RICHARD PHILLIPS-JONES makes the hard decisions and picks his favourite Hammer Frankenstein films, in order of greatness!
1. Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)
Some might consider this a shock entry at number one, but to me it’s the perfect Hammer Frankenstein, and the natural final destination for Cushing’s Baron, the culmination of all that had preceded it.
Forever doomed to repeat his mistakes, a lunatic asylum is exactly where he belongs. The fact that he’s ended up running it provides the bitterest of ironies.
2. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
The one that set Hammer on their Gothic path, and made both stars and lifelong friends out of Cushing and Lee.
Its exuberance and zest are as infectious now as they’ve always been, but now cemented by the knowledge that you’re watching film history in the making.
3. The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
Hammer change the public’s perception by changing tack from Universal’s earlier approach to sequels, resurrecting not the creature but the Baron himself.
It was still a shock to many that Frankenstein was the name of the creator, rather than the creation.
4. Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)
Almost made it to number 3, but points deducted for an unpleasant and unnecessary rape scene which was shoehorned-in against the wishes of both cast and director.
It clearly doesn’t fit in with the rest of the film, which is an otherwise splendid tour de force with a top notch performance from Freddie Jones as the tortured creation.
5. Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)
A noble, occasionally moving effort, but perhaps strays too far from Frankenstein’s actual work, focusing more on metaphysical matters.
The script was perhaps not up to the film’s loftier aspirations.
6. The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)
With Universal providing the backing, Hammer finally got to use a creature with a closer resemblance to the classic image.
Sadly, New Zealand wrestler Kiwi Kingston was no Boris Karloff.
7. The Horror of Frankenstein (1970)
An easy target perhaps, but even its staunchest defenders would struggle to place it any higher than last place in this list.
Still, with the passing of time Jimmy Sangster’s attempt at a humorous take on The Curse Of Frankenstein can be better appreciated as a bold experiment which ultimately failed.
That in itself makes it a perfect film allegory of Frankenstein’s own failures.