Terence Fisher’s FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN is the fourth movie in Hammer Film Productions’ FRANKENSTEIN series and it is fascinating. Terence Fisher is the director, while John Elder is the screenwriter and Peter Cushing is the star. It comes on the heels of 1964’s THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN, which contended once more with the juncture of science and religion. FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN pushes further along those lines and finds the soul.
Cushing’s Baron Frankenstein is thawed after an hour of so-called death. He discovers that his soul did not leave his body and celebrates the find with Hans (Robert Morris) and the esteemed Dr. Hertz (Thorley Walters). When young Hans is sent out to procure champagne, he gets in a punch-up with a bunch of punks and defends his girlfriend (Susan Denberg) from their abuses. He takes the long road to the guillotine and is framed for murder, which aids the Baron in the next step of his discoveries.
FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN asks some compelling metaphysical questions, with the Baron concerned about the soul and its capacity for transmission. He houses the soul in a sort of apparatus and wonders if the body somehow traps the soul. He pushes Hans’ soul into the body of another after a cruel turn of fate and discovers that motives and morals may be contained within the agitated scrap of conscience and matter.
Now, there’s a decidedly silly bent to FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN if Fisher’s flick is taken at face value. And there are certain delights along such a path, especially when the recreated woman promised by the title takes hold and exacts her merited vengeance on a pile of patrician jerks. The closing scene is one for the books. But the deeper questions elbowing the heart are worth examining, specifically as they take the Baron’s quantifiable cool and allow it full access to the inscrutable dominion of the soul.