Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed – UK, 1969

‘More monstrous than the monsters he created!’

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed is a 1969 British science fiction horror feature film in which the Baron blackmails a young medical assistant and his betrothed to kidnap the next victim, the mentally unstable Doctor Brandt.

Directed by Terence Fisher from a screenplay written by assistant director Bert Batt, based on a story by producer Anthony Nelson Keys, the Hammer production stars Peter Cushing, Veronica Carlson, Freddie Jones and Simon Ward.

Reviews:

“This was director Terence Fisher’s favorite film, and his pacing and composition have rarely been better. Jones (the nasty showman in The Elephant Man) is great at communicating the disorientation and helpless agony of his condition…” Robert Firsching, All Movie

FMBD has just enough blood, viscera and surgical ickiness to earn its place in the Frankenstein canon, but the film’s true horror comes not from Victor Frankenstein’s experiments, but from his unrelenting cruelty and the sense of entitlement he brings to it.” Michael Reuben, Blu-ray.com

“Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed is one of the best of the Hammer Frankenstein films and certainly one of the best films they ever made. It would be unfair to lavish all of the praise upon Cushing’s performance as Frankenstein since the script, the direction and the supporting players are all as equally on top of their game.” Andrew Smith, Daily Dead

“The Baron here also takes on God-like dimensions like never before. In Fisher’s series the immoral nature of the Baron’s attempts to usurp the place of God was always clear; here Frankenstein’s spiral of descent into degeneracy, tyranny and blasphemy is complete..” David L Rattigan, Dictionary of Hammer Horror

” …this film gives Cushing his all-time best genre performance. From his opening scenes as a rubber-masked assassin to the fiery “cat and mouse” climax, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed is a gothic masterpiece and a must-see/must-own title for any serious horror film fan.” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In

” …the most spirited Hammer horror in some time. The crudities still remain, of course, but the talk of transplants and drugs seem to have injected new life into the continuing story of Baron Frankenstein.” Monthly Film Bulletin, July 1969

” …a good-enough example of its low-key type, with artwork rather better than usual (less obvious backcloths, etc.) a minimum of artless dialogue, good lensing by Arthur Grant and a solid all round cast.” Variety, 11 June 1969

“Cushing is splendid as always as the diabolical doctor, but the rest of the supporting cast pales in comparison. It also doesn’t help when his creature is a sympathetic stumblebum. While this portrayal is closer to what Mary Shelley originally intended, what’s the use when he’s kept on the operating table for 4/5 of the film?” Mitch Lovell, The Video Vacuum

Cast and characters:

  • Peter Cushing … Baron Frankenstein
  • Veronica Carlson … Anna Spengler
  • Freddie Jones … Professor Richter
  • Simon Ward … Karl
  • Thorley Walters … Inspector Frisch
  • Maxine Audley … Ella Brandt
  • George Pravda … Doctor Brandt
  • Geoffrey Bayldon … Police Doctor
  • Colette O’Neil … Mad Woman
  • Frank Middlemass … Guest – Plumber
  • George Belbin … Guest – Playing chess
  • Norman Shelley … Guest – Smoking pipe
  • Michael Gover … Guest – Reading newspaper
  • Peter Copley … Principal
  • Jim Collier … Dr. Heidecke
  • Allan Surtees … Police Sergeant
  • Windsor Davies … Police Sergeant

Filming locations: [13th January 1969 – 26nd February 1969]

EMI Studios, Elstree, Hertfordshire, England
Stanmore Hall, Wood Lane, Stanmore, Middlesex, England
Tykes Water Lake, Aldenham Country Park, Hertfordshire, England (countryside horse and carriage riding scenes)

Technical details:

  • 98 minutes
  • Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
  • Technicolor
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85: 1

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