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Frankenstein Created Woman – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Scream Factory’s 2019 year of Hammer Horror films on Blu-ray continues in June with a new release of Frankenstein Created Woman starring Peter Cushing. Previously released on Blu-ray by Millennium Media (Like another Scream Factory update, Dracula: Prince Of Darkness from last December), they’ve brought over those features and are doing a new 2K transfer on the film. Unlike Dracula: Prince of Darkness, it doesn’t appear to have 2 different transfers to choose from. It also packs some new features, including an interview and commentary track!

Film 

Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) and Dr. Hertz (Thorley Walters) are embarking upon an experiment to capture the souls of the dead and impose them into other bodies. When their assistant, Hans (Robert Morris), is unjustly accused of murdering his girlfriend Christina’s father and put to death, the two men claim his body and trap his soul in their laboratory. Meanwhile, Christina (Susan Denberg) is consumed with grief over the death of her beloved Hans and commits suicide. Frankenstein and Dr. Hertz are able to transfer Hans’ soul into Christina’s healed body, which results in a vision of beauty. Their experiment appears successful until Frankenstein discovers that Christina’s seductive appetites are being driven by the spirit of Hans and his passion for revenge …

Hammer’s fourth entry into the Peter Cushing-led Frankenstein series takes a different turn than seen before and really opens things up to a bit different and more enjoyable adventure than prior sequels had to offer. I enjoy the canon, but for some reason, this particular entry has always stood out to me. There’s a different idea at play and decides to forgo the big make-up, costumed effect-driven monster make-up and instead almost turn the tables and go in a bit of an opposite direction with a new idea for the mad doctor to explore with his re-animating sciences.

The “monster” in this film is a bit more complex and brings a lot to the table. On the surface of it all, we see a kind hearted, but disfigured person become a beautiful woman hell-bent on a murderous revenge spree. Rather than what used to be a regular person becoming and monster and killing out of confusion, this person has their sights set on exactly what they are doing. Susan Denberg puts in a delicious 180 degree performance almost feeling as if she’s two separate performers, going beyond just the hair and make-up changes that occur in the film.

On the Dr. Frankenstein side of things, we explore a more metaphysical aspect of his sciences as he attempts to capture and transfer a soul. And in an interesting choice, a man’s soul is put into a woman’s body. To this point it had been straight up reconstructing of other’s bodies and whatever mind was in there was the one that would be in the re-animated’s actions. Here brings an interesting twist as the person returns a natural human and behaves as one and becomes very deceitful and finishes the business left in by the soul’s previous body in a more Jack the Ripper type fashion by hunting down its prey and killing. A more calculated effort.

Frankenstein Created Woman is one of my favorites of the Hammer Frankenstein lore, mainly because it takes such a different and refreshing (To me) direction. Its not a perfect film, but the idea is a strong one, and the final act really sizzles as we watch her hunt down the vile a-holes that brought about the mess in the first place. Plus, it deals with a social aspect that many of us can understand an relate to, making the bad guys just grind our gears even more. No matter your love or hate of the film, one can’t deny or not give credit that it does stand out and tried to do something unique with the series’ formula.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Scream Factory’s release of Frankenstein Created Woman comes features a new 2K scan from the original film elements. And this one is a beauty. It has a nice, complimentary layer of grain, showcased in the film original framing. It looks very cinematic and filmic while also having a crisp, clear image. Grimey little details (Especially in the laboratory scenes) are very strong and the color palette looks lovely. Its a definite step up and very good improvement on the previosu Milennium release.

Depth:  This film has a really nice, free look to it with good looking spacing in the depth of field in any interior sequence. Things looks varied and pushed back with confident actor and camera movements abound. No issues noticed with any blurring or jittering during rapid movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are rich and deep, providing good shadow work that compliments the gothic nature of the film. No real issues with details being devoured as you can see textures on darker articles of clothing and follicles in hair with no issues. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors, especially red, look beautiful on the fabrics (Clothes, table clothes, etc) on display in the film contrasting well with the more rustic browns and such in the image. Everything here really pops with a bold well rounded appeal.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Close ups and medium shots impress with facial features and textures, especially displaying how good much of the make up work is in the film.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Frankenstein Created Woman features a pretty strong mono track that feels very much natural to the film’s age. There’s a slight analog hiss accompaniment to it, but mostly its a clear transmission that has good attention to detail on effects and a effective balance in the mix.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras 

Frankenstein Created Woman – Collector’s Edition features reversible cover art displaying the original theatrical poster art.

Audio Commentary

  • With author/film historian Steve Haberman and filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr
  • By actors Derek Fowlds, Robert Morris and film historian Jonathan Rigby

Interview with actor Robert Morris (HD, 11:19) – The actor recalls coming out of drama school and leaning toward method when approaching the film. He recalls his experience of the film and notes he was asked to come back 2 extra days to to just lay his body on the slab with his head in a hole.

Creating Frankenstein Created Woman (HD, 12:13) – Eddie Collins, the clapper/loader and Joe Marks, the second assistant director give their accounts of working on the film, going over some of the low budget limitations, union rules and such. This was a surprise as I don’t believe these new interviews were listed on the press release.

Hammor Glamour (HD, 44:09) – This documentary was previously featured on the Millennium release of Frankenstein Created Woman and the Scream Factory release of The Witches. It takes a look through the leading and supporting ladies of Hammer productions, what they had to go through, their legacy and iconography. Includes Vera Davis, Caroline Munro, Martine Beswicke, Jenny Hanley, Valarie Leon, and Madeline Smith as interview participants. Quite a terrific feature to include.

World of Hammer: Peter Cushing (SD, 24:44) – This episode weaves its way through the career of Peter Cushing, hitting on may of his key roles with Hammer.

World of Hammer: The Curse of Frankenstein (SD, 24:46) – This episode looks at the Frankenstein films in the Hammer canon.

Theatrical Trailers (HD, 4:36) 

Television Spots (HD, 1:24) – Presented in black and white.

Still Image Gallery (HD, 5:38) 

Poster & Lobby Card Gallery (HD, 5:34) 

Radio Spots (HD, 1:44)

Summary 

Frankenstein Created Woman is a bit of stand out in the Hammer Frankenstein canon. Its follow-up would be one as well. It and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed may be the best 1-2 punch in the canon. Scream Factory gives a nice facelift and terrific upgrade to the previous US release, with an improved picture, new extras and keeping the old ones intact. A must have for Hammer fans, as they continue to deliver quality releases for the studio’s classic vault.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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