THE HELL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1960) Reviews and overview



The Hell of Frankenstein – original title: Orlak: infierno de Frankenstein (“Orlak: Hell of Frankenstein”) – is a 1960 Mexican horror feature film written, produced and directed by Rafael Baledón (Swamp of the Lost Souls; The Curse of the Crying Woman) from a screenplay adaptation by Alfredo Ruanova (Bring Me the Vampire; Genie of DarknessSatanás de todos los horrores) and Carlos Enrique Taboada (The Witch’s MirrorNostradamus y el destructor de monstruos; Even the Wind is Afraid). Publicity material states the title as Orlak – El Infierno de Frankenstein.

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The film stars Armando Calvo, Rosa de Castilla, Irma Dorantes, Andrés Soler (as Professor Frankenstein), Pedro de Aguillón, David Reynoso, Carlos Ancira, Antonio Raxel, Carlos Nieto, Julián de Meriche, Joaquín Cordero (as Jaime Rojas/Orlak). 

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Jaime Rojas (Joaquín Cordero), a suspected murderer, is completing his prison sentence for a minor crime when he aids Professor Frankenstein (Andrés Soler) in escaping from prison. The scientist creates an artificial man made from assorted body parts, which Rojas uses to avenge himself against the officials and his former partners. Meanwhile, Frankenstein is unaware of the criminal acts his killer automaton, wearing a black sombrero and cape, is carrying out…

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Despite promotional material depicting Frankenstein’s creation as being disfigured, until the climax, Joaquín Cordero is merely impassive-looking and his nefarious deeds more criminal than horrific. This betrays the film’s original form as a four-part serial and perhaps explains the pseudo-scientific/western approach, as opposed to the full-blown gothic of the best Mexican horror such as Baledón’s impressive The Curse of the Crying Woman. The result is reasonably diverting, with a lively and fiery ending but, aside for Mexican horror completists, this is hardly required viewing.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

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Other reviews:

“Frankenstein’s laboratory clearly shows the limitations imposed by the shoestring budget and whatever interest the picture has is probably due to Taboada and Ruanova’s uncanny ability to fill their labyrinthine plots with invention and keep things going at breakneck speed…” Phil Hardy (editor), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

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” …Baledon cleverly reverted at appropriate times to the minimalist approach of certain German filmmakers of the silent era, not in duplicating expressionistic poses and design, but in evoking an expressionistic sense of positioning and drama; at other times, he created a visual delight, part expressionistic, part surrealistic, as when filming about a wedge-shaped building whose center juts toward the audience in the middle of the screen.” Mirek Lipinski, Vampiros and Monstruos

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