DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Scott Kimball, Oct 21, 2003.

Tags:
  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 8, 2000
    Messages:
    1,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    [​IMG]

    Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell

    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 1974

    Rated: R

    Length: 93 minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1, Anamorphic

    Audio: DD Mono

    Subtitles: English

    Commentary track

    SRP: Under $20 USD


    Release Date: October 21, 2003




    Hammer’s final Frankenstein story is delivered with a weak script, but with a great performance by Peter Cushing.

    Baron Frankenstein (Cushing) wants the world to think that he is dead, so that he can carry on his work in solitude. What better place to do this than in a home for the criminally insane. Having some dirt on the warden, he’s able to pretty much run the place.

    Having sustained injuries to his hands, he finds help in the guise of a new inmate - a surgeon who has studied Frankenstein’s work, and who has figured out the madman’s true identity. They work together to create a new creature, from the body parts of the criminally insane inmates at the asylum. The monster is none other than David Prowse (Darth Vader in later years), who is unrecognizeable in a full-body suit.

    Of course, things don’t go as planned. The brain of the monster deteriorates, and the monster gets loose in the asylum.

    This final Frankenstein from Hammer is a weak entry in Frankenstein lore, but it is interesting for Cushing’s performance, and for the set design - if nothing else.

    The Video
    This is an anamorphic, 1.85:1 transfer. The picture is sharp, with little in the way of dust or scratches. Colors are adequately saturated, and a bit warm. There are deep blacks with acceptable shadow detail. Fine grain is occasionally present throughout, as expected given the age and budget of this film. This is as good a transfer of the source elements as you could expect.

    The Audio
    Audio is Dolby Digital, Mono. Dialog is consistently clear above sound effects and music. Frequency response is accurately rendered from the source, as far as I can tell. Don’t expect booming lows or soaring highs, but this is a good rendering of the original elements.

    The Extras
    Commentary by Madeline Smith, David Prowse and genre historian Jonathan Sothcott. Prowse and Smith speak freely about the making of the film, and about the personalities involved. They go on at length about Peter Cushing, and explain how Cushing’s wife died not long before shooting the film, and how that had a lot to do with how he appeared in the film. They talk about the frequent “day-for-night” photography, and explain that it is common in Hammer films because the company refused to pay overtime for night shooting. It is also divulged that this, the American version of the film has 9 cuts from the original version. The British version had brief censoring as well. It is not divulged whether or not the complete, uncut version of the film exists.

    Final Thoughts
    I’m not a big fan of this take on Frankenstein, but I’m sure Hammer fans will be glad to get this final outing on DVD. Paramount has provided an excellent transfer of this cult favorite.
     
  2. AlanBrom

    AlanBrom Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2003
    Messages:
    405
    Likes Received:
    0
  3. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2001
    Messages:
    11,386
    Likes Received:
    38
    Just to note it in this thread, too: Wal-Mart has this title in their $5.88 bin!
     
  4. Larry Talbot

    Larry Talbot Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2003
    Messages:
    388
    Likes Received:
    0
    "Just to note it in this thread, too: Wal-Mart has this title in their $5.88 bin!"

    Oh man. I hate Wal-mart but I'm going to have to get this (and Black Sunday). I'm just too much of a cheap bastard to stand by my scruples.

    Thanks Scott for reviewing Hammer stuff like this! I think a lot of reviewers would pass a film like this up.
     
  5. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 8, 2000
    Messages:
    1,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    Larry, glad to do it.

    This title isn't one I would have bought... though I might have bought Captain Kronos (I like the sub-genre of Vampire Movies).

    This is a shorter review than my usual, but I do try to mix it up and review smaller titles / foreign titles as well as the more mainstream fare.

    -Scott
     
  6. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    4,524
    Likes Received:
    313
    Location:
    Bolton, Lancashire
    Real Name:
    John
    R2 enabled forumites might like to know that according to www.zetaminor.com, the UK R2 version - sans commentary - is allegedly being re-released uncut.

    ---
    So many films, so little time...
     
  7. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,344
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is actually one of the most interesting Hammer reworkings - setting the Frankenstein story in a mental institution, and having Frankenstein go around killing the criminally insane helpless inmates for the sake of personal experimentation. And Frankenstein himself who once an inmate is now running the institution. It's more or less reminiscent of what the Nazis did (I wonder if that was intentional).
     
  8. JulianK

    JulianK Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    844
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  9. AlanBrom

    AlanBrom Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2003
    Messages:
    405
    Likes Received:
    0
    The U.S. disc runs 93 minutes which seems to be the fullest running time. Some sources list it at 99 minutes, but that's most likely a myth. The Japanese laserdisc version, which had a few extra seconds, runs 91 minutes, but it's time compressed.
     
  10. JulianK

    JulianK Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    844
    Likes Received:
    0
    The UK running time is PAL, which runs 4% faster than the US NTSC disc. 89'29" would be about 93 minutes, which makes sense if both versions are the cut (R-Rated) version.
     
  11. AlanBrom

    AlanBrom Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2003
    Messages:
    405
    Likes Received:
    0
    Julian, I saw your posts at the Anchor Bay U.K. site. Let us know if the corrected U.K. disc is the international version. DVD Drive-In's review has a rundown of what would shots would be missing. Thanks.DVD Drive-In's review
     
  12. Victoria K.

    Victoria K. Extra

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2003
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    How extensive are the cuts?

    I found it for $5.88 at wal-Mart & at that price. It was hard to resist,so I picked it up. I love the artwork on the back of the packaging as well[​IMG]

    Very gothic & beautiful.


    While I do not agree with censorship & wish it were uncut. Not having seen the film before. I decided to take a chance with the current release.
     
  13. AlanBrom

    AlanBrom Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2003
    Messages:
    405
    Likes Received:
    0
    This disc is very nice, and the R-Rated version still has plenty of meat to it. The review I mentioned above tells of the longer version.
     
  14. Brent Bridgeman

    Brent Bridgeman Second Unit

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 1999
    Messages:
    415
    Likes Received:
    1

    Hmmm...I would think he would be unrecognizable unless he WAS in a full body suit, namely a black one with a cape, a big helmet, and faulty breathing apparatus.
     
  15. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    4,524
    Likes Received:
    313
    Location:
    Bolton, Lancashire
    Real Name:
    John
    Just picked this up from Matt on the Anchor Bay UK forum (as it was in reply to Julian, he will have no doubt already seen it, although he has yet to update the Hammer Guide), it does contain good news for those that are contemplating buying the R2 FATMFH:

    ""As you say, the scene in question runs from about the 49'45" mark, lasting till about 50'40" - I can assure you the previously missing footage (Cushing holding the artery in his teeth, then rinsing his mouth out with water) has definitely been re-instated! I must say I still find it inexplicable that this very mild scene was ever cut in the first place...

    "At the 85'19" mark, there is a 1 second close-up of the asylum director's gory throat wound which I am pretty sure was missing before.

    "However, there does SEEM to be a cut at around 86'31", when the inmates first leap on the monster - the soundtrack audibly jumps followed by a shot of Madeline Smith and Shane Briant's horrified reaction (I'm not sure what's missing here, perhaps it's a shot that was never in any prints of the film). We then go into the ensuing shots of the inmates continuing to tear the monster apart and throwing bits of his innards all over the place!

    "I stupidly forgot to check the final running time which I will do tonight - the back of the DVD case still shows 89 mins but rest assured this print is definitely 50 or so seconds longer than the one you have!

    "I don't know why DD Video are not listing the DVD on their website, but perhaps they took it off whilst they were fixing the problems and have simply neglected to put it back on the site."


    ---
    So many films, so little time...
     
  16. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,160
    Likes Received:
    0
    I looked through the entire two sides of the $5.88 bin at WalMart and could not find this. I am gonna look at another location tonight.
     
  17. Todd Phillips

    Todd Phillips Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2000
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    0
    Our local WalMart only received 2 copies of this DVD last week, so good luck finding one.
     
  18. Derrick King

    Derrick King Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2003
    Messages:
    674
    Likes Received:
    209
    ChuckSolo, you may want to look in the DVD/VHS display in the Halloween section. At the Wal-Mart near me, there were plenty of copies of both Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell and Captain Kronos to be found in that display.
     
  19. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2002
    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    Las Vegas Wal-Mart stores must have received 500 copies of each. The bins are overflowing with them.
     
  20. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,160
    Likes Received:
    0
    I actually found this last night at another local WalMart, we have 4 in my area. I watched it and it isn't a bad film. The transfer was good and the mono audio was clear. Not a bad purchase for $5.88 + tax.
     

Share This Page