10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A film overdue a reappraisal, a good if not perfect Blu-ray,
This review is from: The Evil Of Frankenstein (Blu-ray + DVD)  (Blu-ray)
*Warning - may contain slight spoilers if you've never seen the Frankenstein films before. You've been warned.
The Evil of Frankenstein has got a bad reputation in some quarters. I've been indifferent to it myself on previous viewings, but wanted to give it a fair reappraisal when my Blu-ray arrived. I prepared for it this time by watching Revenge of Frankenstein first and keeping an open mind. Revenge had scripted itself into a bit of a rut. It was a good ending, but once Frankenstein reaches success, there's no more room for a sequel. In that way, I can understand why it was felt a new direction was needed to continue the franchise.
This time I found it quite a fun film. It lies in the same gray area as Sam Raimi's Evil Dead 2 from more than two decades later in the way it's half reboot, half sequel. Francis's direction takes it away from the gothic comfort zone and more into horror thriller territory. Quite funny too in places, which was a surprise for earlier Hammer horror. Cushing's Frankenstein is played as a much more sympathetic character than the ruthless, single-minded scientist of the first two. Zoltan is the real villain here. I didn't really like this monster on previous viewings, but giving it a chance this time around it's actually a really nice design. Rather that it just looking like an inexpressive clay mask and Karloff wannabe, I got a Golem vibe coming from it. The creature created for revenge (Zoltan's in this case) that eventually turns on it's creator. I don't know whether this nod to Jewish mythology is by accident or design. Either way, I felt it rather effective.
I am pleased with the transfer. It's a little soft in places and hasn't had any major restoration work carried out, so all the old film dirt is still there especially on optical effects shots. There's a thin layer of grain. If it has been DNRed (if), it was done by an operator who thankfully knew when to stop. Overall a pleasing upgrade over DVD with some finer detail better resolved. It's in the valid aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Sound is the original mono. Not unsurprisingly, it sounds authentically like any other Hammer film of it's era with the benefit of lossless PCM encoding on the Blu-ray. Be aware there are no subtitles on this release, which is unfortunate and will prevent hard of hearing fans from enjoying this new release.
Extras are few, but interesting. I found the making of to have a large chunk made up of a Jackanory-like retelling of the story set to (admittedly lovely) stills, with some behind the scenes narration and interviews to spice it up. It was a good watch and given so few people involved are still with us, so there's not really a whole lot more that can be done. Caron Gardner adds lots of value. Those who had smaller roles often have more interesting anecdotes because they're different to the ones we always hear. Another extra worthy of note is the stills gallery. I normally find photo galleries a bit uninspired and would prefer to see them in print, but this was made up of an impressive number of high quality stills dynamically presented.