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October 12, 2006

Frankenstein Created Woman


Terence Fisher - 1967
Anchor Bay Region 1 DVD

As much as I usually like Hammer films, I have found the Frankenstein series to be rather anemic. While the Hammer Frankenstein monster was always bigger, badder and often uglier than Boris Karloff and his clones at Universal, he (it?) was never as compelling a screen presence for me compared to someone like Glenn Strange in House of Frankenstein. Even with the various films that claim faithfulness to Mary Shelley's vision, nothing has been in the cinematic incarnations of Frankenstein that hasn't been done best by James Whale. Even Kenneth Branagh's version with Robert De Niro as the monster pales next to Ernest Thesiger toasting an era of "Gods and monsters".

This is my roundabout way of saying that as attractive as Susan Denberg may be, she's got nothing on Elsa Lanchester's permanently fashion forward, white streaked beehive hairdo in The Bride of Frankenstein. Even though Frankenstein Created Woman takes place in Hammer's version of somewhere in Germanic speaking Europe, Denberg's costumes are the most horrifying part of the film. Instead of having Denberg appear as she does in a publicity photo, this former Playboy playmate is forced to dress like Heidi.

The film itself tries to get philosophical about how long a soul exists in a dead persons body. As the good doctor, Peter Cushing makes his first appearance coming out of a 19th Century freezer. Clinically dead, Cushing insists that he still had his soul for an hour, and no one can really argue with him about that point. Through some sort of psuedo-scientific hocus pocus that writer Anthony Hinds dodges in off-screen activity, Cushing somehow transfers the soul of his decapitated assistant Hans to the recently deceased Denberg. Denberg goes about murdering the young idlers who killed Denberg's father and pinned the rap on Hans. There is a plot point which was borrowed from Night Must Fall. The final shot of Ms. Denberg plunging into a river could serve as a metaphor for the personal and professional dive she took when she retired from acting.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 12, 2006 07:40 AM


haha, what's the chances of that happening! I reviewed Frankenstein Created Woman myself today!


Anyways, great review!

Posted by: Casey C at October 12, 2006 08:24 PM