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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell



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#1 of 32 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted October 21 2003 - 02:18 PM

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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 of 32 OFFLINE   AlanBrom

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Posted October 21 2003 - 02:36 PM

There's a rundown of the cuts:

DVD Drive-In

#3 of 32 OFFLINE   David Lambert

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Posted October 21 2003 - 03:11 PM

Just to note it in this thread, too: Wal-Mart has this title in their $5.88 bin!
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#4 of 32 OFFLINE   Larry Talbot

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Posted October 21 2003 - 04:35 PM

"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 of 32 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted October 22 2003 - 12:25 AM

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 of 32 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted October 22 2003 - 03:22 AM

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.

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#7 of 32 OFFLINE   Seth--L

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Posted October 24 2003 - 03:33 PM

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).
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#8 of 32 OFFLINE   JulianK

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Posted October 24 2003 - 05:50 PM

[quote] 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. [quote]

I've now received DD Video's "fixed" version of F&TMFH, and although the company has corrected the 16:9 flag issue, it's exactly the same duration (89'29") as the old version, so is presumably still the cut version.

#9 of 32 OFFLINE   AlanBrom

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Posted October 25 2003 - 05:27 AM

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 of 32 OFFLINE   JulianK

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Posted October 25 2003 - 11:14 AM

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 of 32 OFFLINE   AlanBrom

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Posted October 25 2003 - 04:07 PM

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 of 32 OFFLINE   Victoria K.

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Posted October 26 2003 - 11:48 AM

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 wellPosted Image

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 of 32 OFFLINE   AlanBrom

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Posted October 26 2003 - 01:17 PM

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 of 32 OFFLINE   Brent Bridgeman

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Posted October 27 2003 - 02:11 AM

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 of 32 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted October 28 2003 - 03:27 AM

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...
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#16 of 32 OFFLINE   ChuckSolo

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Posted October 29 2003 - 05:23 AM

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 of 32 OFFLINE   Todd Phillips

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Posted October 29 2003 - 06:05 AM

Our local WalMart only received 2 copies of this DVD last week, so good luck finding one.
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#18 of 32 OFFLINE   Derrick King

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Posted October 29 2003 - 06:20 AM

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 of 32 OFFLINE   Steve Phillips

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Posted October 29 2003 - 10:49 AM

Las Vegas Wal-Mart stores must have received 500 copies of each. The bins are overflowing with them.

#20 of 32 OFFLINE   ChuckSolo

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Posted October 30 2003 - 04:31 AM

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.





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