How does a mad scientist think? Here may be a prime example: if someone is frozen and successfully revived within an hour, that means the soul does not depart the body until at least an hour after death. If one can obtain an undamaged corpse of a recently deceased individual, then the soul of even a beheaded man or woman may be revived in the undamaged body. Hence, immortality. Such is the logic at work in 1967's Frankenstein Created Woman
, the title being a parody of Roger Vadim's And God Created Woman
but this is not a comedy nor does it bear very much in common with the film that catapulted Brigitte Bardot's career. Frankenstein Created Woman
exists in a strange and sinister reality of obsession and revenge, a fascinating, morally chaotic horror film.
Consisting of two parts, the first introduces us to Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing again) and his assistants, a perpetually flustered and kind hearted Thorley Walters as Dr. Hertz and a young man from the nearby town named Hans (Robert Morris).
Following the success of Frankenstein's experiment where he had himself frozen and revived, they send young Hans into town to buy a bottle of wine. Since no-one among Frankenstein's group has any money, not even the baron himself, Hans is forced to barter his coat. Working in the tavern is a pretty young woman with a badly scarred face named Christina (Susan Denberg) with whom Hans is in love.
So when three rich young men drop in and start to verbally and physically abuse the young woman, Hans begins to single handedly beat the shit out of them until the police arrive to stop him. In a prologue to the film, we learn that Hans' father was sentenced to death for murder and people are quick to suggest Hans might be prone to similar behaviour.
The second half of the film focuses more on Frankenstein and the woman he more or less creates, taking advantage of a complex sequence of mayhem I won't spoil for you. She doesn't know who she is at first, constantly asking Frankenstein and Hertz to tell her. It's without their assistance, though, she eventually embarks on a campaign of cold blooded, murderous revenge.
Peter Cushing played Frankenstein in Hammer's three previous films, including 1957's The Curse of Frankenstein
in which he and Christopher Lee made names for themselves playing the Baron and the monster, respectively. In Frankenstein Created Woman
, Cushing continues to portray him as a man who could be ruthless and fixated yet also charming and, in his own way, compassionate. The film bears little resemblance to Mary Shelley's novel except that the baron continues to function as a nightmare realisation of the Bryonic hero.
Wikipedia quotes Martin Scorsese as having a fondness for the film, saying, "If I single this one out it's because here they actually isolate the soul... The implied metaphysics are close to something sublime." Of course, this perspective requires one to believe in the soul, a concept I've always found interesting but about which I am, as with God, agnostic. I'm intrigued by Scorsese's use of the word "sublime" to describe something that feels like a serial killer's self-justification, though in amoral madness perhaps there is a form of sublimity.