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Film / The Revenge of Frankenstein

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The Revenge of Frankenstein is a 1958 British horror film made by Hammer Horror Productions. Directed by Terence Fisher, the film stars Peter Cushing, Michael Gwynn and Eunice Gayson. It is a sequel to Hammer's The Curse of Frankenstein.

Baron Victor Frankenstein (Cushing), sentenced to death, escapes execution with the aid of one of his followers. Three years later, Frankenstein, now going by the alias of Doctor Victor Stein, has become a successful physician in Carlsbruck. Together with Karl, the hunchback who facilitated his escape, Frankenstein continues with his experiment of transplanting a living brain into a new body, but this time one that is not a crude, cobbled-together monster. And the deformed Karl is more than willing to volunteer...

Followed by The Evil of Frankenstein in 1964.

This film features examples of:

  • Affably Evil: In contrast to The Curse of Frankenstein where he was Faux Affably Evil, Frankenstein is genuinely polite. One could argue that he's more of an Anti-Hero in this film as he doesn't have any sinister goal in mind.
  • Anti-Villain: Victor Frankenstein. Unlike The Curse of Frankenstein where he was the Villain Protagonist, here the doctor's characterisation mellows out to the point his only other crimes besides creating a new monster and stealing limbs is the murder of the priest in the prologue.
  • Beast and Beauty: The deformed Karl becomes more than willing to volunteer his brain for Frankenstein's experiment to gain a new, healthy body after meeting and becoming smitten with the new assistant at the hospital, the lovely Margaret.
  • Blackmail: Hans Kleve gets Frankenstein to take him as his student through this. Although affronted and threatened by the gesture, Frankenstein happily goes along with it.
  • Bury Your Disabled: Karl, the hunchback, gets his brain transplanted into a new, healthy body, but later re-develops his deformities in his new body and dies.
  • Cane Fu: The first blow in the attack on Frankenstein at the pauper hospital is landed by an old man with a walking stick. Several other patients the attack him with crutches and canes.
  • Cassandra Truth: After giving a series of lame excuses to his cohort why he needs his assistance to go graverobbing for a client, Fritz mentions that he can't dig up the grave on his own because his heart is in poor health. The cohort thinks it's another lie and only goes when he is told the job will now pay ten marks instead of the usual six. Later, when he is alone and Frankenstein appears to him alive, Fritz is so frightened the terror induces a fatal heart attack.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite picking up right after the first film, neither Paul or Elizabeth are revisited or mentioned.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The first film ended with Frankenstein being escorted from his cell to the guillotine. This one begins straight from there, the first and last time a Hammer Frankenstein film would maintain such tight continuity.
    • Hans Kleve recognises Frankenstein from seeing him three years earlier at Professor Bernstein's funeral.
  • Disney Death: Victor Frankenstein. Twice.
  • Dying as Yourself: Karl, in the most horrible and grotesque fashion imaginable.
  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: Karl, being a hunchback, volunteers his brain for Frankenstein's new experiment at making a new creature to gain a new, healthy body, but the new body eventually breaks down and he re-develops his deformities before dying.
  • Foreshadowing: Frankenstein mentions one of his experiments to Hans where he transplanted the brain of an orangutan into Otto the chimp's body, turning him from omnivore to vegetarian. Hans has an Oh, Crap! moment later when he remembers during a conversation with the pauper hospital caretaker that he saw Otto devouring meat, meaning the transplant has inevitably failed and wonders aloud to Frankenstein if the same thing would happen to Karl. Frankenstein refutes this, stating it is impossible as long as Karl avoids damage to the brain.
  • High-Class Glass: At the end of the film, Dr. Frankenstein adopts a new identity as a Harley Street society physician named Dr. Frank. In this new identity, he wears a monocle.
  • The Igor: Karl, Frankenstein's hunchback sidekick who is Working for a Body Upgrade.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We do not see the priest get beheaded, likely to avoid the wrath of the censors and church groups.
  • Oblivious to Love: A boy is too busy studying ants to notice the girl who is accompanying him is flirting with him.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: At the very end, Victor of course, after getting away scot free, has a new identity and has grown a mustache. Justified as he has also traveled to London, far from the events of the film.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Frankenstein purposely neglects to tell Karl what he has planned for him in the future after the transplant surgery.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: The patients at the pauper hospital treat Frankenstein coldly, never letting him touch or treat them and glare at him malevolently. Then one of them clubs the doctor from behind, an act that incites the rest to attack and fatally beat Frankenstein to a pulp.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: The thuggish janitor catches Karl breaking into Dr. Frankenstein's lab and starts tossing him around the lab. Karl is scared of him until the janitor punches him in the face and it has absolutely no effect. The is a rapid reversal of fortunes and when Frankenstein and Hans arrive at the lab, they find the lab trashed and the janitor dead.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: The Revenge of Frankenstein is the sequel of The Curse of Frankenstein.
  • Sue Donym: After escaping the guillotine, Dr Frankenstein operates under the name Stein, then Franck.
  • The X of Y: The Revenge of Frankenstein.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Upon knowing who Frankenstein really is, all of the doctor's rich clients turn away from him while his patients at the pauper hospital attack him, despite him actually giving them genuine care for the entire time he's been in practice.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Thinking that Karl has volunteered for Frankenstein's whole scheme, Hans informs him post-transplant surgery that he will be exhibited to the world as proof of Frankenstein's theories. Having been looked at strangely for his entire life as a hunchback, Karl does not respond kindly to this.
    • Margaret loosens the straps holding Karl to a hospital bed out of kindness. This allows him the freedom to escape Frankenstein and Kleve.
    • The janitor of the building Frankenstein has leased for his laboratory thinks when he comes across Karl stealing into the lab that he's dealing with a plain old intruder and thief. He bullies Karl and strikes him over the head, resulting in trauma to the brain that tragically leads to Karl's slow degradation and death.
    • In his final moments, Karl calls out Frankenstein by his true name, thereby blowing the doctor's cover.
  • Working for a Body Upgrade: The hunchback Karl helps Dr. Frankenstein escape the guillotine and acts as The Igor for him in exchange for having his brain transplanted into a normal body constructed for him by the doctor.