Second Sight in the UK has released another Hammer horror onto Blu-ray, a remastered limited edition version of Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell starring Peter Cushing and directed by Terence Fisher.
The finale to Hammer’s Frankenstein cycle features a young Doctor who is interned in the asylum where Baron Frankenstein supposedly perished after being found experimenting on stolen corpses. In the asylum, he meets the mysterious Doctor Victor and gradually comes to realise that Frankenstein is alive and well and continuing his work.
Made in 1972 but not released to cinemas until 1974 Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell is one of the last of the Hammer gothic movies and in one way was the end of an era for the studio. Director Terence Fisher was bought back to try and rekindle the gothic feel of these movies but he was at the time not very well and suffered with his back after a couple of car crashes. He seems to be going through the motions as a lot of scenes are sort of homages to his previous films but he is blessed with a wonderful cast, especially Peter Cushing as the Baron of the title.
Cushing had the year before lost his beloved wife and was never to fully recover from the loss. But his work here is superb, with his gaunt features he really does play the doctor as if he has finally gone mad and will stop at nothing to continue his experiments. This was the 6th and final time he would play Baron Frankenstein in a Hammer production. Shane Briant is also good as another doctor who is imprisoned in the asylum where Frankenstein is also secretly continuing his experiments and soon becomes his protege. Many cameos by some great British actors help including such names as Bernard Lee, better known as M from the Bond movies and ex Doctor Who Patrick Troughton.
This film is also a lot gorier than previous Hammer Frankenstein films, even if the monster suit looks pretty awful, but the time had passed for the studio and with the release of films such as The Exorcist making big bucks at the box office, they knew it was time to finish. While certainly not the best Hammer film by a long shot, this is still worth a view, especially with this new remastered release by Second Sight. The film was released onto Blu ray before by Icon and you can read my review of that disc here….
The transfer is gorgeous with bold colours and great clarity to show off the cinematography and sets. The film is presented with the option of viewing it in 1.66:1 or 1.37:1 (full frame). This is the full uncut version, some gore was cut for an R rating in America but this UK release restores those scenes.
Special features include –
- New audio commentary by film academic Kat Ellinger
- Archive audio commentary by Shane Briant, Madeline Smith and Marcus Hearn
- An Appreciation of Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell by David Huckvale
- The Music of Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell – an interesting discussion on the music of James Bernard and how it is used in the film.
- Taking Over the Asylum – Great making of featurette with lots of interviews with the remaining cast and crew.
- Charming Evil: Terence Fisher at Hammer
- Stills Gallery
Limited Edition Contents
- Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Graham Humphreys
- Soft cover book with new essays by Kevin Lyons, Kelly Robinson and Emma Westwood plus production stills
- 5 collectors’ art cards
FILM – 7 PICTURE – 9 AUDIO – 8 EXTRAS – 8.5