Frankenstein Created Woman is the fourth film in Hammer Films Frankenstein series and has been released on Blu-ray by Scream Factory. Instead of Hammer’s version of Bride of Frankenstein, this is a gender reversal of the story, but don’t let on to the internet monsters who are overly sensitive to that kind of thing.
The film opens as a young boy named Hans sees his father guillotined. Cut to years later, he (Robert Morris) assists Dr. Hertz (Thorley Walters) and together they revive Baron von Frankenstein (Peter Cushing), who had been dead an hour in a deep freeze, leading Frankenstein to ponder the notion about the soul staying within the body. He will invent an energy barrier to keep a soul from escaping.
Hans and the innkeeper’s daughter Christina (Susan Denberg), whose face is partially disfigured, are in love with each other but her father is dismissive of him. A trio of snobbish dandies cause trouble at the inn as they drink. One night, they kill the innkeeper. Hans is a suspect, in pat because of his father’s history, but can’t admit his whereabouts because he spent the night with Christina. He is convicted and suffers the same fate as his father. Christina drowns herself in despair.
After the beheading, Frankenstein gets Hans’s body and places his soul into Christina’s body. During the operation, they repair her face and inexplicably, make her a blonde. Since this is a Hammer film, there’s not a lot of time dealing with metaphysical questions. Instead, Hans, through Christina, seeks revenge and does so in a delightfully macabre manner as her beauty lures in her victims.
The video has been derived from a new 2K scan of the original film elements and is displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1. The colors appear in strong hues, such as the lush green of the foliage and reds that pop. Blacks are inky, contributing to a pleasing contrast. The texture detail, as seen on the costumes and building, is evident. There are minor specks of dirt and of white that appear. Vertical scratches the length of the frame appear on occasion. There are a few brief segments during sequence when Karl is killed where the image looks to be of an inferior quality.
The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio mono. The dialogue has some instances of hiss from the actors, but during the quieter moments, no hiss on the track from age or wear. Denberg was dubbed, which is noticeable but not distracting. James Bernard’s score and the effects have a satisfying fidelity though each borders on being too loud at times and almost distort, such as during the capture of Hans’s soul.
The Special Features, which are in HD unless noted, are:
- Commentary by writer/producer Steve Haberman and filmmaker/writer Constantine Nasr, both of whom state their great appreciation for the film at the onset.
- Commentary by author Jonathan Rigby and actors Derek Fowlds and Robert Morris who offer their fond memories of making the film.
- Interview with Robert Morris (11 min) – the actor who played Hans discusses working on what was his first film, covering areas such as working with director Fisher, the love scene and the fight scene.
- Creating Frankenstein Created Woman (12 min) – Clapper/loader Eddie Collins (who gets more screen time) and second assistant director Joe Marks sit for separate interviews. Informative for those interested in the nuts and bolts of a production.
- Hammer Glamour (44 min) – From 2013, the ladies of Hammer are the focus of this special feature and several actresses are interviewed.
- World of Hammer: Peter Cushing (SD, 25 min) – From a 1990 TV series, Oliver Reed narrates (though his voice gets drowned out at times) this episode about the actor and his roles for the studio, clips of which fill the program.
- World of Hammer: The Curse of Frankenstein (SD, 25 min) – From the same series as above, this episode focuses on Frankenstein and his monsters.
- Theatrical Trailers (SD, 5 min), T.V. Spots (SD, 1 min) deliver two commercials, Still Image Gallery (6 min) auto. Poster and Lobby Card Gallery (6 min), Radio Spots (audio, 2 min).
Frankenstein Created Woman is an intriguing continuation of the Hammer franchise that presents a gothic tale of revenge that plays with genre expectations. Scream Factory created a Blu-ray with strong video and hours of extras for fans to enjoy and study.
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