Hammer films was an extremely productive film production company. If there’s one thing that can be said about Hammer, it’s the fact that they had a lot of tenacity. They stayed the course and produced a line of classic horror movies that entertained new generations. One of those films was “The Evil of Frankenstein”.
“The Evil of Frankenstein” was released in 1964. EVIL was, but one episode of a long line of Hammer films to hit the big silver screen in the U.S.
Thanks to METV and horror host Svengoolie, viewers still get to see Hammer films on TV from time to time. I had the distinct honor of seeing “The Evil of Frankenstein” again after many years. My director’s eye is far more discerning now than in past years. So for classic horror connoisseurs, like myself, Hammer’s work can be long, tedious and boring. The benchmark of Hammer was the art of dialogue in their scripts to fill gaps between action scenes… Not to mention gratuitous boob and ass shots of Hammer’s British hotties.
As I tracked the plot of EVIL. It became as apparent as having two bolts in my neck, that the plot was pretty cliche. First of all, there are some flashbacks from the past, and like the Universal Frankenstein series, the monster is pretty resilient and he is found frozen in a block of ice, recreating a scene from the original Universal monster movies. Additionally, the monster, who suffered from migraines, (I’m not surprised due to the cement on his head, the make up department made him wear) was pretty rough around the edges and appeared to be in need of a concrete guy with a trowel to fix his forehead.
As the plot thickens. It becomes apparent that Dr Frankenstein and his monster are destined for a horrible ending. The monster ends up getting used by a bad guy to whack his enemies. Dr Frankenstein is harassed by a crazy preacher who hounds him about his unholy experiments. The monster is besieged by those bad migraines I mentioned earlier, and his brain ache makes him pretty grouchy. The only saving grace of the movie was near the ending where the script takes a turn in favor of the monster. The audience, despite his previous murderous rampage and the fact that he’s made from the dead remains of local folks, are massaged into seeing him in a more favorable way as he rescues a mute girl who befriended him. (Golf clap inserted here).
The twenty first issue of Scary Monsters Magazine, author Chris Fellner penned a commentary piece about the Hammer Frankenstein movies. Chris writes;
” Coming from Hammer, who had revolutionized the look of horror movies with their first Frankenstein picture, EVIL was a distinct disappointment. Instead of continuing with a fresh approach the producers reverted back to the stale universal formula that Hammer had so boldly rejected in their first two pictures. The result was an unexciting melange of Universal inspired cliches, from the old “monster preserved in ice” bit to the climactic exploding castle.”
Much like the early Universal Frankenstein movies, out of the laboratory , a startled evil creation, marched out like a large beast that began circling the room. The sounds of the crashing objects rose up loudly from below and the world crumbled around him and his creator. The evil of Frankenstein is a mildly entertaining journey into the life of the monster and his creator.