“Destroyed. They always destroy everything.”
When a body snatcher brings a newly dead corpse to Dr. Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) he is seen by a young girl. The village priest confronts Frankenstein and destroys his equipment. With no money, and believing a mob is not far behind, Frankenstein and his assistant Hans (Sandor Eles) return to the Baron’s home of Karlstaad. Ten years earlier, the Baron left Karlstaad under less than idea conditions. Now in the ruin of his family’s estate Frankenstein relates to Hans, in flashback, the story of what happened that night that he fled his home.
He tells Hans that he had created a creature previously but that it escaped and started killing sheep in a local field. The creature was shot and Frankenstein was run out of town. The next day the Baron and Hans go to the village. The Baron sees the Burgomeister wearing one of his rings. The Baron creates a scene that forces him and Hans to flee.
There is a carnival going on in town. The two men end up in the tent of a hypnotist, Zoltan (Peter Woodthorpe). They eventually leave town only to be caught in a storm. In a cave they find the frozen body of the creature Frankenstein had made. They bring it back to the manor, thaw it out and bring it, once again, back to life. Although the creature is alive, it is not responding. The Baron remembers Zoltan and how he could get his audience to respond to him using his hypnosis. The Baron brings Zoltan back to the manor and has him work with the creature to connect with the creatures mind.
Zoltan is a vindictive opportunist with his own issues with the Burgomeister. He sends the creature into town to “Teach the Burgomeister a lesson”. The creature kills the Burgomeister and another police officer. When Baron Frankenstein finds out it is too late to do anything. The creature has killed and the police want it destroyed.
”The Evil of Frankenstein” was released in 1964 and was directed by Freddie Francis. It is a British film produced by Hammer Studios. Hammer made seven Frankenstein movies. “The Evil of Frankenstein” was the third in the series but it is not a sequel to Hammer’s previous Frankenstein movies. It does, however, resemble Universal’s take on “Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman” 1943 in that the creature is found in a glacier. It is also the first Frankenstein movie not to have been directed by Terence Fisher and one of only two that he did not direct. The other being “The Horror of Frankenstein” 1970.
As for the monster, I’ve seen worse, but, it looks more like dried paper mache than a monster. Plus it takes quite awhile to get to it.
This entry in the series is considered the weakest. Some even panned it totally. Reasons given are that the story was weak, some think it is because it is missing Terrence Fisher’s hand or because it was packaged for Universal. Nothing against Universal but Hammer has a stylishness that is sometimes lacking in other film production companies. The Hammer style may be missing on this film but it does have its good points. Peter Cushing for one. I also felt that it still had some of the richness that Hammer is known for. Perhaps the sets weren’t as lavish but there are creepy moments that only Hammer can do.
I think that, in order to enjoy this movie, you need to distance it from the other Frankenstein movies that Hammer did. Granted it’s not top notch but it’s also not really bad. Hammer has done far worse movies.