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Silly title hides a genuine classic
on 11 August 2004
As a previous reviewers has said, this was Hammer's last good production of the Sixties, and possibly a contender for the title of best Hammer film ever.
The most obvious starting point for the praise is Peter Cushing. Always a brilliant and fascinating film actor, possibly Britain's finest, he build here on all of his previous characterisations, to the logical conclusion of the Baron finally becoming the monster. The ruthlessness in Cushing's portrayal is never less than convincing, and utterly terrifying, and it is a great shame that he was never recognised by any awards. The infamous rape scene still has disturbing power that informs the character rather than providing cheap titillation, as would happen in the sadly awful Horror of Frankenstein.
This holds true for Veronica Carlson. Though undeniable beautiful, she is not there for appear naked like later leading ladies, her acting is excellent, especially in scenes with Simon Ward. Also worthy of praise is Freddie Jones, his final transformation is again entirely convincing, and by the end you realise how difficult the job of acting a man who's had a brain transplant.
However, this is Cushing's film, a fitting epitaph to his ability, and to Hammer's once unsurpassable prowess. The only disappointment being the lurid title, which the DVD can obviously do nothing about, and the fact that there are no extras, this is still a worthwhile purchase.