Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)
Directed by Terence Fisher

Starring Freddie Jones Peter Cushing Simon Ward Veronica Carlson

This is an underrated Hammer Frankenstein film that saw a DVD release but not a Blu-Ray release. As of this writing, it's available for high definition streaming from Netflix. Well worth catching.

The last Hammer Frankenstein film of the 1960s, this Terence Fisher-directed entry in the franchise is lacking a bit in the story department and perhaps in its budget. The greatest lack of all (probably related to budget) is the presence of any kind of onscreen monster.

But the acting is all good. Peter Cushing is of course back as the Baron, supported by Hammer hottie Veronica Carlson and Simon Ward as the doctor's unwilling assistants.

The film opens with Frankenstein's latest experiment being busted when a homeless man stumbles upon his lab -- and sees a severed head. After the police are alerted, the fugitive doctor has to pack up his things and leave immediately, hiding away in a local boarding house where (happy coincidence) the landlady (Carlson) happens to be dating a doctor from the local insane asylum -- where Frankenstein's former partner in crime is housed due to insanity.

The basic storyline has Frankenstein blackmailing the landlady and her boyfriend to get his partner out of the asylum, so he can operate to cure his insanity. Things don't go as planned, so he ultimately needs to perform a brain transplant.

While the story isn't the best, there are some outstandng setpieces, such as a scene where a body buried in the boarding house's garden is loosened by a broken water pipe, and the film's bloody opening scene where Frankenstein confronts an intruder.

Some have criticized the film for being a bit boring. While it doesn't have the punch of earlier Hammer Frankenstein efforts, it does have the top-notch acting that marked all of Terence Fisher's films. Freddie Jones is especially good as the "creature" -- the doctor whose brain has been transplanted and who has to come to grips with the fact that his life has been ruined, and that "Frankenstein must be destroyed". He's not really a creature -- just a guy with a scar across his head.

Ultimately it's a good, but not great, Hammer horror film. Followed by the even lower budgeted "Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell."



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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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