Monday 10 March 2008

Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (1974) is a rather good final installment in Hammer's Frankenstein series. There are one or two things that seem to be out of continuity with previous Hammer Frankenfilms, but how much can Initpick when I've decided to dedicate so much of my free time to watching these old Hammer howlers? A rather unwell-looking Cushing still puts in a fine performance as the eponymous monster-maker, showing him as both stangely sympathetic in his scientific monomania and ultimately more monstrous than any of his misbegotten creations. Sane or twisted, good or bad, Cushing continues to be the man you'd want by your side in case of monster attack, combatting his monster with the lithe energy and unhesitating resoluteness he was so good as portraying.

The Asphyx (1973) had some good ideas and creepy moments, but never really played out to expectations. Indifferent acting, a mediocre script and several plot absurdities mar the potential of what could have been a very effective little chiller. Just think about it: a spirit that absorbs the souls of the dying being captured, first figuratively on photographic film, and then literally in a kind of cage of light, a key to immortality found, a series of tragedies that turn that discovery into a poisoned chalice - it could have been quite something. Instead, whoever plotted the movie and wrote the script dithers about creating absurd set-ups for plot twists that could have been achieved much more rationally, writes reams of kack-fisted dialogue and generally smothers the story kernel in far too much unidfferentiated pfaf. Still, if there's a remake it'll probably make the original seem like the classic it could have been.

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