Thursday, October 16, 2008
31 Days of Halloween - Day 16 Movie 1
In "Frankenstein Created Woman" (1967) Baron Frankenstein, his hands ruined from the fire at the climax of the previous movie, recruits a doddering doctor (Thorley Walters) and a young assistant (like so many others before him) named Hans (Robert Morris) to assist him in his experiments. This time Frankenstein is not interested in creating new living bodies from scraps of the dead, nor is he interested in transplanting brains from one body to the other. Now he's moved on to more metaphysical pursuits. Discovering that the soul does not immediately leave the body upon death, he creates an inpenatrable shield generator to trap the soul so that he can store it while the person's sick, or damaged body is repaired, them restore the sould to the healthy body, essentially creating a sort of immortality.
When Hans is scapegoated for the murder of a tavern keeper while the three drunken dandy boys who actually committed the murder go free, Frankenstein exhibits his cold opportunist side. Rather than be dismayed that innocent Hans will be executed by guillotine, he sees it as an opportunity to trap a soul. A further opportunity arises when Hans' girlfriend, Christina (Susan Denberg) the disfigured daughter of the murdered tavern keeper drowns herself in her grief. Frankenstein cures her of all her deformities, changes her into a blonde, and transforms her into a beautiful woman into whom he implants Hans' soul.
Christina awakens not knowing who she is, but at night, Hans' soul takes dominance and uses Christina's beauty to lure each of the three murdering dandy's to their doom.
Again, terrific direction, a decent script, fine cinematography, art direction and a superb cast elevate this movie into something that surpasses its hokey premise and simple revenge from beyond the grave plot. I believe that I'd read somewhere that Susan Denberg was dubbed in this movie. If so the dubbing was well done, and most likely was due to Denberg's German accent, and not to her skills as an actor, as she's quite good in this movie. Cushing as usual delivers a terrific performance, and I was noting here, as in the other Frankenstein movies, that he's particularly good at going about his laboratory business. I find it interesting to watch actors interacting with nonsensicle equipment and actually seeming like they know what everything does and how it all works. The prime example of this is Harrison Ford in the "Star Wars" movies. Watching him on the Millennium Falcon, and you're convince that not only is that ship real, but that he knows how to fly it. Cushing does the same thing with his laboratory equipment. You believe he knows what every container holds, and what every switch is for, and how it's wired. It makes the movies a lot more convincing.