EMMA DARK reviews Shaun Hutson’s The Revenge Of Frankenstein
Shaun Hutson really is the bad boy of British horror, he has written over 30 original novels, as well as two more Hammer adaptions – ‘Twins of Evil’ (2011) and ‘X the Unknown’ (2012).
Having been an uber fan for many years and being highly impressed by Hammer’s adaption of the classic Frankenstein novel – ‘The Curse Of Frankenstein’ (1957) – I decided to read The Revenge Of Frankenstein (2013), a novelisation of ‘The Revenge Of Frankenstein‘ (1958) screenplay, which I may add I had never seen.
The basic opening premise of the story is that having faced the guillotine for crimes against humanity in Innsbruck, Austria, Baron Victor Frankenstein has used his cunning to manipulate a physically-disadvantaged jailer, Carl, to aid him in a bloody escape. How did he persuade him? Of course by addressing the insecurities of the disfigured young man, with the promise of a new body and new life, a chance to make friends and perhaps even win the love of a woman. Three years later Doctor Stein (aka Frankenstein) emerges in Carlsbruck, Germany having set up a charitable hospital for the poor and becoming a coveted practitioner to the rich, much to the disgust of the green-eyed and pompous local medical council. Of course on the surface, Stein appears charming and charitable but what is he really up to?
Of course, I can’t reveal what but I can tell you that some scenes have been slightly changed to add extra tension and expand upon key characters. Frankenstein is far colder and sadistic than his film counterpart, bringing the presence Peter Cushing carried on screen into the pages of the book, and then some! Stein is completely delusional and grandiose and will stop at nothing to prove his greatness of intellect to the world. Carl’s thoughts and feelings of vulnerability and anguish, his veritable exile from society as a physically disabled and disfigured young man are of course explored intensely. Carl is given more humanity which adds extra dimension and feeling to the story as a whole.
The author himself states that he kept to the original story whist fleshing out some of the characters and adding in extra scenes. While this isn’t the gorefest his fans will have come to know and love is does have the classic sense of well-paced suspense and horror Shaun Hutson is known for.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel, having been sceptical about film novelisation’s in previous years. I set about watching the original Hammer ‘The Revenge Of Frankenstein’ a week or so after completing the book and admittedly was slightly disappointed. That is not a negativity towards Hammer, my personal thoughts are that Shaun Hutson managed to achieve with his retelling of the story what Hammer achieved on screen with ‘The Curse Of Frankenstein’, original, mind-blowing and leaving you with a taste for more.