Victor Frankenstein has to desert his secret laboratory when it is discovered by a burglar breaking
into his house. While the police begin their investigations Frankenstein finds new lab space in
the boarding house of Anna Spengler, a young landlady. Anna's fiancé, Dr. Carl
Holst works in an
asylum, where he regularly steals cocaine for Anna's sick mother. By chance Frankenstein discovers the
cocaine and blackmails Carl and Anna: Carl is forced to assist him in his experiments and Anna
has to evict all other guests at her house.
One night Frankenstein and Carl break into the
asylum to steal surgical instruments. They are surprised by the night guard, whom Carl
accidentally kills. Frankenstein then reveals his true identity to Carl and tells him his latest
plan: He wants to kidnap Dr. Brand, a mad, yet brilliant scientist, from the
asylum in order to
get Brand's knowledge about freezing brains. Frankenstein needs this to achieve
his latest goal: the preservation of the brains and
knowledge of geniuses. During the kidnapping Brand suffers a heart attack
leaving him at the verge of death. To save his brain, Frankenstein kidnaps Dr. Richter, a psychiatrist
asylum, and transplants Brand's brain into his head.
Before the police are able to discover the lab and
Brand's body, Frankenstein flees with Carl, Anna and his latest creation. Dr. Brand awakes too early
and, much to his horror, finds that his mirror image is actually that of Dr. Richter. During a fight with
the frightened Anna the desperate Monster/Brand/Richter is badly injured, but manages to flee to his wife's house.
Meanwhile Frankenstein kills Anna for hurting Dr. Brand and later confronts
Brand at his home.
Obsessed by the wish for revenge on Frankenstein, the Monster sets the house on fire and drags
the villainous Baron into the collapsing burning building.
Back for no good:
Peter Cushing as Victor Frankenstein
Frankenstein and Carl (Simon Ward) fix
Richter's (Freddie Jones) head
The very first scene of Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, in which Frankenstein
murders Dr. Heidecke, leaves no doubt about to what extent the development of
the Baron's character has come. The film presents him as a totally irredeemable
and ruthless scientist. Never before has he been such an appalling and negative character.
His total obsession with his work has resulted in a complete loss of moral standards.
To him the loss of a human life means nothing as long as it contributes to the success of his experiments.
Even in the face of death, when he is trapped in the burning house, Frankenstein only
the formula he wants from Brand.
And Frankenstein does not care a lot about those who assist him, either. Both Carl
and Anna are only accessories to him, tools and instruments he uses and disposes
of when he sees it fit. Their involvement with him is their ultimate undoing.
blackmails Carl it is only the beginning of his downfall. Later Frankenstein involves him in murder and makes him his unwilling, yet fascinated
She drives Frankenstein crazy: Veronica
Carlson as Anna
However, it is Frankenstein's
involvement with Anna, that contributes most to the extremely negative image
of the Baron in this movie. One night he intrudes into her room and brutally
rapes her. Later, Frankenstein loses his temper again when he
cold-bloodedly kills Anna just for wounding his precious creation. (Of course, it
noted that the rape scene was not in the original
screenplay. It was added in post production due to interference of producer
James Carreras, who insisted on the scene despite Fisher and Cushing objecting
against it. In fact, the rape is a distraction from the usual image people have of
Cushing's Frankenstein: that of a ruthless, yet cool and always controlled
monomaniac. This is actually the only occassion he has given in to any sexual
On the other hand Frankenstein can also be polite and gentlemen-like, as shown
in the scene where he introduces himself to Anna. He also manages to appear as
very convincing and understanding, especially in the scene where he comforts Dr.
Brand's wife, which of course is only to conceal his ruthlessness and
When Frankenstein is finally destroyed by his own
creation, the movie return to its literary source and Frankenstein receives the
ultimate punishment for his transgression and crimes.
But Frankenstein's death at the hands of the Monster is not the
only parallel with the original novel. Unlike in most other films this time the Monster is not a
brutish creature, that kills for no apparent reason. Dr. Brand, the Monster, is a rationally
thinking being, who is fully aware of his misery, as he tells his wife: "I
have become the victim of everything that Frankenstein and I ever
advocated." He talks and acts like a human being and
apart from a scar on his head he has no visible features of a monster. Like Karl and Anna he
is a victim of the remorseless Frankenstein. He is left unable to live in
another man's body and unable to relate to his beloved wife, who can't
accept the monstrosity her husband has become. This interesting concept
gives this film more depth than the usual Hammer horror, but unfortunately
is not given enough time to develop and to be explored.
Into the fiery pit: Dr.
Many fans and critics rank Frankenstein
Must Be Destroyed as the best in Hammer's Frankenstein series. Beautiful
cinematography, a well-crafted screenplay and director Fisher's sense for a
constant atmosphere of tension guarantee above-average gothic horror. Some of
the scenes - in particular the opening sequence with the burglar, and the scene,
where the water pipe bursts revealing a buried body - show Fisher's masterful
editing and direction. Additionally, the film also caters to the audience's
increased demand for sex and violence: Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed
features more explicit images of blood and body parts and Veronica Carlson's
Anna gets more than one chance to display her sexuality.
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