Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Frankenstein Created Woman" (1967) d / Freddie Francis

 photo Frankenstein_createdwoman_zpsaeaebfa9.jpg
Tonight's review, a 1967 cult classic as directed by one Freddie Francis, is the fourth in the Frankenstein series for the legendary Hammer Studios, half of a horror double bill with The Mummy's Shroud, and a metaphysically kooky one, at that. Besides the expected Peter Cushing in the lead, reprising his familiar role of Baron Frankenstein, this one also displays the Austrian Playboy Playmate Susan Denberg, dubbed here as the film's producers found her Austrian accent too thick for audiences, and Robert Morris, who'd also appeared in Quartermass and the Pit for the studio the same year. It's a showcase of Francis' ability to turn a disorientated script into an effective slice of gothic horror that may sound a bit like misogynist fantasies acted out for the big screen, but in actuality, stands as an empowering display of beautiful woman in the driver's seat, if by "driver's seat", we really mean "serial murders". Onward!

 photo fcwoman2_zps01235288.jpg
This imagery takes me back to a certain ultra-cheezy music video from the "Intensities in 10 Cities" album. You know the one...
After a young boy witnesses the public head chop of his criminal father at the guillotine, we see that he's grown into an adult named Hans (Robert Morris), excessively kindhearted for someone that's seen his dear da beheaded, at work as an assistant to Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) and Doctor Hertz (Thorley Walters), and in love with the barkeep's disfigured, crippled daughter, Christina (Susan Denberg), who gets the piss taken out of her quite regularly, by three wealthy deviants named Anton, Karl, and Johan (Peter Bythe, Barry Warren, Derek Fowlds, respectively) who later beat her father to death with canes when he interrupts their late night theft of his wine, and frame Hans for the murder, when he refuses to use his alibi (he was having gimpy in n' out wiff Christina, wudn't he?) and spoil her name. It just so happens, that Frankenstein, having been revived from a cryogenic death-state himself, has invented a soul-trapping apparatus, which he uses on the freshly executed Hans, and when Christina returns to the soul-crushing news and does a suicide flopper into the drink, drowning herself, well, you can see where this is going, can't you?

 photo fcwoman51_zpsd551024f.jpg
Harnessing the energy from Madonna's Blonde Ambition stage bra had proved disastrous for these men of science.
If you voted that Frankenstein used his medical knowledge to give a stay of execution to both parties involved, albeit a gruesome one, indeed, then give yourself a banana sticker. While the Baron uses surgery to repair all of Christina's physical flaws, he manages to trap Hans' disembodied soul inside the now beautiful young lady. That's not gonna work out the way you planned it, methinks, unless your plan was "get Hans' vengeful spirit to possess his former love and use her new fleshy wares to trap the three pompous perpetratin' bastards what put them in this metaphysical pickle in the first place". Naturally, Christina systematically snuffs the bastards at the ethereal insistence of her ghostly beau, and Frankenstein and Hertz only manage to piece it all together just as she's cancelling out the last of them for keeps. When the severed head informs her that her vengeful journey has come to an end, against the desperate pleas of Frankenstein, she takes the Nestea plunge into a waterfall, and re-drowns herself, to join her mate in the afterlife. For once, Frankenstein's comeuppance is merely psychological, and he walks away to collect his thoughts, and focus once again, on his work...

 photo fcwoman8_zps38f9b565.jpg
Susan Denberg wielding a meat cleaver? Halfway to full mast, with tingly potential.
Denberg would also appear in the "Mudd's Women" episode of Star Trek, which I have seen before, but can't recall whether the actress made an impression on me. I'm sure she did, and I just buried all memories of the poisonous sci-fi in the inner depths of my memory, including those of her. It is what it is, sci-fi dorks, I can't be someone I'm not... Rumors of her flipping her lid on L.S.D. and overdosing in the seventies, would seem to be unsubstantiated, probably. Cushing, as British Horror's elder statesman, would follow this up with Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), as well as assorted genre fare like Torture Garden (1967), Blood Beast Terror (1968), and Scream and Scream Again (1970). He certainly earned a packet of twenty unfiltered John Player fags, long his favorites, with his performance here. Either way, this is both must-see for film fans, and must own for genre completists, as it has earned an impressive three Wops on the rating scale. Grab a copy!

 photo Frankenstein_Created_Woman_050_zpsc16d79f3.jpg
The Herman's Hermits pop music concert scheduled tonight in the East End, has, regrettably, been cancelled. Health reasons cited.
  photo nu3w_zps21ec95cd.jpg

No comments:

Connect with Facebook