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  • Writer's pictureAllan Major

The Curse Of Frankenstein 1957 Reviewed

Featured Image For The Curse Of Frankenstein 1957 Reviewed.   Movie poster of "The Curse of Frankenstein" featuring a close-up of the monster's tormented face in black and white against a red background, evoking a sense of dread.
Gaze into the face of a creation abandoned by its creator and society, forever haunted by its own existence.

The world is dim, isn't it? Shadows stretch like gnarled fingers across the forgotten corners. A chill lingers, a whisper in the empty space behind you. Monsters walk amongst us, their eyes glinting with unholy fire. Some lurk in the corners of forgotten laboratories, and others wear the guise of men. There's a thin veil separating life from death, a flimsy barrier that the desperate and the damned are all too ready to tear asunder. This is the world of "The Curse of Frankenstein," the 1957 reimagining that brought gothic horror screaming into a bold new era.

Key Takeaways For This Film 

  • The Dangers of Unchecked Ambition: Victor Frankenstein's relentless pursuit of knowledge and his disregard for ethical boundaries ultimately lead to his downfall and the unleashing of horrific consequences.

  • Science vs. Morality: The film raises the question of whether scientific progress should be pursued at any cost, and explores the potential horrors when it's divorced from ethical considerations.

  • The Nature of Creation: Frankenstein's act of playing God disrupts the natural order of life and death, with his creation becoming both a victim and a terrifying force.

  • The Blurred Line Between Genius and Madness: Is Frankenstein a brilliant visionary or a dangerously obsessed madman? The film explores the fine line between genius and unhinged obsession.

  • The Humanity Within the Monster: Christopher Lee's portrayal of the creature evokes a surprising sense of tragedy and even a glimmer of humanity within the grotesque creation. This challenges the audience's perception of what it means to be monstrous.

  • Importance of Visuals in Horror: Hammer Film Productions' bold use of color, striking set designs, and visceral gore contributed significantly to the film's impact, signaling a shift in the visual language of horror films.

  • Iconic Performances: Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee delivered career-defining performances that cemented their places as legendary figures in the horror genre.

  • Legacy of Hammer Horror: "The Curse of Frankenstein" served as a landmark film for Hammer Film Productions, launching a series of successful gothic horror films and revitalizing classic movie monsters for a new generation.

A woman recoils in her seat, her eyes wide with fear as she watches The Curse of Frankenstein.
The monster on the screen wasn't the only horror she felt that night.

Let's be honest – Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is a cornerstone. It's etched into the very fabric of our fears. But before 1957, cinematic adaptations like the 1931 Boris Karloff classic favored shadowy atmospherics and slow-burning dread. Then along came a jolt, a burst of bloody crimson across a silver screen. Britain's Hammer Film Productions were hungry, audacious, ready to claw the horror genre out of the shadows and into the violent light.

"The Curse of Frankenstein" was their first Technicolor horror film, and it's a crimson-soaked declaration of a new, monstrous age.

In this gruesome tapestry, Peter Cushing weaves an unsettling portrait of Baron Victor Frankenstein, his eyes alight with feverish ambition that borders on madness. He isn't the gentle scholar coaxing secrets from the universe – this is a man for whom the borders between life and death are mere suggestions. It's not compassion that drives him, but obsession - a relentless pursuit of knowledge tainted with the arrogance of playing God. Cushing plays the Baron with a cold brilliance that chills you to the marrow.

His foil is Paul Krempe (Robert Urquhart), the voice of reason swallowed whole by the Baron's grim determination. It's a testament to Urquhart's performance that Krempe is more than just a plot device or a nagging conscience. His fear is tangible, his struggle to pull his friend back from the brink achingly real amid the whirlwind of mad science.

And then there's the creature. Christopher Lee, in his breakthrough role, is a revelation.

Forget the shuffling, lumbering monster of the 1931 film; Lee's creature is a horrifying testament to Frankenstein's hubris. Stitched together from the dead, its face is a grotesque mosaic mirroring the fractured mind of its creator. But in those eyes, there's more than just animalistic rage – there's sorrow, betrayal, an echo of the lives stolen to shape this wretched body.

A man sits frozen, his eyes locked on the screen as he watches The Curse of Frankenstein in terror.
The chilling realization dawned – science, unchecked, could birth true monsters.

A Hammer Horror Film Production

Directed by Terence Fisher, "The Curse of Frankenstein" is as beautiful as it is brutal. It's a masterclass in gothic atmosphere, from the shadowy interiors of the Baron's castle to the fog-shrouded graveyards he plunders for raw materials. Hammer was known for this – for infusing an almost operatic sense of style into their horror. Cinematographer Jack Asher embraces this, painting with splashes of color that both dazzle and disturb.

There's also the matter of gore. Make no mistake, "The Curse of Frankenstein" pushed boundaries. Blood drips, seeps, and splatters in a way that shocked audiences in 1957. It's not just the visual impact of those crimson stains, though. It serves as a tangible reminder of how far Frankenstein is willing to go, how utterly he will trample on the sanctity of life in the name of his twisted ambitions.

Perhaps it's the legacy of this film that truly haunts us. "The Curse of Frankenstein" wasn't just the birth of a new style of horror. It spawned a sprawling franchise, a testament to the enduring fascination with the tale and, more importantly, the flawed, terrible brilliance of Victor Frankenstein. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, as the doomed scientist and his monstrous creation, became horror legends, their visages seared into our collective nightmares.

The world can be a grim, shadowed place, and there are terrors both real and imagined lurking in the dark. "The Curse of Frankenstein" doesn't just embrace the terror, it revels in it, tears it apart, and stitches it back together into something terrible and beautiful.

Watching the Baron work feverishly, haunted by his ambition, we are forced to ask – in this pursuit of knowledge, of defying death itself, where do the lines blur? At what point do we become monsters ourselves? It's this question, more than even the graphic horror, that lingers long after the credits have rolled. And in the echoing silence, something wicked whispers – perhaps the most terrifying monster is the one that lurks inside us all.

And that is The Curse of Frankenstein 1957 Reviewed. Another classic horror movie from the good people over at Hammer Studios. 

Stay tuned for more Horror Movie Reviews

If You Liked The Curse Of Frankenstein You Might Also Like These Films

  • Dracula (1958): Another Hammer Horror classic, this time focusing on the iconic vampire. Christopher Lee plays Count Dracula with menacing charm, while Peter Cushing once again stars as his determined adversary, Doctor Van Helsing. Expect similar gothic atmosphere, bold use of color, and a revitalized take on a classic horror villain.

  • The Brides of Dracula (1960): A direct sequel to "Dracula," this film delves deeper into the vampire mythology and features Peter Cushing's return as Van Helsing. While Dracula himself is absent, the film introduces us to Baron Meinster, a disciple of Dracula offering a captivating blend of seductive charm and pure evil.

  • Horror of Dracula (1958): Though not technically a Hammer film, "Horror of Dracula" (released the same year as "The Curse of Frankenstein") showcases another iconic Christopher Lee performance as the Count and boasts a similar gothic sensibility with lavish sets and a sense of heightened dread.

  • The Mummy (1959): Hammer Film Productions also successfully reimagined the classic bandaged monster. This film offers a chilling tale of an ancient Egyptian mummy brought back to life and the terrible curse it brings. It features similar themes of defying the natural order and the consequences of forbidden knowledge.

  • The Evil of Frankenstein (1964): A direct sequel to "The Curse of Frankenstein," this film sees Peter Cushing reprise his role as the Baron, now experimenting upon a hypnotized simpleton in an attempt to perfect his creation. More gore, more mad science, and another chilling exploration of Frankenstein's unyielding ambition.

The Curse Of Frankenstein 1957 Reviewed FAQs

Q: Who starred in the movie "The Curse of Frankenstein"? 

A: "The Curse of Frankenstein" starred Christopher Lee as the Creature and Peter Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein. Other notable cast members include:

  • Robert Urquhart as Paul Krempe, Frankenstein's close associate and moral compass.

  • Hazel Court as Elizabeth, Frankenstein's devoted fiancée.

  • Valerie Gaunt as Justine, the young servant who becomes tragically entangled in the Baron's schemes.

Q: What is the plot of "The Curse of Frankenstein"? 

A: The film follows Baron Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant but ruthless scientist obsessed with conquering death. He ruthlessly assembles a Creature from stolen body parts and succeeds in giving it life. However, his creation is physically grotesque and mentally unstable, leading to a trail of violence and tragedy as Frankenstein struggles to contain the monster he has unleashed.

Q: How was the cinematography in "The Curse of Frankenstein"? 

A: The cinematography in "The Curse of Frankenstein," led by Jack Asher, was groundbreaking for its time. It featured:

  • Bold use of Technicolor: This was Hammer Film Productions' first horror film shot in color, and they used vivid reds and blues to create a visually striking and disturbing atmosphere.

  • Gothic Expressionism: The film draws inspiration from German Expressionism with dramatic lighting, high-contrast shadows, and distorted camera angles to enhance the sense of dread and psychological turmoil.

  • Visceral Detail: The film broke with convention by showing graphic surgical scenes, the gruesome makeup of the Creature, and shocking splashes of blood.

Q: What is the significance of "The Curse of Frankenstein" in the horror genre? 

A: "The Curse of Frankenstein" is a landmark horror film for several reasons:

  • Revived a Classic Monster: It brought Frankenstein's monster back to the big screen after a hiatus from the Universal Monsters era of the 30s and 40s.

  • Launched Hammer Horror: The film solidified Hammer Film Productions as a major force in horror, with their distinct blend of gothic style, heightened sexuality, and graphic violence.

  • Shifted Focus to the Creator: While previous adaptations often pitied the Creature, Hammer's film emphasized the madness and cruelty of Baron Frankenstein.

Q: Did "The Curse of Frankenstein" receive positive reviews? 

A: While opinions vary, "The Curse of Frankenstein" was a critical and commercial success. Here's why:

  • Initial Controversy: Some critics initially condemned the film for its graphic violence, but it still drew large audiences.

  • Changing Perspectives: Over time, the film gained appreciation for its audacious style, strong performances, and its exploration of complex themes

  • Box Office Success: It was a significant financial hit for Hammer Films.

Q: How does "The Curse of Frankenstein" differ from other adaptations of Mary Shelley's novel? 

A: "The Curse of Frankenstein" took significant liberties with the source material, including:

  • Emphasis on Baron Frankenstein: The film places a greater focus on Baron Frankenstein's descent into obsession, making him the central figure rather than the Creature.

  • Heightened Gore and Violence: It was far more visually explicit in its depiction of body horror and violence compared to previous Frankenstein films.

  • Thematic Explorations: It delves into themes of scientific arrogance, the consequences of defying nature, and the potential for monstrousness within all of us.

Q: Were there any sequels to "The Curse of Frankenstein"? 

A: Yes, "The Curse of Frankenstein" spawned a successful franchise of Hammer horror films. Here are a few direct sequels:

  • The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

  • The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)

  • Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)

  • Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)


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