it would have been interesting to see where he would have taken the series in the future.

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