MONSTER MOVIES: THE FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER – The Universal & Hammer Frankenstein Series

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I’ve loved horror movies all my life.

But long before I called them horror movies, I referred to them as Monster Movies. As a kid, it was rare that I would say “I’m going to watch a horror movie.” Instead, it was “time to watch a monster movie!”

Part of this may have been the influence of reading the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, and enjoying all of Forry Ackerman’s affectionate coverage of movie monsters. But the other part certainly was most of the time I was watching movies that had monsters in them!

And so today, I’d like to celebrate some of these monsters, specifically the Frankenstein Monster. Here’s a look at the Frankenstein Monster in the two most important Frankenstein film series, the Universal and Hammer Frankenstein movies, and I rank each Monster performance with the Monster Meter, with four brains being the best and zero brains being the worst. Okay, here we go.

The Universal series:

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The Monster (Boris Karloff) in FRANKENSTEIN (1931)

FRANKENSTEIN (1931) – The Monster – ?- Sure, he was listed in the credits this way, but we all know by now that it was Boris Karloff playing the monster in this original shocker by Universal studios. It was the role that made Karloff a household name, and rightly so. It still remains my all-time favorite Frankenstein Monster performance. Karloff captures the perfect balance between an innocent being recently born with the insane violence of an unstoppable monster. There are several sequences in this movie where Karloff’s Monster is so violent and brutally powerful it still is frightening to watch.

Monster Meter: Four brains.

 

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) – The Monster – Karloff. This time he was so famous that his name was listed in the credits as only Karloff, but again, it was Boris Karloff playing the role of the Monster in a movie that many critics hail as the best of the Universal Frankenstein movies. It’s certainly more ambitious than FRANKENSTEIN. And Karloff does more with the role, as the Monster even learns how to speak. I still slightly prefer FRANKENSTEIN, but I will say that Karloff’s performances in these two movies are probably the most powerful performances of the Monster ever put on film.

Monster Meter: Four brains.

 

SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939) – The Monster – Boris Karloff. The third and last time Karloff played the Monster was the least effective. While the film is elaborate and features big budget sets and a stellar cast that also includes Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, and Lionel Atwill, this film begins the sad trend in the Universal Frankestein movies where the Monster simply didn’t do as much as he did in the first two movies. Here, he’s a patient on a slab for most of the film, and once he becomes active, he’s a far cry from the Monster we saw in the first two movies. He doesn’t even speak anymore.

Monster Meter: Three brains.

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The Monster (Lon Chaney Jr. ) in THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942)

 

THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942) – The Monster – Lon Chaney Jr. As much as I like Lon Chaney Jr., I don’t really like his interpretation of the Monster here. He takes over the role from Boris Karloff, and although he means well, he just doesn’t possess Karloff’s instincts. The attempt is made to make the Monster more active again, but Chaney simply lacks Karloff’s unpredictable ferocity and sympathetic understanding. I will say that this is the one time where Chaney disappoints as a monster, as he of course owned Larry Talbot/The Wolfman, made an effective Dracula in SON OF DRACULA (1943), and I thought played a very frightening Kharis the Mummy in his three MUMMY movies.

Monster Meter: Two brains.

 

FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1943) – The Monster- Bela Lugosi. Lugosi turned down the role in 1931 because the Monster had no dialogue, a decision that haunted the rest of his career, as the film instead launched the career of Boris Karloff who went on to largely overshadow Lugosi as the king of horror over the next two decades. This should have been an awesome role for Lugosi. It made perfect sense story wise, for at the end of the previous film, THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN, the brain of the manipulative Ygor (Lugosi) was placed inside the Monster. In FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN, the Monster was supposed to speak with Ygor’s voice, and be blind, but all his dialogue was cut as were references to the Monster’s blindness. The story goes that because of World War II, Universal balked at having a Frankenstein Monster talking about taking over the world. The sad result was the film makes Lugosi’s performance look silly, as he goes about with his arms outstretched in front of him, walking tentatively. He was doing this of course because he was blind! But the film cut all references to this, and the audience had no idea at the time what the heck was up with Lugosi’s Monster.

Monster Meter: Two and a half brains.

 

HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1944) – The Monster – Glenn Strange – Strange takes over the Monster duties here, in Universal’s first monster fest, also featuring Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man, and John Carradine as Dracula. Boris Karloff returns to the series here as the evil Dr. Niemann. Strange is an okay Monster, but he doesn’t have a whole lot to do.

Monster Meter: Two brains.

 

HOUSE OF DRACULA (1945) – The Monster – Glenn Strange – Strange returns as the Monster in Universal’s second Monster romp.

Monster Meter: Two brains.

 

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948) – The Monster – Glenn Strange – The third time is the charm for Glenn Strange as he gives his best performance as the Monster in this Abbott and Costello comedy which in addition to being hilariously funny is also one of Universal’s best Monster movies! The Monster even talks again! Notable for Bela Lugosi’s return as Dracula, and also once more features Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man. Look fast for Chaney as the Frankenstein Monster in the sequence where he tosses the nurse out the window, as he was filling in for an injured Glenn Strange at the time!

Monster Meter: Three brains.

 

The Hammer series:

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The Creature (Christopher Lee) in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957)

THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) – The Creature – Christopher Lee. The Hammer Frankenstein series, unlike the Universal series, focused on Victor Frankenstein, played by Peter Cushing, rather than on the Monster. Each Hammer Frankenstein flick featured a different Monster. Poor Christopher Lee received no love back in the day, and his performance as the Creature was widely panned by critics. But you know what? Other than Karloff’s performance in the first two Universal films, Lee delivers the second best performance as a Frankenstein creation! Lee’s Creature is an insane killer, and darting in and out of the shadows, he actually has more of a Michael Meyers vibe going on in this film than a Boris Karloff feel. With horrifying make-up by Philip Leakey, it’s a shame that this Creature only appeared in this one movie. On the other hand, it kinda makes Lee’s performance all the more special. It’s one not to miss!

Monster Meter: Three and a half brains.

 

THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1958) – The Monster/Karl – Michael Gwynn. This sequel to THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN is one of the most intelligent Frankenstein moves ever made. It has a thought-provoking script and phenomenal performances, led by Peter Cushing, reprising his role as Baron Victor Frankenstein. The only trouble is this one forgot to be scary. Plus, the Monster, played here by Michael Gwynn, pales in comparison to Lee’s Creature in the previous film.

Monster Meter: Two brains.

 

THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964) – The Creature – Kiwi Kingston – The Hammer Frankenstein movie most influenced by the Universal series, with the make-up on Australian wrestler Kiwi Kingston reminiscent of the make-up on the Universal Monster. Not a bad entry in the series, but not a very good one either. This one has more action and chills than REVENGE, but its plot is silly and no where near as thought-provoking or as adult as the plots of the first two films in the series.

Monster Meter: Two brains.

 

FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN  (1967) – Christina – Susan Denberg – The Creature in this one is as the title says, a woman, played here by Playboy model Susan Denberg. A good looking— no pun intended— Hammer production that is largely done-in by a weak script that doesn’t make much sense when you really think about it. The best part of this one is the dynamic between Peter Cushing’s Baron Frankenstein and Thorley Walter’s Doctor Hertz, who capture a sort of Sherlock Holmes/Dr. Watson vibe in this one.

Monster Meter: Two brains.

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His brain is in someone else’s body. Dr. Brandt/Professor Richter (Freddie Jones) seeks revenge against Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969).

FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED  (1969) – Professor Richter- Freddie Jones – By far, the darkest and most violent of the Hammer Frankenstein movies, and certainly Peter Cushing’s most villainous turn as Baron Frankenstein. For a lot of fans, this is the best of the Hammer Frankenstein series. It also features a neat script involving brain transplants, and Freddie Jones delivers an exceptional performance as a man whose brain has been transplanted into another man’s body. The scene where he returns home to try to convince his wife, who believes her husband is dead after seeing his mangled body, that he is in fact her husband, that his brain is inside another man’s body, is one of the more emotional scenes ever put in a Frankenstein movie. This one didn’t perform well at the box office and is said to have been director Terence Fisher’s biggest disappointment, as he believed this was a superior film and would be a big hit. The years have proven him right, but at the time, it was not considered a successful Hammer Film. Christopher Lee once said in an interview that he believed this film flopped because it didn’t really have a monster in it, and that’s what fans really wanted. I believe Lee’s observation to be correct.

Monster Meter: Three brains.

 

THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN (1970) – The Monster – David Prowse – Hammer decided to remake THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN with Ralph Bates playing Victor Frankenstein and David Prowse playing the Monster. Unfortunately, this is the worst of the Hammer Frankensteins by a wide margin. David Prowse would go on of course to play Darth Vader in the STAR WARS movies.

Monster Meter: One brain.

 

FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL (1974) – The Monster – David Prowse. Peter Cushing returns as Baron Frankenstein for the last time in what is essentially a poor man’s remake of THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Prowse plays a different Monster than the one he played in THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN, and by doing so, he becomes the only actor to play a monster more than once in a Hammer Frankenstein Film. This one is all rather mediocre, and since it’s the final film in the series, it’s somewhat of a disappointment as it’s a weak way to finish a superior horror franchise.

Monster Meter: Two brains.

 

And there you have it. A look at the Frankenstein Monster in the Universal and Hammer series.

Thanks for reading!

—Michael

Books by Michael Arruda:

DARK CORNERS, Michael Arruda’s second short story collection, contains ten tales of horror, six reprints and four stories original to this collection.

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Waiting for you in Dark Corners are tales of vampires, monsters, werewolves, demonic circus animals, and eternal darkness. Be prepared to be both frightened and entertained. You never know what you will find lurking in dark corners.

Ebook: $3.99. Available at http://www.crossroadspress.com and at Amazon.com.  Print on demand version available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1949914437.

TIME FRAME,  science fiction novel by Michael Arruda.  

How far would you go to save your family? Would you change the course of time? That’s the decision facing Adam Cabral in this mind-bending science fiction adventure by Michael Arruda.

Ebook version:  $2.99. Available at http://www.crossroadpress.com. Print version:  $18.00. Includes postage! Email your order request to mjarruda33@gmail.com. Also available at Amazon.com.

IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, movie review collection by Michael Arruda.

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Michael Arruda reviews horror movies throughout history, from the silent classics of the 1920s, Universal horror from the 1930s-40s, Hammer Films of the 1950s-70s, all the way through the instant classics of today. If you like to read about horror movies, this is the book for you!

 Ebook version:  $4.99.  Available at http://www.crossroadpress.com.  Print version:  $18.00.  Includes postage. Email your order request to mjarruda33@gmail.com. Also available at Amazon.com.

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, first short story collection by Michael Arruda.  

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Print cover
For the Love of Horror cover (3)
Ebook cover

Michael Arruda’s first short story collection, featuring a wraparound story which links all the tales together, asks the question: can you have a relationship when your partner is surrounded by the supernatural? If you thought normal relationships were difficult, wait to you read about what the folks in these stories have to deal with. For the love of horror!

 Ebook version:  $4.99.  Available at http://www.crossroadpress.com. Print version:  $18.00.  Includes postage. Email your order request to mjarruda33@gmail.com. Also available at Amazon.com.  

IN THE SHADOWS: HAROLD GOODWIN

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Harold Goodwin in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969)

Welcome back to IN THE SHADOWS, that column where we look at character actors in the movies, especially horror movies.

Today we look at Harold Goodwin, a familiar face if you’re a Hammer Film fan.  Goodwin showed up as a burglar in the suspenseful opening scene in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969) and he also enjoyed a memorable bit in Hammer’s THE MUMMY (1959).

Goodwin appeared in a lot of movies and TV shows, but for horror fans, especially Hammer Films fans, he’ll always be remembered as the ill-fated burglar who in the opening moments of FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED unfortunately chose to break into a home owned by Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing).  In a memorable sequence, his character finds himself trapped in a mysterious laboratory, only to be discovered by a hideous man with a pock-marked face.  The man attacks him, there’s a struggle, which damages the lab, and at one point Goodwin’s burlgar crashes into a table, knocks over a container, and a severed head spills out.  He flees in terror, and once he’s gone, the pock-marked man removes his mask and we see that he is the Baron Frankenstein.  A rousing way to start a very exciting Frankenstein movie, and Goodwin was a big part of this scene.

Goodwin also enjoys a funny bit in THE MUMMY (1959) where he plays a man who is hired by a foreign gentleman to transport some crates full of relics to the foreigner’s house.  Of course, it turns out that the foreign gentleman is Mehemet Bey (George Pastell), the man  who is controlling Kharis the Mummy (Christopher Lee), and the crates of “relics” include Kharis himself!  In one of the film’s more exciting scenes, the horses pulling the wagon get spooked and Goodwin’s character loses the crate containing Kharis into the local swamp.

Before this happens, Goodwin’s character and his buddy get rip-roaring drunk just before they’re to deliver the relics, and on their way to the horse and cart, Goodwin’s character approaches the horses and says “A man’s best friend is a horse,” to which his buddy replies “It’s a dog!”  Goodwin then looks directly at the horse in front of him and says, “It’s a horse!  I’m not that drunk!”

Interestingly enough, there were two Harold Goodwins working as character actors in the movies at the very same time!  The subject of this article was British and appeared in mostly British movies, whereas the other Harold Goodwin was an American.  The American Goodwin appeared in such films as ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930), YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (1939), and ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE INVISIBLE MAN (1951), and made movies between 1915-1973, whereas the British Harold Goodwin worked in the biz between 1946-1992.

Here’s a partial look at the acting credits of Harold Goodwin, focusing mostly on his genre films:

THE MASQUE OF KINGS (1946) – Goodwin received his first screen credit in this made-for-TV movie.

THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE (1950)- Edwin- Goodwin’s first credit in a theatrical release was this comedy about the merging of an all-boys school with an all-girls school, starring Scrooge himself, Alastair Sim.

WHO DONE IT? (1956) – Pringle- uncredited peformance in this comedy, notable for being the film debut of British comedian Benny Hill.  Also featured in the cast, Dr. Pretorious himself, Ernest Thesiger, and Hammer Film character actor Thorley Walters.

THE LAST MAN TO HANG? (1956) – Cheed – Goodwin adds his support to this crime drama directed by the man who would go on to direct Hammer Film’s best movies, Terence Fisher.  Starring Tom Conway [I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943)] and Hammer Films’ actresses Eunice Gayson [THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1958)- Gayson also appeared in the first two James Bond movies DR. NO (1962) & FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963) as Sylvia,in what was originally intended to be a recurring character in the series], and Freda Jackson [THE BRIDES OF DRACULA (1960)].

THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) – Baker –  The classic war movie by director David Lean, starring William Holden and Alec Guinness.  Winner of seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for Lean, Best Actor for Guinness, Best Adapted Screenplay by Pierre Boulle, Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, and Best Music Score by Malcolm Arnold. Based on the novel by Pierre Boulle (PLANET OF THE APES).

QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (TV Mini-series 1958-59- Colonel Gibson-  recurring role in this famous British TV production, later turned into a feature film by Hammer Films as FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH (1967).

THE MUMMY (1959) – Pat – Goodwin’s first appearance in a Hammer horror film, a humorous role as a local hired to transport a crate carrying Kharis the Mummy (Christopher Lee) only to lose it in a muddy swamp.

THE TERROR OF THE TONGS (1961) – uncredited appearance in this crime thriller by Hammer Films starring Christopher Lee as Asian villain Chung King.  Screenplay by Jimmy Sangster.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962) – Bill – Nice role here in the Hammer remake of Gaston Leroux tale, starring Herbert Lom as the Phantom.  Directed by Terence Fisher.

THE LONGEST DAY (1962)- uncredited role in this classic WWII epic chronicling the D-Day invasion.  All-star cast includes John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, and about 40 more major stars.

THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1964) -Fred – Another brief appearance in this second Mummy movie from Hammer Films, unrelated to their first.

DIE, MONSTER, DIE! (1965) – Taxi Driver- Horror movie with an aged Boris Karloff playing a scientist in a wheelchair who discovers a mysterious meteorite and tries to harness its powers.  Also stars Nick Adams, and Hammer veterans Freda Jackson and Suzan Farmer.  Based on the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Colour Out of Space.”

FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969)- Burglar, uncredited – the role I most remember Harold Goodwin for- the burglar who has the misfortune of breaking into Baron Frankenstein’s home where he must face the wrath of the Baron (Peter Cushing) himself. His final Hammer horror appearance.

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Harold Goodwin’s unfortunate encounter in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969).

ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE (TV Series) (1992)- Window Cleaner – Goodwin’s final screen appearance in this British TV comedy.

There you have it.  A partial listing of Harold Goodwin’s screen credits.

Harold Goodwin passed away on June 3, 2004 in Middlesex, England, UK.  He was 87.

Hope you enjoyed this brief look at the career of Harold Goodwin.  Join me again next time for the next edition of IN THE SHADOWS where we’ll look at the career of another character actor from the movies.

Harold Goodwin – October 22, 1917 – June 3, 2004.

Thanks for reading!

—Michael

 

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LEADING LADIES: VERONICA CARLSON

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Veronica Carlson

LEADING LADIES:  Veronica Carlson

By Michael Arruda

Welcome back to LEADING LADIES, the column where we look at leading ladies in horror movies, especially from years gone by.

Today we look at the career of Veronica Carlson, the Hammer starlet who burst onto the scene in the Hammer Dracula movie, DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1968) and would go on to add her beauty and elegance to several more Hammer Films before leaving the business altogether for two decades.  She returned to films in the 1990s and has since appeared in a few low budget movies.

But she’s best known for her roles in the Hammer movies, and if you’ve seen her, you know the reason why.  Sure, she was stunningly beautiful back in the day— she was a former model, after all— but she was also a decent actor.  It’s really too bad she didn’t make more movies.

In DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE Carlson plays Maria, a young woman who ends up being Dracula’s most sought after victim.  In this, the third film in the Hammer Dracula series, Dracula (Christopher Lee) seeks revenge against the Monsignor (Rupert Davies) who had exorcised his castle, and he does this by pursuing the Monsignor’s niece, Maria (Veronica Carlson).

Carlson is absolutely beautiful in this movie.  She shares most of her screen time with her goofy intellectual boyfriend Paul (Barry Andrews) who eventually gets to be the hero in this one, and she’s very convincing as a young lover infatuated with her handsome boyfriend.  She’s also sufficiently frightened and mesmerized by Dracula.

Carlson followed up this performance with the female lead in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969), Hammer’s darkest Frankenstein movie.  She plays Anna, engaged to a young doctor Karl (Simon Ward), and all is well until these two young lovers are blackmailed by Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) into helping him with his latest creation.  This film also contains the most controversial scene in the entire series, where the Baron rapes Anna, a scene that Peter Cushing is on record as saying he did not want to do.

Anna (Veronica Carlson) tormented by Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing)

Anna (Veronica Carlson) tormented by Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969).

FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED is a lurid, brutal movie, and Veronica Carlson is up to the task at playing the tormented victim of Baron Frankenstein.  One of her best scenes finds her dragging a dead body which has been unearthed by a busted water main in her courtyard, and she has to do this while she’s pummeled by a forceful water spray, because if she doesn’t hide the body and the authorities discover it, she’ll either be arrested or worse, have to face the wrath of Baron Frankenstein.  It’s a chilling suspenseful scene.

Carlson also appeared in the next Hammer Frankenstein movie, THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN (1970), the only film in the series not to star Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein. THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN was Hammer’s failed attempt to re-boot the series with Ralph Bates playing a younger Baron Frankenstein in what amounted to be a remake of sorts of their first Frankenstein movie, THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957). THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN was directed by longtime Hammer screenwriter Jimmy Sangster, and unfortunately, he proved to be a better writer than a director. THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN is the worst film in the series with very little to offer other than a fine cast, which included Ralph Bates and Veronica Carlson.  Carlson is quite good yet again, but she’s simply not enough to save this movie.

Veronica Carlson would star with Peter Cushing one more time in THE GHOUL (1974), a mediocre horror movie about an attic holding a sinister secret. This one also co-starred a young John Hurt.

Carlson may return to the big screen here in 2015.  She’s listed in the credits of a still unreleased horror movie called THE RECTORY.  It would be nice to see her on the big screen again, even now at 70 years old.

Here’s a partial list of Carlson’s 21screen credits, concentrating mostly on her horror films:

SMASHING TIME (1967) – Movie Actress At Premiere- Carlson’s first screen credit, a bit part in a musical comedy starring Michael York and Lynn Redgrave.

DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1968) – Maria- Carlson impresses in her first starring role in this third Christopher Lee Hammer Dracula movie, the studio’s most profitable horror movie ever.  A box office smash.

FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969) – Anna – tormented and terrorized by Peter Cushing’s evil Baron Frankenstein.  Probably Carlson’s most riveting performance.

CROSSPLOT (1969) – Dinah- small role in this thriller starring Roger Moore which also features Moore’s future Bond boss “M” Bernard Lee as well as Hammer supporting actor Francis Matthews.

PUSSYCAT, PUSSYCAT, I LOVE YOU (1970) – Liz – comedy starring Ian McShane with a screenplay co-written by Woody Allen.

THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN (1970) – Elizabeth Heiss – stars in her second Frankenstein film for Hammer, the only one without Peter Cushing.  Ralph Bates is OK as the devilish Baron Frankenstein, but Darth Vader himself David Prowse plays a pretty ineffective monster.

OLD DRACULA (1974) – Ritva – awful horror comedy starring David Niven as Count Dracula, released the same year as Mel Brooks’ YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, no doubt trying to cash in on that film’s success.  Also stars fellow Hammer actress Linda Hayden and Carlson’s FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED co-star Freddie Jones.

THE GHOUL (1975) – Daphne – Mediocre horror film starring Peter Cushing as a man with a sinister secret.  Also stars John Hurt.  Carlson’s last film appearance for 19 years.

BLACK EASTER (1994) – Veronica Carlson returns to horror movies in this B movie terror tale.

FREAKSHOW (1995) – Grace Harmsworth – Carlson in another B movie, this one an anthology, also starring Leatherface himself Gunnar Hansen from THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974).  Reportedly Carlson’s segment is the best.

THE RECTORY – An as-of-yet unreleased horror movie evidently in production at present with Veronica Carlson’s name in the credits.

I was fortunate enough to meet Veronica Carlson at a horror movie convention in the late 1990s.  It was one for the ages, as it was the same convention where I met Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt, and Michael Ripper.

Veronica Carlson will be forever remembered for her notable performances in two of Hammer’s best shockers, DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE, and FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED.

Hopefully we’ll see her on the big screen again.

Veronica Carlson was born on September 18, 1944, in Yorkshire, England, UK.   At present she is 70 years old and living in the U.S. where she enjoys a successful painting career.

Thanks for reading!

—Michael

PICTURE OF THE DAY: FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969)

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"I am your husband," Dr. Brandt (Freddie Jones) tells his wife Ella (Maxine Audley) in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969).  "But my brain is in someone else's body."

“I am your husband,” Dr. Brandt (Freddie Jones) tells his wife Ella (Maxine Audley) in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969). “But my brain is in someone else’s body.”

PICTURE OF THE DAY:  FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED!  (1969)

Here’s a still from one of my favorite Hammer Frankenstein movies, FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969), the fifth film in the Hammer Frankenstein series, most famous today because it features Peter Cushing’s most villainous screen performance as Baron Frankenstein.  Heck, in this movie, the Baron is both a murderer and a rapist, so yeah, things get pretty dark this time around.

Anyway, believe it or not, and I know you are going to find this next statement hard to believe coming from me, but the subject of today’s column on FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED is not Peter Cushing!

You see, one of the other neat things about FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED is the performance by Freddie Jones— in his film debut, no less— as the “monster.”  I have to put “monster” in quotes because Frankenstein’s creation in this movie isn’t really a monster, and that’s because he’s probably Baron Frankenstein’s most successful creation in the series.  That being said, it’s also the most likely reason this well-made Frankenstein movie underperformed at the box office in 1969— in spite of an above average story, some decent scares and scenes of suspense, and the presence of Peter Cushing, this one really didn’t have a monster, and fans go to Frankenstein movies to see a monster.

In FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, the fanatical Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) is experimenting with brain transplants.  He can transplant brains from one body to  another, but another scientist, Dr. Brandt (George Pravda) perfected the method of freezing brains so they could be stored for future use.  Before Brandt could tell Frankenstein the secret of freezing brains, he went mad.

Years later, Baron Frankenstein learns that Brandt is housed in an insane asylum.  To get Brandt out, he blackmails a young doctor Karl (Simon Ward, also in his film debut) and his girlfriend Anna (Veronica Carlson) into helping him, but in the process of breaking Brandt out of the institution, Brandt has a heart attack.

Undeterred, Frankenstein transplants Brandt’s brain into the body of another surgeon, Professor Richter (Freddie Jones.).  When Brandt awakes and realizes what Frankenstein has done to him, he flees, returning to his home where he plans an elaborate scheme of revenge against Frankenstein.

In today’s picture of the day, we see Brandt (Freddie Jones)— in Richter’s body— returning to his wife Ella (Maxine Audley) but she of course doesn’t recognize him, since his brain is in the body of another man.  She even tries to kill him, because she believes her husband is dead, since the police had discovered his mutilated body, hidden underneath the floorboards of the house where Frankenstein had performed the brain transplant.

And so we have actor Freddie Jones begin the movie playing Professor Richter and end it as Dr. Brandt inside Richter’s body.  It really is an extraordinary performance!

This scene pictured here, where Brandt tells his wife that she won’t recognize him or his voice because it’s the voice of a different person, is one of the best in the movie.  Rarely has a Frankenstein film been this thought-provoking, or given this deep a look into what it feels like to be Frankenstein’s creation, and Freddie Jones performs these scenes wonderfully.  He’s as good as Peter Cushing in this movie, and dare I say it, perhaps even better!

If you’ve never seen FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, add it to your queue.  It’s one of the more unique Frankenstein movies ever filmed, directed in full “Hammer style” by their best director Terence Fisher, with a thought-provoking script by Bert Batt, based on an original story by Batt and Anthony Nelson Keys, and it features not only Peter Cushing as the most ruthless Baron Frankenstein ever, but Freddie Jones— pictured here with Maxine Audley— as one of the more cognizant of Frankenstein’s creations.  Better yet, he evokes sympathy without being wimpy.  After all, we feel bad for him even as he plans a brutal scheme of revenge against Baron Frankenstein, a plan which involves burning his house to the ground.

“You’d kill me?” He asks his wife in this scene.

“Of course I’d kill you!  You’re a monster!”  She screams.

How right you are, Mrs. Brandt!

Thanks for reading!

—Michael

 

 

 

THE QUOTABLE CUSHING: FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969)

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Peter Cushing in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969), his darkest portrayal of Baron Frankenstein.

Peter Cushing in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969), his darkest performance as Baron Frankenstein.

THE QUOTABLE CUSHING:  FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969)

By

Michael Arruda

 

 

Today on THE QUOTABLE CUSHING, that column where we look at Peter Cushing’s best lines in the movies, we check out the Hammer Frankenstein flick, FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969).

 

FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED has long been one of my favorite Peter Cushing Hammer Frankenstein movies.  By far, it’s Cushing’s most villainous turn as the evil Baron, so much so, that at times it’s almost a turn-off.  Cushing excelled at making his villains heroic, which is why his Baron Frankenstein has always been such a compelling character.  You recognize he’s doing some terrible things, but you like him anyway.  However, Cushing pushed the envelope with his portrayal of Baron Frankenstein in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, and as a result it’s difficult to like the character this time around.

 

Still, there are some terrific memorable quotes from this movie.  So, here we go, a look at some cool Peter Cushing quotes from FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, screenplay by Bert Batt, based on a story by Batt and Anthony Nelson Keys.

 

The tone is set early on in this scene where Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) overhears a conversation among his fellow guests at the boarding house where he’s staying.  The guests are discussing Professor Brandt, an inmate at the local asylum.  Brandt is infamous because of his experiments involving the transplanting of people’s brains.  The guests think it’s ludicrous that anyone undergoing such an operation would survive, and they believe that these ridiculous experiments are responsible for driving Brandt mad.

 

Of course, the guests don’t realize that Baron Frankenstein is sitting in the room with them. 

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  Excuse me, I didn’t know that you were doctors.

 

GUEST:  Doctors?  We’re not doctors.

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  I beg your pardon.  I thought you knew what you were talking about.

 

GUEST:  You’re damn rude, sir.

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  I’m afraid that stupidity always brings out the worst in me.

 

GUEST:  Stupidity?

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  Yes, stupidity!  It’s fools like you who have blocked progress throughout the ages. You make pronouncements on half facts that you don’t understand anyway. 

 

GUEST:  — Explain the word “progress” in this context.

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  You wouldn’t understand it.  But I will give you a parallel that you may just appreciate.  Had man not been given to invention and experiment, then tonight sir you would have eaten your dinner in a cave.  You would have strewn the bones about the floor, and then wiped your fingers on a coat of animals.  In fact, your lapels do look somewhat greasy.  Good night.

 

 

 

In FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, Baron Frankenstein plans to break Dr. Brandt out of the insane asylum so he can operate on him to cure his insanity because Brandt has a secret that the Baron must know.

Frankenstein blackmails a young doctor Karl (Simon Ward) and his girlfriend Anna (Veronica Carlson) to help him when he learns that they’re stealing drugs and selling them on the black market in order to pay for medical services for Anna’s mother.

 

Frankenstein tells Karl to steal the floor plans to the asylum so they can break Brandt out, but Karl refuses to help the Baron until he learns who he is.

 

KARL:  Who are you?

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN: Did you get the plan?

 

KARL:  I’ll do no more until you tell me who you are, what you’re involved in—.

 

(FRANKENSTEIN strikes Karl across the face.  He then points at Anna.

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  Stay where you are!  I am Baron Frankenstein.

 

ANNA:  Frankenstein!

 

KARL:   I thought the world had seen the last of you.

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN: So did a lot of other people.

 

 

 

 

Later, Karl wants to know why Frankenstein is so interested in Dr. Brandt.

 

KARL:  Why are you doing all this?

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  Brandt has a secret that I must know.  In order to learn that secret, I must cure his insanity.  

 

KARL: What secret?

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  We were involved in the problems of transplanting of the human brain.  We both achieved it.

 

KARL:  Utterly impossible.

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  I assure you, it isn’t.  We had both found a way of making an immediate transplant from one body to another.  We corresponded on the subject.  Our next step was to find a way of freezing brains without destroying the living cells so they could be stored for future use.  My research went badly, but Brandt discovered the technique.  He wrote to me.  And we arranged to meet for the first time.  He was to tell me the secret.   Unfortunately, two days before we were due to meet, he went mad, the pressure of his work had broken him.  He disappeared.  Shortly afterwards, I was hounded out of the country.

 

KARL:  It’s horrifying.  But it still doesn’t explain why you were doing it.

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  We were seeking to preserve for all time the great talents and geniuses of the world.  When they die their brains are at the height of their creative power, and we bury them under the ground to rot, because the bodies that house them have worn out.  We want to remove those brains at the instant of death, and freeze them, thus preserving for posterity, all they contain.

 

 

Hot on Frankenstein’s trail throughout FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED is the snuff-sniffing Inspector Frisch (Thorley Walters).  When Mrs. Brandt (Maxine Audley) tells him she met with Baron Frankenstein but didn’t go to the police immediately, he tells her bluntly:

 

INSPECTOR:  That was very stupid of you, Mrs. Brandt.

 

 

 

In the film’s fiery finale, Brandt, his brain now in the body of Professor Richter (Freddie Jones) sets a trap for Baron Frankenstein.

 

BRANDT:  I fancy that I am the spider, and you are the fly, Frankenstein.  I know why you did this and what you’ve come for.

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  Brandt?  Our work, our research, remember?  We must continue together!

 

BRANDT:  Better you had killed me.

 

(The sound of horses and a coach galloping away.)

 

BRANDT:  That will be my wife on her way to the police.  What you want is on the desk in my study.  The game is for you to try and get it!

 

Baron Frankenstein steps towards a closed door, and Brandt hurls a lamp at him, igniting the area in flames.

 

BRANDT:  Wrong door.

 

Frankenstein rushes towards Brandt, but Brandt pulls a gun on him.

 

BRANDT:  You must choose between the flames and the police, Frankenstein.  You haven’t got long to get those papers.

 

And the game is on!  FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED probably has the most exciting finale of the entire series.

 

 

 

 

And we finish with one of Baron Frankenstein’s most condescending lines in the film, when Karl asks him to let Anna go.

 

KARL:  You don’t need her.

 

BARON FRANKENSTEIN:  I need her to make coffee

 

And there you have it, memorable quotes from a memorable Peter Cushing movie, FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969).

 

See you again next time.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

—Michael