Director Terence Fisher’s swansong (and Hammer Films‘ sixth and final Frankenstein film) finds the Baron (Peter Cushing) as the resident doctor in the famous insane asylum known as ‘Bedlam’ – where he himself was initially housed as an inmate.
Shane Briant is his young apprentice, Dr Helder and Madeline Smith plays a busty mute known to the inmates as “Angel”.
Frankenstein is up to his old tricks, pillaging body parts from inmates for the hodgepodge creature he’s building in his laboratory. He selects as his subject the body of an inmate who recently attempted suicide. The man is Neolithic in appearance, easily driven to violence and shows particular interest in dicing up people with broken glass.
Victor is soon sewing on the hands of a sculptor and making arrangements to acquire the brain of the melancholy (though not insane) Professor Durendel (Charles Lloyd Pack).
In the final scenes, the monster (played by Dave ‘Darth Vader‘ Prowse) – who looks like a mangy Wookie – runs amok in the madhouse before the inmates turn on the monster and rip it to shreds, literally disembowelling the beast.
Although the film suffered a critical pasting, it’s more fun retrospectively. Cushing (literally) sinks his teeth into the role, and there’s a colourful supporting cast, even if the philosophical musings have dated better than the makeup.
Baron Frankenstein (Dr Carl Victor)
Dr Simon Helder
Charles Lloyd Pack
Mischa De La Motte