Peter Cushing delivers his most cold-blooded portrayal of the mad Baron in his fifth turn as Dr. Frankenstein. Abandoning his latest experiment after a drunk stumbles into his secret lab (upsetting a severed head) he hurriedly finds new lodgings with a sweet young thing (Hammer glamour babe Veronica Carlson) whose boyfriend (Simon Ward, in his film debut) works in the local sanitarium. Frankenstein blackmails the lovers into complicity with his latest experiment, resorts to kidnapping and murder for his subjects, turns accomplice Ward into a killer, and even rapes Carlson in a coldly brutal scene. The goriest film of the series kicks off with a flamboyant beheading with a scythe (seen only as a spray of blood across a window) and is full of bloody brain surgery, conveniently offscreen but vividly suggested in the slurping sound effects of surgical saws and drills and the gallons of blood left in their wake. Freddie Jones is heartbreaking as Frankenstein's latest creature, a once-insane scientist who awakens to find himself cured but trapped in a grotesque, alien body. When he attempts to communicate with his wife, half hiding in a dark corner while she peers around and sees only a monster, director Terence Fisher offers the most affecting moment of pathos in the entire series. Cushing and Fisher reunited for one more film together, the seventh and final film in the series, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell. --Sean Axmaker
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