Saturday, 20 October 2012

Back To Screeching Life

'Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed!' was the fifth in Hammer’s Frankenstein cycle and, from its sensational title down, is one of the goriest and most glorious of all the sequels. Full of incident, packed with severed heads and brain operations, the film whizzes along brilliantly, and even gets by without having an obvious monster. The closest we get to a shambling, reanimated corpse is the ever amazing Freddie Jones, who gives a great performance under difficult circumstances – he’s playing a man trapped in another man’s body, a tortured being who has been saved from death but wishes they hadn’t bothered.

Cushing is brilliant, too, more of a ruthless and driven bastard than ever. In a scene added at the producers insistence, the Baron uncharacteristically deviates from his passion for anatomical DIY to rape Veronica Karlsen, an unseemly piece of action that doesn’t do anything for the film apart from giving it a flash of nipple for the distributors. Cushing, ever the gentleman, was decidedly not impressed.

Fast moving, shocking, exciting and, ultimately, very poignant, ‘Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed!’ is a fantastic use of eighty minutes, the embodiment of just how good Hammer films can be when they’re firing on all cylinders.

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