FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN – BLU-RAY REVIEW

Starring: Peter Cushing, Susan Denberg, Thorley Walters, Robert Morris
Written by: Anthony Hinds (original screenplay)
Directed by: Terence Fisher
Original Year of Release: 1967
Distributor: Scream Factory
Studio: Hammer Films
Rated: Unrated
Run Time: 1h 32min 

I've spent a large portion of my adulthood tracking down Hammer Films (the ones I haven't seen). Many of them were released on VHS and re-released in double-feature DVDs, all of which are now out of print. Thankfully, Shout! Factory's Scream Factory label is bringing all these films back with newly restored versions, fantastic cover art, and special features that rival, if not surpass, anything the Criterion Collection is releasing. I had long heard about Terence Fisher's Frankenstein Created Woman but had never been able to find it. The Hammer Film gods smiled upon me, in more ways than one, when Scream Factory re-released it.

The big surprise is what actually transpired on screen. Now in this film, we pick up a few years after Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) has lost the use of his hands, and we find the Baron still at it. The very first experiment, in this film, is actually performed upon the good doctor, but is not surgically adding new hands or anything of the like. Baron Frankenstein is attempting to discover how long one's heart can be stopped for his soul to remain in his body. The experiment, again on himself (seen below), is a success as he is revived by Doctor Hertz (Thorley Walters) and their assistant Hans (Robert Morris). It is only when Hans ventures out for some celebratory champagne that we meet the innkeeper's daughter, Christina (Susan Denberg), who is disfigured. Before you start piecing it all together, I'll stop you right there. It does not go the way you think at all.

Unlike so many of the other mad scientist creations that populate the genre, as well as Hammer's hallowed halls, Frankenstein Created Woman moves at a different pace. I kept asking myself where the monster was. Where was the grave robbing? Over an hour of the film develops both Hans and Christina's relationship, well before the Baron can get his hands on their... well you know. Even then the movie takes the storyline in a whole new direction for Hammer. Today, the question of whether or not the "monster" has a soul is one that is for more modern day audiences. In 1967, this was a change in pace and a welcomed one I am sure for Cushing, who was now playing the mad scientist for the fourth time.

The film has a few other odd things to take note of. Our female lead, Susan Denberg, actually plays the deformed Christina, as well as Baron Frankenstein's new and improved version. It was the pinnacle of a career as she had just appeared 0n Star Trek in "Mudd's Women" and was also Playmate of the Month for Playboy magazine's August 1966 issue. This was also her final film role, which is odd because Hammer usually found a way to bring back its beauties again and again. The film also boasts numerous publicity shots and lobby cards of Denberg and Cushing together, however, those scenes aren't actually in the film (seen below). I understand the sex appeal and marketing, but it does make you wonder if there is more film out there. Probably not, because Scream Factory would have included it.
Scream Factory has once again beautifully restored another Hammer Film with a 2K scan. There are two "World of Hammer" episodes included here, however, the sound for the "Peter Cushing" episode was a bit off. The "Hammer Glamour" featurette has appeared before on Scream Factory Hammer releases. If you haven't seen it, it's completely worth your time. If you love any insight into the movie-making process, I also recommend watching the interview with Eddie Collins. He may just have been camera assistant/clapper loader, but he had the rare privilege of being involved with a lot of the production and discussing the difference between making movies now and then.

  • NEW 2K scan from the original film elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary with author/film historian Steve Haberman and filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr
  • NEW interview with actor Robert Morris
  • NEW interview with camera assistant/clapper loader Eddie Collins and 2nd assistant director Joe Marks
  • Audio Commentary by actors Derek Fowlds, Robert Morris and film historian Jonathan Rigby
  • World of Hammer episode The Curse of Frankenstein
  • World of Hammer episode Hammer Stars: Peter Cushing
  • Hammer Glamour featurette
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Still Galleries – movie stills, posters and lobby cards
7.5 Total Score
UNEXPECTED

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