The Curse of Frankenstein. 1957. Great Britain. Directed by Terence Fisher. Screenplay by Jimmy Sangster, based on the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. With Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Robert Urquhart. 35mm. 82 min.
In the first of Hammer Studios’ seven Frankenstein films, an imprisoned Dr. Victor tells his life story to a priest, in the hope that he will be absolved for his sins. Beyond his interest in medical science, Dr. Frankenstein is also intrigued by the mystical origins of life, and he resolves to defy death. After successfully reanimating a dead dog, the doctor attempts to create a man from dead human tissue. As in all of the Hammer Frankenstein films, which align themselves more with the intent of Shelley’s novel, the doctor truly believes his work will benefit mankind. The film’s lurid color, occasional gore, and discomfiting Gothic environment—gloomy castle, murky hallways, and fog—build an atmosphere of uneasiness.