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Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)

For a film with such an exploitative title, Frankenstein Created Woman is a dull affair. You don't even get to see anything remotely approaching the pre-publicity photos (Cushing carrying a bikini-clad babe around his laboratory). It's also quite lacklustre in the blood-and-guts department - because the Baron is only concerned with transplanting the "life force" from one body to another, there isn't even any skull sawing or limb stitching going on. Plus it's got Thorley "frankly just annoying" Walters in it as Frankenstein's aid.

There are some good points - the idea of putting a wrongly executed man's mind into the body of his recently suicided(?) girlfriend is a bizarre one which is not really explored to its full extent (and is also possibly the worst mistake the Baron ever made - not to mention the most ethically wrong). But at the end of the day, no woman is created. Yes, his work could be considered a "Curse", he's had his "Revenge", he's "Evil", created a "Monster From Hell" and "Must Be Destroyed", but come on Hammer - "Created Woman"? I think not. The only thing he creates is a vengeful blonde psycho hose-beast, and there are already plenty of those around (am I right, lads?). The only Hammer Frankenstein with a more misleading title is Horror Of Frankenstein, and that's only because it's shit.

Created Woman begins with Hans' dad being carted off to the guillotine, and the young lad witnessing his father's death. Years later (shown by the guillotine getting all rusty) Hans has grown into a typically Hammer bowl-cutted berk who is working for Dr Hurst (Walters) a bumbling fool who Baron Frankenstein (for some reason) has entrusted his unfreezing to. Yes, this time the Baron is experimenting with cryogenic suspension, and using his own body as the guinea pig. What this means is that this time it's the Baron himself who's brought back to life with electricity (nice touch), Hurst commenting: "Yes! He lives!"

The Baron's soon up and about: "For one hour my body had died - and yet my soul remained. But how? Could I trap it myself?"

Who cares? Not Hans, who's off to see his girlfriend Christina, the disfigured daughter of the pub landlord (an even more than usually miserable git - how did any of the pubs in Hammer films making a profit with that bunch of sourpusses running them?). She hides her dodgy face behind a mass of dark hair, but still gets hassled by three other customers in the pub, a trio of top-hatted chinless wonders who proceed to cause her to spill a drink and then slap her about. Luckily Hans is on hand to weigh in and give a good account of himself, finishing off by slashing the leader's face with a knife. Hans is dragged off by the extremely speedy police and the trio decide to finish off their evening's entertainment by singing a special song outside Christina's bedroom window. What they don't realise is that a furious Hans is there too, post shag.

Back at the lab, the Baron and the Doctor have been experimenting on rocks and appear to have created an indestructible wine glass. As Hurst says: "I'm a broken down, drunken old muddle head and you have to spell it out to me..."

Us too, Thorley. What they've actually created is an impenetrable force field (that'll come in handy for Cushing's Death Star in 1977, then) which they will use to trap a soul as it leaves a body. So far, so confusing. The trio of arses have been even busier during this, and have bumped off Christina's dad, a crime that Hans gets arrested and tried for. Despite a spirited defence of the lad by Frankenstein (who otherwise is wonderfully disinterested in the court proceedings), Hans is found guilty, has his head lopped off (just like dad), and a distraught Christina flings herself into the nearest river.

Of course, at this point the Baron seizes his chance, telling Hurst: "Right? What's right got to do with it? Bodies are easy to come by - souls are not." Using a spot of blackmail about STDs and abortions, he gets hold of both bodies and after a spot of soul swapping (and plastic surgery), Christina is born again - blonde and beautiful. Hans' soul is in her body - but "not all the time".

Of course, it's not long before Hans' presence makes itself felt with a number of violent killings, the villagers think the Baron's been up to no good (he has) and lay seige to his laboratory, and the police ask him "Do you take us for fools?" (His answer is a wonderfully disinterested "Yes.")

The ending is bleak - possibly the bleakest of all the Hammers, as the Baron realises that his one and only attempt at (misguided) philanthropy has failed, his creation telling him: "I know who I am, and what I have to do. Forgive me."

By the time he surfaces again, he'll be back to his old tricks as a cold hearted killer. And we all know what that means - yes, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed!

Director: Terence Fisher Writer(s): Anthony Hinds

Cast: Peter Cushing - Baron Frankenstein, Susan Denberg - Christina, Thorley Walters - Doctor Hertz, Robert Morris - Hans, Duncan Lamont - The Prisoner, Peter Blythe - Anton, Barry Warren - Karl, Derek Fowlds - Johann, Alan MacNaughtan - Kleve, Peter Madden - Chief of Police, Philip Ray - Mayor, Ivan Beavis - Landlord, Colin Jeavons - Priest, Bartlett Mullins - Bystander, Mark McMullins - Villager with Body, Alec Mango - Spokesman, Patrick Carter - Guard, Kevin Flood - Chief Gaoler, Lizbeth Kent - First Woman, Howard Lang - Guard, John Maxim - Sergeant, Stuart Middleton - Young Hans, Antony Viccars - Second Spokesman

 

Last updated: February 23, 2010

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