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The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)


Frankenstein and his new assistant Hans return to the Baron's hometown Carlstaad, where they find his castle ransacked and his property confiscated. After a confrontation with the burgomaster and the police chief - Frankenstein accuses them of stealing from his house - they have to flee the town. A mute beggar girl offers Frankenstein shelter in the cave where she dwells. There Frankenstein by chance discovers his supposedly dead creature frozen in a block of ice in a remote mountain cave. The Monster is thawed out and brought back to life at the Baron's lab. Frankenstein then hires the hypnotist Zoltan to reactivate the Monster's brain and to train it. However, Zoltan, who has now full control over Frankenstein's creature, uses the monster to take revenge on the town burgomeister and even manages to frame Frankenstein for it. Eventually, though, the creature turns against Zoltan and kills him. The mute girl helps the Monster escape and Frankenstein is arrested for the murder of the burgomaster and a police officer. Frankenstein manages to escape from prison and sets out to his chateau to protect his creature from an enraged lynch mob of townspeople. Meanwhile the Monster discovers some bottles of brandy and empties several of them. Completely drunk, the Monster then thrashes the lab and starts a fight with Frankenstein. Mistaking a bottle of chloroform for brandy, the alcohol-loving Monster drinks it and, writhing in agony, starts a fire at the lab. In the ensuing explosion both the Monster and Frankenstein perish, while Hans and the mute girl are able to escape.


Evil of Frankenstein movie poster

Ice, ice, baby: The Monster is waiting to be thawed out

Birth is always painful: Frankenstein and his Monster                          
Although 1964's The Evil of Frankenstein is part of Hammer's official Frankenstein series, the screenplay written by producer Anthony Hinds cuts off all connections with the previous films. There is even a flashback contradicting the first two films and rather connecting it to Universal's series. It shows the baron in a highly sophisticated laboratory where he gives life to his creature. This Monster is later chased by villagers and plunges to its supposed death into a cave. Evil of Frankenstein never picks up the events from 1958's Revenge of Frankenstein, in particular the fact that Frankenstein has already successfully completed several experiments involving the creation of artificial life, the last of them being his own re-animation in an artificial body.

The Baron is again played by Peter Cushing, but this time he seems more humane than in past films. He is shown on the run from ignorant villagers who constantly sabotage his work. Unlike in Hammer's other movies, this time Frankenstein is allowed to express his suffering. When he discovers that his castle has been looted by villagers he whines, "Why can't they leave me alone?"

The movie's real villain is Zoltan, a drunkard who uses the creature for his own purposes, very much like Bela Lugosi's Igor in Universal's Son of Frankenstein. The Baron on the other hand, is less concerned with creating monsters than trying to evade detection by local authorities. 

Unlike the other Hammer Frankenstein films, The Evil of Frankenstein was not directed by Terence Fisher but by Freddie Francis, an acclaimed director of photography. (Francis later worked as a D.O.P. for Martin Scorsese and David Lynch.) He replaced Fisher, who at the time of filming was seriously ill. But Francis' sometimes uninspired direction is not the main reason why The Evil of Frankenstein is often regarded as the worst entry in Hammer's Frankenstein series. Its most serious flaws are the rather simple plot and a complete lack of characterization. The Monster's is simply a brute killing machine acting on remote control under the influence of the hypnotist. Kiwi Kingston, a professional wrestler, may not have been a real actor, but he is also not given any chance to do something with his role apart from grunting and imitating Karloff's walk. Zoltan is greedy and ruthless, we learn nothing about his past and the reasons for his grudge with the town's authorities are rather dubious. There is no explanation whatsoever why a mute beggar girl would help a man like Frankenstein, especially when she has never met him before. Finally, the relationship between Frankenstein and his assistant is never really explained.
Being widely regarded as a negligible entry in Hammer's series due to its lack of continuity within the series, The Evil of Frankenstein is still of interest where production is concerned. In order to increase its reputation as the leading "House of Horror" Hammer teamed up with Universal Films for this production. As a result Hammer were allowed to use Universal's monster design from the 1931 film. The monster looked very much like Boris Karloff's classic make-up (although some might say that it was more like a cheap imitation made out of papier mâché) but the uninspired plot did not live up to the expectations of the movie fans.
There is also an alternative TV version of The Evil of Frankenstein, which misses some of the more "intense" scenes, but instead includes several additional scenes shot by a different director. These 13 minutes were filmed with new actors and do not contribute anything to the plot, since they were only shot in order to add length for TV broadcast.

Out for blood: the Monster is after the burgomaster


Cast & Crew:  
Victor Frankenstein Peter Cushing
Mute Girl Katy Wild
Hans Sandor Elès
Zoltán the Hypnotist Peter Woodthorpe
Monster Kiwi Kingston
Screenplay Anthony Hinds
Music Don Banks
Cinematography John Wilcox
Producer Anthony Hinds
Director Freddy Francis

The mute beggar girl (Katy Wild) and Hans (Sandor Elès)




Revenge of Frankenstein Frankenstein Created Woman