When Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) is almost caught with a severed head he decides to move his laboratory and start his work all over again.  He rents a room at a boardinghouse owned by Anna Spengler (Veronica Carlson).  Anna’s fiancé, Karl Holst (Simon Ward) is a doctor at an insane asylum.  One of the patients at the asylum is Frankenstein’s former assistant, Dr. Frederick Brandt (George Pravda). 

Karl has been stealing drugs from the hospital in order to support Anna’s ill mother.  Frankenstein finds out about the drugs and uses the knowledge to blackmail both Karl and Anna into doing whatever the Baron wants.  Frankenstein creates a new laboratory in Anna’s basement and has Karl help him steal all the supplies needed to equip the place.  In the process Karl accidentally kills a guard.  This now ties him even more to Frankenstein’s will.  Anna is forced to let her other lodgers go so that no one knows about the experiments Frankenstein is doing in the basement. 

The Baron believes that he can cure Brandt of his insanity by performing a brain transplant on him.  Frankenstein orders Karl to help him kidnap Brandt from the asylum.  Brandt has a heart attack so Frankenstein kidnaps the director of the asylum, Professor Richter (Freddie Jones), so he can transplant Brandt’s brain into Richter’s body.

Brandt’s wife Ella (Maxine Audley) sees Baron Frankenstein and notes that he looks familiar.  She later realizes who he is and follows him to his boardinghouse.  There she confronts him about her husband.  He tells her that he is there and is now sane.  He takes her to the laboratory to see him, but his face is bandaged.  He assures her that after he recuperates, he will be as good as new.  As soon as she leaves Frankenstein realizes that it is only a matter of time before he is caught.          

“Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed” was released in 1969 and was directed by Terence Fisher.  It is a British science fiction horror film produced by the Hammer Film Studios.  The movie is the fifth in a series of seven Frankenstein films done by Hammer.

One unusual thing about this film is that it contains a rape scene between Baron Frankenstein and Anna.  The scene was added to the film at the last minute.  It was included at the insistence of producer James Carreras, who was being pushed by the American distributors of the film.  The distributors felt that the film wasn’t sexy enough.  Objections were made by Cushing, Carlson and director Fisher but they didn’t have any say in the decision.  Instead of looking sexy, Fisher directed the scene to show rape as the violent act it really is.  As such, the scene does fit Baron Frankenstein’s personality of being ruthless, overbearing and shows his dominance over everyone.  Whatever the American distributors were looking for, they got more than they ever expected.

Outside of the unnecessary rape scene the movie was one of Hammer’s better films.  Along with the usual visual excellence, the story is interesting, and the characters full.  The monster is extremely sympathetic, and the real monster is Baron Frankenstein.  The story moves along at a good pace right up to the volatile ending.

No comments

Leave your comment

In reply to Some User