Baron Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) having been sentenced to death for the atrocities committed by his evil creation is killed by the guillotine. Or at least, supposedly. Victor’s servant Karl (Oscar Quitak) bribes the executioner. Instead of Frankenstein being executed the priest attending the execution is killed and buried in Frankenstein’s coffin.
Three years later Frankenstein has set up shop in the town of Carlsbruck Germany. Now calling himself Dr. Stein he has a thriving practice among the rich and attends the indigent in the pauper’s hospital. The local medical council is pissed off that he has taken away a lot of their business and refuses to join the council. One of the members is a young doctor called Dr. Hans Kleve (Francis Matthews). He recognizes Dr. Stein as the notorious Frankenstein. Unlike many, Dr. Kleve is impressed by Frankenstein’s knowledge of medicine and basically blackmails him into allowing him to be his assistant.
Kleve helps Frankenstein in the hospital for the poor as well as his secret experiments in his private laboratory. Frankenstein continues his work on creating a human. He has promised to transplant Karl’s brain into his next creation. Karl is a deformed hunchback whose partial paralysis is due to a blood clot in his brain. Frankenstein believes he can remove the clot before putting Karl’s brain into the new body.
The operation is a success and Karl is kept in a special room to heal. Kleve mistakenly tells Karl that Dr. Frankenstein has plans to exhibit Karl next to his old body in front of medical students and other doctors. Karl is not happy about this news. All his life he has been stared at. He wants nothing more than to enjoy his new body and never see his old one again. Karl escapes from his makeshift hospital room and heads for Frankenstein’s laboratory. He burns his old body in the furnace. The janitor (George Woodbridge) finds the new Karl (Michael Gwynn) in the lab. He attacks Karl and beats him up. The beating damages Karl’s brain. Now, turning into a monster, Karl goes on a rampage.
“The Revenge of Frankenstein” was released in 1958 and was directed by Terence Fisher. It is a British horror film from Hammer Film Productions and the second movie in the Hammer Frankenstein series. It is a direct sequel to “The Curse of Frankenstein” 1957 and is based on the characters of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus”. Hammer did seven Frankenstein films altogether.
After having already sold the sequel before it was written producer Michael Carreras asked writer Jimmy Sangster to write the sequel. Sangster answered, "I killed Frankenstein in the first film." Sangster said that Carreras told him he had six weeks to write the project before shooting started. Then he said "you'll think of something".
Francis Matthews, who plays Dr. Hans Kleve, said that a sheep brain was used as the human brain in the laboratory scenes. It appears that someone in the prop department forgot to refrigerate the thing overnight. He said the next morning the smell was horrendous.
Like most of Hammer’s period horror films, the movie is lush with color and rich with sets that embody the lifestyle of the 1800’s. Frankenstein’s laboratory is perfectly equipped with every wiz bang and gizmo that the proper monster maker should have. The fact that there isn’t actually a bona fide monster that was actually created by Frankenstein illustrates that the real monster is Frankenstein himself. Something that was emphasized at the end of the movie. Playing God, even if you do it right, is not always a good idea. And getting his body parts, by cutting off pieces of the indigent, to create his “person” is not exactly ethical. Peter Cushing is, again, wonderful as the megalomaniac Frankenstein. He is to Frankenstein as Christopher Lee is to Dracula, quintessential.