A radical doctor conducts experiments to cheat death with the aid of assorted cadavers.
The film that put the Hammer studio firmly on the map with its gruesome technicolour updates of the old classic horrors played (mostly) straight by no-nonsense actors notably Cushing and Lee.
Masterful retelling of Mary Shelley's classic tale of science gone wrong that reset the waning horror genre and made the name of Hammer and the teaming of Cushing and Lee forces to be reckoned with.
A surprisingly ghoulish tale for its time; some of the Baron's actions are still shocking in their calculated lack of morality. The only real detriment is the character of Krempe, who tiresomely moralizes and pulls disgusted faces at Cushing's work, but does nothing to stop it until it's too late. The fact that Urquhart doesn't visably age while Victor grows from gormless Melvyn Hayes into taciturn Peter Cushing doesn't particularly help! The whole subplot with Elizabeth is a trifle unnecessary as well.
Other than those minor quibbles, a classic that spawned a veritable horde of sequels, some much more worthy than others. Leakey's makeup is excellent; the creature looks much more the abomination that Shelley described than the Universal version, and Lee brings as much pathos to his wordless role as Karloff did a quarter-century before.
Note: Several scenes showing the Baron's youth were cut, but the roles were listed in an early pressbook for the film. Patrick Troughton's voice was retained for the charnel house man, while the roles of the burgomaster and uncle were recast.