Hammer Horror’s sequel to their initial success, ‘The Curse of Frankenstein’ features more of that campy style and extreme inventiveness that made the first one such a delight. The original outing almost followed the original story (with a few changes), but for this sequel the rule book has been completely thrown out, which leaves the Hammer team to do what they do best – invent and adapt! Peter Cushing returns in one of the roles that cemented him as a horror superstar namely Baron Frankenstein. Cushing’s performance as the evil doctor is magnificent and he does it so well that you really imagine it being done by anyone else. Cushing has a demeanour that lends itself well to subtly evil characters like Baron Frankenstein, and that is capitalised upon brilliantly for this movie. Cushing is most certainly the star of the show, but also impressing is Francis Matthews as the impressionable young doctor who becomes Frankenstein’s assistant, and Michael Gwynn as the monster. He’s no Christopher Lee, but Hammer couldn’t really have hired him back now could they?
Terence Fisher shows us why he’s Hammer’s finest director with this film. The direction is more than solid, and Fisher makes the best of many intriguing scenarios including the opening which sees a guillotine ready to punish the Baron for his past sins, and a lovely sequence involving Frankenstein’s monster crashing a high society dinner. Anything can happen in a Hammer film, and quite often does and that’s what makes them such great viewing. Hammer films have a great style that is very easily to like and make for fun viewing. However, this film isn’t without a point as it depicts the horrors of vanity and wanting a new body, while also tying in the classic Frankenstein theme of the ills of playing god.