The Evil of Frankenstein is a 1964 Hammer Film Production movie that was directed by Freddie Francis & starrred Peter Cushing, Kiwi Kingston & Sandor Eles.
The third movie in Hammer Frankenstein series, The Evil of Frankenstein drops the continuity of the previous films even though Peter Cushing reprises his role as Frankenstein.
Lacking a lot of what makes Hammer Horror such a joy to watch, The Evil of Frankenstein is a flawed movie. One that only really deserves praise for its good performances by the actors & the visual style that shares a lot in common with the original Universal monster.
The movie opens with a child witnessing a man stealing a corpse. The child runs in fear but is grabbed by the man who is revealed to be Baron Victor Frankenstein (Cushing). A priest finds out what Frankenstein & his assistant Hans (Sandor Eles) have been doing so confronts them. The doctor tries to explain to the priest but incensed, he smashes up Frankenstein’s lab.
The pair, Frankenstein & Hans, are then forced out of town.
With nowhere to go, the pair head back to Frankenstein’s hometown. The plan is simple, collect some of the doctors old valuables & sell them to fund new work. The only problem is that Frankenstein is not welcome in the town & the authorities have confiscated his stuff.
After getting into a confrontation with the authorities, Frankenstein & Hans escape into the mountains where they are led into a cave by a mute woman. Inside they discover the doctors original creature frozen in a block of ice. Frankenstein can continue his work but there is just one problem, the creature won’t listen to him.
That’s where a hypnotist named Zoltan (Peter Woodthrope) comes in. A corrupt & nasty man, he uses his abilities to take control of Frankenstein’s creation making it commit crimes for him. This gets the attention of those looking for the doctor!
The Evil of Frankenstein is a bit of a disappointment overall unfortunately. It lacks a lot of what makes Hammer such a unique watch. The story feels stretched out. While Cushing is as glorious as he often is, he doesn’t exactly have to stretch himself here. He could realistically do this stuff in his sleep.
Here the focus is mainly on the Frankenstein with the monster not being present for large parts of the film. The reoccurring message of humanity wanting to destroy what they don’t understand is hammered home here to the point of frustration. We get it, men are the true evil & Frankenstein is a somewhat misunderstood individual. It’s a fine point to make, as ultimately he is a ‘shades of grey’ character. Stealing corpses is not so good but his attempts to further science is commendable.
Frankenstein’s monster, played by Kiwi Kingston is one of the least memorable versions. Visually it shares more in common with the classic Universal (flat head) style but the makeup looks cheap & it’s a bit uninspired. The idea behind it being more a slave this time round is one that intrigues but it’s ultimately Peter Woodthrope’s Zoltan that steals the show. A villain but one with a bit more character & life to him.
Sadly when all is said & done, you’ll be left with an unshakeable feeling of disappointment. The Evil of Frankenstein doesn’t even come close to reaching the high standards set by the rest of the series.
The Evil of Frankenstein