By the early 1970s, Hammer were ramping up the sex and violence in their gothic horrors, but they could never go this far!
Lady Frankenstein sidelines both the Baron (Joseph Cotten) and the creature, with his daughter (Rosalba Neri, billed here as Sara Bay) centre-stage as she transplants the brains of dad’s assistant into a hunky stablehand to “satisfy her strange desires” (as the promo poster puts it).
With its mid-European setting and torch-wielding villagers, it’s firmly in the Hammer tradition, but with no holds barred: a scene where the creature hurls not a child but a naked woman into the river sums up the approach.
The location work and sets impress, as do the echoey drones of the score. Rosalba Neri is an imperious, seductive lead, and despite the flesh on display, there’s some justification for directorial claims of feminist intent, given that she’s playing an assertive female surgeon.
The cast includes former Mr Universe Mickey Hargitay (Mr Jayne Mansfield and father of Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay) as a police captain.
Rosalba Neri (as Sara Bay)
Dr Charles Marshall
Riccardo Pizzuti (as Peter Whiteman)
Renate Kasché (as Renata Cash)
Ada Pometti (as Ada Pomeroy)
Andrea Aureli (as Andrew Ray)
Joshua Sinclair (as Johnny Loffrey)
Petar Martinovitch (as Peter Martinov)
Lorenzo Terzon (as Lawrence Tilden)