A dead and frozen Baron Frankenstein is re-animated by his colleague Dr. Hertz proving to him that the soul does not leave the body on the instant of death. His lab assistant, young Hans, is found guilty of murdering the local pub owner with whom he had an argument where he foolishly swore to kill the man and Frankenstein acquires his body immediately after the execution. Hans had been quite friendly with the dead man’s daughter Christina who returns just in time to see him guillotined. Distraught, she commits suicide and is brought back to life by the good Doctor but with Hans’ brain replacing her own. As memories return to her – Hans’ memories in fact – she sets out to pursue and kill those responsible for having sent him to his death.
There’s more going on in this little Hammer than meets the eye. The script reaches for something beyond the usual Frankenstein story, and Terence Fisher accommodates with keenly focused, at times inspired, direction. Start thinking about what is inferred when the soul of a boy, the son of a murderer, is transfered to the body of a crippled, deformed girl. The resulting action does not follow a clear and easy “good verses evil” scenario. Within the confines of a Hammer movie’s melodrama, Fisher, a classical stylist and at times a superb artist, often created magic. This is one of those times. The performances are all equally compelling. Cushing gives the Baron more texture here than in any of the other films, I think. Thorley Walters is a good foil, and his befuddled affection and respect for the Baron makes some of this really rather touching. Arther Grant’s photography has never been better. I urge viewers to watch the film with an open mine. This is not the usual horror film; it’s more a fantasy, a fairy tale.
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Audio: English AC3 2.0 @ 192 Kbps + Commentary track | Subs: English (embedded)