This week we kick off a small series of tribute episodes that we didn't manage to get to last year. Looking back at 2020, one of the more prominent film industry figures who passed on was David Prowse. He may not be a household name, and you may not even have recognized him if you passed him on the street. But he was certainly a big part of your life if you were ever a Star Wars fan, as his performance as Darth Vader captivated generations.
The champion bodybuilder from Bristol didn't do too much film work outside of that iconic franchise, but thankfully for us he put in a couple turns as Frankenstein's monster for the Hammer House of Horror in the 70's. Enjoy today's homage to the superior of the two roles.
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Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974)
Episode 242, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw
Todd: Hello and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd and I’m Craig. Well, hello 2021. We’re so happy. Happy that the new year has come, even though it’s just an arbitrary day based on the movements, planets and things in the sky, uh, doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re out of the woods yet, as far as things go.
But I think with the new year, there’s always kind of a new hope that, uh, things are going to get better. And so that’s one of these rituals we claim to, um, another one of the rituals we cling to here on two guys in a chainsaw is giving tribute to people who have recently passed away. Who have been a strong influence or act or director, or somehow connected to the horror film community.
And last year we of course saw a few more deaths than usual. And while we were able to get some tribute episodes in, we still found a few prominent actors and directors that we didn’t have a chance to squeeze in before the end of the year. So, uh, here we are at the beginning of the year and we thought, what better way following our new year’s episode than to look back at 2020.
And so, uh, One of the most famous stars, I guess you could say. Um, although maybe many people wouldn’t know him. If he, they walked by him down the street, uh, certainly has been a part of almost all of our childhoods and a huge part of pop culture is David Prouse. Uh, David Prouse is most famous for playing Darth Vader.
In star Wars, the original star Wars trilogy. He was a six foot, six inch tall bodybuilder from Bristol. Uh, he was born in 1935 and much like Arnold Schwartzenegger and Lou Ferrigno and, and folks like that, who actually, he did know personally. He got into filmmaking. Although he did that before they did one of his very first forays into film was with a company called hammer, a hammer.
You folks may know we’ve done. I think one hammer film, right Craig one or two. Yeah, only one that I can remember. Yeah. Many so far. Although there is a huge catalog for us to hit real quick about hammer films. It is a studio that came into being around the fifties and, uh, they, I think their very first big hit, although they did stuff besides horror, horror turned out to be their niche.
After the curse of Frankenstein came out in 1957. Have you seen the curse of Frankenstein? Craig by chance.
Craig: No, no, I haven’t. I’ve not seen many hammer films at all. I mean, these are the movies that my dad grew up on, but by the time I came around, you know, even he was kind of past those, but yeah, I feel like the hammer pictures and the universal monsters, you know, those.
We’re kind of our fathers and even grandfather’s generation. And I just haven’t delved very much into them.
Todd: Yeah, you’re right. Well, the, definitely the universal monsters are our grandfather’s generation and maybe our fathers as kids seeing them on TV or something like that. Although the universal monsters did go well into, I guess, that I guess, into the sixties, When our parents were, uh, were, were young, younger in high school.
And, uh, and they were all filmed in black and white. And one of the innovations that hammer did was basically they took the Frankenstein story and change it as much as possible so that they wouldn’t get sued by universal for making copycat. Uh, and released the curse of Frankenstein, starring Peter Cushing.
And what they did was they made Frankenstein into a Dick. They made a, and remember Frankenstein’s not the monster Frankenstein. Victor Von Frankenstein is the guy who makes. The monster scientist. Yeah. Yeah. The scientist and, you know, those that older picture with universal was sort of, um, misunderstood genius, you know, kind of brooding by himself in his lab.
But this guy that Peter Cushing plays as Baron Von Frankenstein is a sort of self-absorbed narcissistic, almost sociopathic character doesn’t really care about. Anyone is totally focused on his research and his science. And is really willing to do anything to get it. And basically has very few morals, if any.
Right. And so that was a pretty powerful twist on the story. And by filming it in color and also upping the Gore w adding the Gore, I would say, and then in later years, when the British sensors allowed it at throwing a lot of nudity in there, um, this became, you know, what made. Hammer films wildly successful, very similar in a way to what Roger Corman did in the States.
In fact, you could say Roger Corman copied from hammer, especially with his Edgar Allen Poe’s series that he did, uh, in the fifties and sixties hammer was known at the time was one of the most copied film studios ever is what people call it because they were so successful with this formula. And this formula for the longest time was running these Gothic.
Horror films, where you have these huge lavish sets. Most of them take place in castles and they’re period pieces, but with this sort of classic monster fare and this edge of having more Gore and being in color and fantastic actors in their stable, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee with the Dracula series ran for the longest time.
But by the time we come to this movie that we’ve chosen. Which is Frankenstein and the monster from hell. They were not doing too hot. This film came out in, uh, several years after it was filmed. It was filmed in 1972, I think, or 71, but didn’t really hit most theaters until 74 had a very short release wasn’t well received critically.
And it was actually not only the last. In the Frankenstein series that hammer did, but one of the last hammer films ever before the company kind of went under. So by the time they came to make this film, they weren’t doing too well money wise and they were struggling and trying to find some new formulas and new ways to make money in the States.
This was released in an, a double bill with a movie called captain Kronos vampire Hunter, which I would love to see sometime, which was their, their attempt at really kind of like creating a franchise. Again, uh, taking a different take with the vampire Hunter van Helsing kind of story. Um, but that also didn’t do too well either.
Although I hear it’s worth a watch that movie, I don’t know. We’ll, we’ll probably get to it at some point when we do our vampire series. Uh, but anyway, what I’m trying to say is, um, this is sort of the tail end of these, of these movies and. David Prouse approached hammer in the midst of them doing these Frankenstein movies and asked to play Frankenstein in one of their films, like walked into the offices and says, you guys need to have me as Frankenstein.
And, uh, for a while, they, they really weren’t listening to him. And had Frankenstein played by different Frankenstein’s monster. I’m sorry, played by different characters in all the other films. But then he got apart in casino Royale, which is kind of a James Bond spoof that came out a couple of years before this.
He had a brief stint as a Frankenstein’s monster in that, which was just a little cameo type role, but he was tall and imposing and had more of the universal style Flathead look. Um, they said, all right. Yeah, we’ll hire you. And they hired him for not this film. But the one that came before it and I’m bringing up because when I was looking at the tumor movies that we could watch, I was trying to debate between which of these two Frankenstein movies that David Prouse started with hammer.
We would see that we had our choice between this one and the one that came, uh, just a couple years before it called the horror of Frankenstein. And at first I thought the horror of Frankenstein sounded interesting because this was another one of their attempts to kind of reboot their series. They, uh, hired a, uh, an author who wrote the script and basically rewrote their original curse of Frankenstein story, but with a younger lead and a little more of like a sarcastic wit and a lot more humor.
So I watched it. I said, Craig, let’s do this one. Let’s watch the horror Frankenstein. And I found it and sent it to him. And I think I watched it before he did. Right. Did you?
Craig: Yeah, I didn’t get around
Todd: to it. Good. Okay. Because it’s not a bad movie for what it is, but as far as the tribute to David Prouse, we wouldn’t have been happy with it because he comes in, you know, about 20 minutes from the end as the monster.
And he really gets to do nothing but lumber around and kill people mindlessly. Uh, it’s just not a very good showcase of any bit of acting talent whatsoever, not his fault, you know, just the way that they had the monster in that movie. So, uh, I said quick, quick, quick, uh, this movie Frankenstein and the monster from hell is available on Amazon prime for free.
If you have Amazon prime. So we watched it and I’m so glad man, after watching the two of these films, I’m glad that at least this one is going to be a more fitting tribute to David Prouse. We’re going to be able to talk about him and his acting in this film a lot more and better than we would have from the horror of Frankenstein.
He’s the only actor by the way, to have. Played Frankenstein more than once in the hammer film, Frankenstein series. But then after this, I think a few years after this, he reunited with Peter Cushing and played his iconic role of Darth Vader. And that by far is of course the movie that people remember him for the most.
And, and he didn’t do much acting after that. Yeah. Right. God. So there’s my really long-winded intro.
Craig: Um, yeah, and, and of course I don’t eat when you told me that, uh, David Prouse had died and I was like, Oh, that’s sad. Who’s David pressed. I, you know, I wouldn’t have known him from anything, but of course our generation.
Star Wars. It was huge. And not that it’s not still, but not to the extent that it was in the eighties when we were growing up.
Todd: And yeah, it’s insane. Darth Vader
Craig: is one of the iconic villains of our time. And, you know, David Prouse, he didn’t voice the character. James Earl Jones of course, voice to the character did David Prouse.
Okay. So when, um, When Luke unmasks Vader right before he dies. Is that David brows?
Craig: don’t think it was, was it?
Todd: No. No.
Craig: So you never, I mean, you never even see the guy, but he’s huge and he’s imposing and. I don’t know, even know what to say about it. I think that it takes, and some might disagree with me. I don’t know.
You put a guy in a big, scary suit is a huge guy. Um, some people might think, you know, basically he was a hanger for the costume, but I don’t feel that way. I feel without his, without his physical presence, that character would have been something entirely different. And, uh, so he’s an icon in my mind. For that reason, this is presumably the only other thing I have seen him in as far as I know, um, I know that he was also famous in England for playing a superhero type.
Character that like went around the country, teaching kids about like roads safety
did that for decades and was very popular, uh, in that character. And I also know that there was a little bit of controversy with his role in star Wars. I don’t know if he was difficult to work with. Most, everything you read is rumors and there are conflicting stories on them. Either side that rumor has it, that he initially wasn’t pleased that he wasn’t going to be voicing the character and that he was vocally critical of that decision.
And George Lucas, you know, you can find quotes from him where he says that, uh, this guy, David Prouse just, um, burned too many bridges to continue on. I mean, I guess. He was in the whole trilogy, the original trilogy. Um, but I guess there was some tension there. Ultimately I think that Prouse was. You know, very gracious about his opportunity to play the role.
And he was very gracious with meeting with fans at conventions and star Wars events and stuff like that. And, and I think that he embraced it regardless of whatever tension there may have been while he was playing it. But, uh, that’s, you know, that’s what I know him from. And now of course I’ve seen this and, uh, you know, you asked me about.
What my experiences with hammer and I, I just, I haven’t seen many of them. I’m very much aware of them. I, I just it’s, you know, this, this isn’t a surprise to you. I’m just really not drawn to these older movies. That’s not to say that I don’t find them interesting from a historical perspective, it’s just not.
What I choose to watch for entertainment. Yeah. Um, so I was interested to watch this and it was an interesting movie. I wish that I knew more about the ones that proceeded it, because if the ones that preceded it are like this. I am not surprised that this was the last one, because I think that my biggest complaint and I, and I don’t have many complaints really about the movie, but my biggest complaint is that this is just the Frankenstein story.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In a mental institution,
Todd: that’s it? Yeah.
Craig: Instead of Igor being E uh, physically mutated. Kind of character, which I read the book at high school. I don’t even remember it. I think I remember it being boring, but, uh, you know, in the original old movies, black and white, you know, Igor’s this hunchback kind of character.
Instead of that, we’ve got a beautiful female mute who is
Todd: who surprisingly is, is covered up. Considerably. Well, I’m so surprised. I was shocked not to see cleavage in this. I mean, I’m telling you, if you had seen the movie before, there is so much sex, Frankenstein, Frankenstein is getting it on like every 15 minutes with his assistant in that movie who is a 16 year old servant at his house.
Yes. It’s Crow who used to bank his father. Yeah. Oh my gosh, that movie it is, I mean, there is cleavage throughout no nudity, surprisingly, no nudity for as much sex and, and innuendo is there is there is in it, but when she ever make a point of every time, this woman bends over, there’s just full on Cleveland, right there in front of the camera.
It’s so gratuitous.
Craig: Yeah, no, this movie is pretty modest in that respect.
Todd: It is surprising. There, there is
Craig: some Gore, some fun practical effects going on, but I don’t know. I I’ll be interested to hear what you. Thought about it and I’m not going to say I didn’t like it. It’s just, I don’t know. It, the story was so familiar.
It, it just didn’t do much. There, there wasn’t enough different and new and innovative about it. To really peak my interest. It was fine, but I’ve seen Frankenstein.
Todd: There was, there was nothing new and innovative about this 1974 film to really get you there, Craig away from the zone
Craig: in terms of the story.
Todd: Yeah, I know what you’re saying. It is. Yeah, you’re right. It is, it is almost a hash for hash kind of retelling of the Frankenstein story yet again, in a mental institution with these small tweaks. I, you know, I think also. Uh, obviously it’s a different time. People had a taste for these kinds of Gothic overdone productions, you know, for a while.
And they were cranking them out like crazy. And, uh, I’m, I’ve always been a big fan of these because a, like I told you before my dad was into this kind of stuff, not so much the whore, he was a lot more into the science fiction, but this kind of thing would pop up every now and then, especially on network television.
On Saturday afternoons, right after the cartoons were done, it would be exactly this kind of film. It would either be a hammer film, or a Roger Corman, Gothic film, you know, starring Vincent Price, like one of his ed ground poll ones. Uh, and so I think just for me growing up with that as one of my first introductions to horror, even at the time as a kid, I can’t say that really scared me.
They’re not really scary films. I would say. Some of them have some pretty creepy things going on. And, uh, some themes that are kind of messed up and, you know, the vampire ones, especially the doesn’t take much for vampires to be, you know, creepy and scary. But at the end of the day, you know, we’ve moved on from this kind of thing.
And part of the problem, really what, why this movie didn’t do so well as everybody in 1974 was losing a taste for this stuff. I mean, they’ve been done to death and, uh, you had nightmare. What was it a night of the living dead, I think was in 1968. So not, not long before this and Rosemary’s baby. The omen came after this.
So we were, we were leaving this older style of horror, the monster movies, and getting more into the cerebral kind of psychological horror. Oh, the Exorcist. Was a year or two before this. So, I mean, come on following the exorcism and stuff, who’s going to come out and watch, you know, Frankenstein once again, going through his lab and creating a monster.
Craig: Right. And I’m already second guessing my own criticism because. Somebody, you know, your son’s generation will look back at the movies that we grew up with. And they’ll say the same thing that I just said, you know, th they’ll they’ll look at Friday the 13th, one through 40 and say, well, they were all pretty much the same.
Well, they were. They were all pretty much the same. Um, so you know, it, it’s not even a fair criticism. I don’t want to get too down on it. It it’s, it’s got a charm to it. I did like the Gothic atmosphere. I liked the score. Um, the acting is, is perfectly fine.
Todd: We’ll be acting fantastic. I think
Craig: so. Yeah. Uh, Peter Cushing.
I don’t know. I just, I felt like his character was a little bit flat, but you know, his, his Victor Frankenstein characters a little bit flat and then. It was kind of, I don’t know the way that it starts as you’ve got this young scientist, Dr. Helder played by Shane Bryant, who looked like a young James Spader to me beginning.
He is doing experiments. He he’s following in Frankenstein’s footsteps. In fact, he’s using his. He’s using Frankenstein’s books, um, to do these experiments, trying to put together a man and he’s hired a grave Digger who gets caught by the police and then the PO you know, that leads them to him. Dr. Helder and he ends up being arrested and tried for sorcery.
Yeah. In fact,
Todd: we have a precedent to your case. I find that some years ago a certain pattern was sentenced by this court for a very similar offense. Baron who that is no concern of yours Frankenstein. You appear to have heard of him. I’m not surprised I have all his books, his lectures, the Academy to return to your case.
As I say, I have decided to extend my leniency to its limits. I only sentencing you to be committed to the state asylum for the criminally insane for a period of five years.
Craig: And as soon as he gets there, he meets the lame bumbling. Nasty director of the asylum. And he asks him about Frankenstein and the director says, Oh, Oh, well, yeah, he was, he was here, but he’s dead.
I’ll show you the grave. Like lame.
Todd: Well, you didn’t like. I mean, this is John Stratton, he’s he? He’s a iconic guy. He’s been in a thousand things and a very well-respected actor. I thought, you know, I mean, I thought that he played, I mean, I think the character was supposed to be over the top. He was for sure, but I thought he.
Played it really well. He just feels not just shady, also a little bumper bumbling and lecherous, all kinds of, at the same times, it’s a sweat furrowing from his brow every, the whole time he’s on screen. I kind of liked this. I mean, I like this character is, and I thought he was a likable person, but I, I really enjoyed this character on the screen.
I thought he was interestingly drawn, maybe more interesting, more interesting than Victor Frankenstein. I don’t know maybe, but. You don’t agree, huh?
Craig: Well, I mean, I don’t know the guy, I don’t know what else he’s been in. It was a little cartoonish, but so what, you know, it’s a Frankenstein movie, that’s fine.
And, and he’s meant to be villainous and being a little bit cartoonish as a villain is, you know, it’s par for the course. It didn’t bother me. And, and he’s, he’s not in the movie a lot. I mean, he’s a side character, but anyway, so the guards, um, I guess that. Uh, held her is acting a little bit too uppity for their liking.
So they take him and to humiliate him, I guess, um, hose them down with a fire hose. And it’s a long scene where he’s getting. Host down in front of these other inmates who, and the other inmates. It’s funny, anytime you see these types of movies with people in a mental institution, like they’re just so comically drawn.
Um, but it’s typical. It’s not bad. It’s just very. Typical. And that’s when Frankenstein shows up,
Todd: I would say in a movie like this, it’s kind of what I want to see anyway, you know, it’s like an old fashioned review, but did you find it funny that did they have modern style firehose? It was back then.
Craig: I don’t know.
Todd: What is it supposed to be? 17th century or something? They’re turning this like super high pressure fire hose on him. That they have in the basement of this asylum might
Craig: that’s powerful enough to bloody him. Yeah.
Todd: Scrape and scratch him up and give him welts and stuff. Yeah, it’s weird. But yeah, you’re right.
Frankenstein makes dramatic entrance
Craig: and he shows up and, and the, the deal is that Frankenstein and the doctor faked Frankenstein’s death. So that then Frankenstein could be like the asylum. Physician. And he goes by Dr. Victor. Now it’s suggested very early on that Frankenstein has some dirt on the director, which is how he was able to finagle this position, but whatever.
So now he’s the physician at the asylum and Peter Cushing is dressed to the nines, you know, like in coat tails and, you know, he looks great and he’s got a great. Presence also. And then it just goes from there.
Todd: I don’t know. We meet
Craig: Sarah. Who’s the beautiful moot
Todd: kind of walks out of the inmates, right?
Like at first I thought she was one of the inmates. Cause she’s watching this guy get hosed down. And then as soon as Frankenstein shows up, he calls her out from the crowd and says, Sarah, come over, come with me and vantage up his wounds. And I thought that’s strange. And then they go to the director’s office real quick and he knocks on the door.
Victor is actually going to report that those two guys did that to the, to Simon. And it’s interesting, like he hears noises in there when he opens the door, a girl comes out kind of holding her close. I mean, this guy’s like. Raping an inmate clearly. I mean, what a scumbag guy and, uh, and Frankenstein dresses him up and down for it.
So I thought it was an interesting dynamic between those two to kind of scummy people. But one of them has the pretense of respectability because he’s a serious scientist. And anyway, it’s kind of a means to an end for him anyway. Uh, and so they’re able to kind of, I help you, you help me, but even Frankenstein’s got his limits, I, you know what, I’m not sure what those limits are, but I guess it was, uh, these are his patients, right?
These are his patients. And so he’s kind of protective of his patients in a way, but he’s still going to use them to meet his. What he, what he wants to do his, his real work, which is his scientific work. And so Simon is actually kind of a protege of his, because he’s doing similar, he’s been doing similar work, why he got the, you know, the grave, robbery and stuff.
And so it’s a great privilege for him to be in the presence of this doctor. And so at first I thought this was this I thought was interesting. He’s very quick. And I thought convincingly. So to endear himself to the doctor, because the guy knows what he’s doing. I mean, he’s able to hold his own next to Frankenstein.
He manages to convince Frankenstein to let him be his assistant. I’ll let you walk around with me and let me show you the place. And so that’s when he takes him with him along with the mute Sarah, on his rounds. Through the asylum. And so we get to meet the different characters in there. Got it. I have says my own special patients.
I shall continue to treat them myself special. In what ways in that they interest me and see, shall I be allowed to see them
Craig: as Schneider, the
Todd: red disk indicates that the patient is dangerous. And I thought this was clever writing too. And as soon as he opens the door, it shows an empty cell, but the camera view through the, is through the window, outside the building, through, into the cell. And we see that the bars have been mangled and bent back.
And he says, uh, this guy in here, uh, what was his name? Schneider.
Craig: I don’t know. I don’t remember, but he was just like this super, super strong guy. And. That’s why the bars are bad. He was able to escape, but his cell was like 30 feet above the ground. So, um, he fell, supposedly do his death. Does he tells him he died first.
Todd: He says he fell down to his death and it was kind of his body, but his body wouldn’t quit. And so he gave him, the guy wanted to die. He gave him a whole bunch of sedatives drugs and whatever, and brought him back to the lab and he tells him. That it had took him four days or something before he finally passed on that and that his body is buried out in the cemetery, which to keep by the insane asylum, you don’t come to think of it.
There are a lot of movies we’ve seen where there’s a cemetery right next to an attached to, and somehow associated with this insane asylum. That’s pretty messed up. Is that a real historical? I
Craig: don’t know, but you’re right. We have seen it in several movies.
Todd: Oh, anyway. Yeah. So, uh, so that, that, that’s this guy’s story.
Um, he’s not there supposedly dead. And then he moves on to another room and we meet the professor. Who’s sitting there playing a violin and Simon has really taken with his song. What is this? I don’t think I’ve heard this piece. And he says, well, it’s it’s angel. I wrote it for him. Angel and everybody, all the inmates in the asylum are taken by Sarah and her nickname.
There is angel. And so it seems like she just has this magical quality about her. That no matter what’s going on, just her very presence is able to calm people down.
Craig: She’s the perfect woman. She’s sweet and pretty. And she doesn’t talk.
Todd: Just, I would agree with you, but my wife’s probably going to listen to this later.
So I don’t need her hearing that
Craig: I’m obviously just kidding, but like, that’s kind of how she’s presented. Like you, she doesn’t speak. She’s very beautiful and she’s just so helpful. Like
Craig: is the doctor’s assistant too, but she’s also obviously very compassionate with all of these other inmates, which, and so I.
Assume she was an inmate as well. And honestly, I’m really not certain. In the end, whether she wasn’t,
Todd: she kind of is because we learn later.
Craig: She, yeah, she has a backstory that we learned later.
Todd: That’s right. All right. I’ll save that for later. There’s a reason she’s mute. And apparently the doctor knows. How to fix that.
There’s apparently a way to fix that, but he’s not doing it anyway. Uh, so then there, the, the, so the professor’s written a song and he also has mathematical equations all over the walls and Simon understands music well, but he doesn’t understand math. He hates math and the guy says, Oh, if only you could understand what’s on the wall, you would see it’s just as beautiful.
It’s like poetry. It’s just as beautiful as the music I’m playing. And so we leave him and a wonder, why what’s wrong with this guy? And, uh, the only thing is the Dr. Frankenstein tells us, yeah. He had a couple of violent episodes right. In the past.
Craig: Yeah. And he says, um, next time you see the director, be sure to ask him about the time that the professor attacked him and why.
And that is significant later on, even though it’s just kind of thrown away here. Um, but yeah, so there’s the professor and he’s. I’m feeling really guilty about what I said about Sarah. She’s really,
Todd: there goes Craig backtracking on one of his jokes.
Craig: I know it was, it was a really importation joke.
Todd: This woman, well, we might as well say that.
I mean, the actress was a bond girl. He was a in live and let die. Roger. Moore’s very first bond girl and she was in some, Oh, Way sexier roles than this, uh, before this film, that’s why I’m surprised she didn’t do nudity here, but
Craig: well, and kindness, I don’t know, kind of surprises me that if she had that level of.
Uh, experience that she would take a mute role in a hammer picture?
Todd: Well, I mean, I think she did the bond role. Was it before this? I think it was after this Madeline Smith, by the way is her name. Um, and I think before this, she had was in a couple of other hammer movies. One of those was. The vampire lovers.
If I’m not mistaken, she was in theater of blood.
Craig: You know, she is mute. She is, she speaks, I think like one word or something at the end, but she’s on screen almost all the time. She’s a major character, but then this, the, the another guy that they meet is this guy, another. Very gentle sympathetic type older gentlemen, who, um, has all of these, uh, carvings in his room and held her, asks what’s wrong with him.
And he says, Oh, well, you know, he was a genius, skilled craftsman, but then his brain just atrophied.
And so he can’t do it anymore. And like,
Todd: it’s so funny too, because he’s got this little wooden carving. And as though this is the very first time he’s ever seen Zara. He hands it over to her and she takes it as like this special gift, like, come on. I, uh,
Craig: I that’s one of the things that I liked about this part of the movie, both of those characters, the professor and this guy, the craftsmen were very sympathetic.
I felt bad for them. You know, they were. Locked in these tiny concrete cells. And they clearly had a desire for human connection. They were particularly drawn to Sarah, not in a lecherous way at all. Um, and I felt that well,
Todd: I actually, I also was really impressed with the way Simon dealt with them. He was super professional, seemed also like very caring, really the same with Victor Frankenstein in this part of the movie where they all come across as genuinely caring about these patients.
And a competent and sort of professional, you know, it’s not like in a lot of these movies where it’s, you know, these guys are just beat around and mistreated by people don’t know what they’re doing.
Craig: Yeah. But see, I would say that even in the scenes where Frankenstein is very professional, but he seems to have a more academic interest in the patients than a human.
Todd: That’s true.
Craig: And I think that’s important and Simon’s here.
Todd: He did say Simon is more sympathetic. He’s not that far off. Right? I mean, he also seems to be a little more focused on academia, maybe a little less humanly. I don’t know.
Craig: Right. The thing is okay. So what it comes down to basically is eventually, you know, I don’t know if held her suspect something’s going on or what, but he’s kind of snooping around and he finds Frankenstein secret lab.
He finds Sarah coming out of it and. He goes in and he starts looking around and Sarah runs and gets Frankenstein. So Frankenstein’s there too. And basically
Todd: what he sees,
Craig: held or gets him to confess.
Todd: Yeah, that’s right. What he sees, what get some suspicious with somethings going on as he wakes up and.
Early one morning and he sees a, uh, down below they’re carrying a coffin by a grid, the graveyard to bury it. And somebody slips in the coffin spills open inside of it is the craftsman guy, but his hands have clearly been cut off and quickly. They close it up and go. And so he’s like, that’s weird. And then you’re right.
He explores and finds, um, Frank and Frankenstein’s furious. He walks in and, you know, actually I really liked the design of Frankenstein’s little secret room because. It’s like if you were to even stumble into it, in fact, when he first walks into it, it seems kind of like, Oh, it’s like a dining room, right?
There’s a little fireplace there. There’s a long table that you might eat at. There’s some scientific equipment on, you know, a couple of the tables, but nothing really big. And then some curtains on the other end the room. But that long looks like a, like a dinner table has straps hanging down below it that are like attached to the table that.
It took me a second to notice, actually it wasn’t until the second camera swipe around that I realized it had those straps hanging down. It was a nice touch. I thought it was kind of an interesting design. It wasn’t your standard, you know, you’d expect. Okay. The secret room is going to look like a fricking madman’s, you know, layer and it wasn’t that at all.
Or maybe they just didn’t have the budget for it. I don’t
Craig: know. Um, but it, it almost seems as though when Helder sees that body and sees that his hands are missing and Frankenstein had. Made a big deal about, Oh, have you ever looked at his hands? Have you ever seen hands like that? The hands like that?
Like he’d made a huge deal out of it. And when the often gets dropped, it’s Frankenstein that like sh you know, shakily like looks around and make sure it gets closed up again. I think that’s what makes him suspicious. And as it turns out he’s right, and basically Frankenstein just confesses to him and.
And shows him the monster, right?
Todd: Yeah. But you know what? I really liked this moment. I mean, when you talk about Peter Cushing’s performance being a little flat, I felt like there was a look, there was a very strong, intense exchange between the two of them before he finally relents and swings, open that curtain to show the monster.
But it was kind of like just his eyes went through about three different stages. And finally we’re like, Okay. If this is what you want, I’ll show you. And auntie auntie does and the monster. Okay. So this is where David Prouse comes in. So at least he comes in a little earlier in the film here where we’re almost an hour in of an hour and a half film.
And God, the cost, it was terrible.
Craig: Oh, it’s awful. He, it looks like it, it looks like a costume shop, Bigfoot, costumers.
Todd: And why, why is really, why is it covered in hair? I, I do not for the life of now understand why he kind of looks like a gorilla and it doesn’t move very well. And his face, it is like a mask to the point where his mouth doesn’t move at all when he talks.
And so he has to kind of grunt when he talks our, he only says like small words and he says them quietly and slowly. And that’s the only way it’s kind of convincing that this is a real mouth,
Craig: right. And there are little eye holes for his eyes. Initially. He doesn’t have eyes. Um, because as it turns out, the monster is that big guy who broke out of his cell.
Yup. Um, and, and Frankenstein says, well, you know, I sedated him. So they would think he was dead. But then I. Brought him back in or something. I don’t know. But when he had fallen out of the cell, he had landed on like a spiked fence or something. So his eyeballs had gotten. Popped out. And I guess his hands had been messed up or whatever, and they’ve already sewn the craftsman’s hands onto him, but Heller’s like, ah, it doesn’t look like he did a very good job and Frankenstein’s like, well, I’m still a brilliant surgeon in my mind, but, and he pulls his gloves off and his hands are all burned.
I don’t know if that’s, if there’s a backstory there from a previous entry in the series.
Todd: I don’t know.
Craig: Um, but he can’t. He says he can’t do that kind of delicate work. So he’s just been, Sarah’s been doing it under his instruction, but uh, held her, fixes it. He fixes the hands. Um, and now he’s going to be the new guy and.
They need the, I guess he already has some eyeballs,
Todd: right? I mean, well, you mean he fixes the monsters hands.
Craig: Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. I’m sorry. Yes, yes,
Todd: yes. He fixes the Monster’s hands. And in this scene where he fixes the Monster’s hands, I think this is where he first proves himself, right? Like, yeah, I can do this.
I don’t think it was in the version that we saw, but there is a deleted bit from this scene that sometimes shows up where Peter Cushing’s character Frankenstein. Bites down on one of the veins in his arm to kind of clamp it while Simon does his surgery. And apparently that was a little too gross for some people I read about that.
Craig: And that’s funny because I read about it and then I. Was looking for it in the movie and then I forgot all about it. It didn’t happen. I also read that supposedly it was human blood that they were using for those effects.
Todd: That’s weird. I mean, if that’s the rule. Oh my gosh. Why? What come on. Why would you do that?
Yeah. Super girl. Well, the movie is gory for its time. From now, it’s kind of cute to think that people thought this was really gory, but it’s still gory. I mean, there’s still some blood gushing and some open wounds and severed arms and hands, and my wife would be grossed out at it. She doesn’t like that kind of stuff.
Yeah. W w the eyeballs kind of harken back to the beginning, right? Because when he was in his lab, when Simon was in his little makeshift lab, kind of doing his own experiments, he had a whole jar full of eyeballs. I feel like
Craig: the crux of the conflict in the movie is that Simon Helder admires Dr.
Frankenstein and wants to emulate and continue his work. But in working with him, he finds him to be unethical. And he has a problem with that because as it turns out, You know, Frankenstein’s special patients. He’s basically farming them. You know, like he’s, he’s farming the different parts that he wants.
And it’s a little bit vague as to whether or not he is actually killing these people for their parts, or if he’s just setting up scenarios for them to die. So he can get their parts because, um, after the hands and the eyes. And I think, like I said, I think they just had eyes on hand
Todd: do the guy’s job.
Craig: I don’t remember them taking.
Yeah. They didn’t take them from anybody, but after that he’s like no
Todd: needs is another brain preferably the brain of a genius. Well, you won’t find one here, except of course the professors. But he seems perfectly fit. You could live for another 10 years more. He could indeed you wouldn’t kill it. You’ll think I would do that.
Craig: And then the very next scene, a guard finds the professor hung by his own violin strings. And when. That’s reported to Frankenstein in Simon’s presence. Frankenstein’s like, Oh, well I guess the brain problems fix
Todd: them very nonchalantly, right to nonchalantly. But later Simon finds a note. Um, he, the, the violin that he played in his, in it’s sitting there in a violin case in Frankenstein’s lab, and there’s some papers crumpled up kind of inside the case.
And he pulls out one of them and he opens it up and looks at it. And it is. His chart, I guess, or whatever his records and Frankenstein had written at the bottom of it in curable. And so Simon approaches him and said, did you just leave this out for him to see, you know, to cause him to do this and frankincense a little cagey about it, but finally he, more or less admits to it.
Craig: Well, and that’s the thing like Simon was doing these things too, but he was taking dead bodies from the cemetery. He wasn’t harvesting things from life people, and he seems to be bothered by that. Not bothered enough to not continue on with it. At this point, they do the brain transplant, which is whole
Todd: brain transplant is awesome.
Craig: Oh brain transplants.
Todd: Yeah. Well the whole idea of brain transplants is silly, but I mean, this seed was great. I mean, they just linger. They take every step, remember eyes without a face. Do you remember that one? Yeah. Where we saw the face removal in great detail. Yes, transplant surgery. This was kind of the same.
I was thinking about that where they, you know, they cut through the skull and the blood’s coming down and, you know, dabbing that away. And then they saw the skull and then they take the skull cap off and the brain is there. And the doctor’s like, I mean, what does this take? 10 minutes. He’s holding the brain.
He’s like now separate right here. And now sever these nerves over here. And the whole time, just this brain with Frankenstein’s hand on his. Front and center in all of its gory detail up close in the middle of the screen, it
Craig: kind of looked like macaroni and cheese.
Todd: It didn’t make you hungry.
Craig: It didn’t look real, but it looked like it was, it was fun affair and it was bloody and gory and, you know, I don’t know.
I liked it. I did, I enjoyed it a lot, but I mean, it’s just so silly, you know, like they’re wearing these big, like auto mechanic, rubber gloves and just, you know, handling the brain and like dropping it into a little VAT of like bubbling water
Todd: and it’s out, you know, kind of thing.
Craig: Frankenstein. We’ll just like, pick it up and like admire it.
And he’s like, Oh, this is, and then they, they do end up putting it in the monster. Yeah,
Todd: that was great too. Cause cause it’s, it’s got again, then putting it into the monster and then the camera pans down to a big bowl that they have at the bottom where they’re throwing their. Bloody rags into, and all you see is that bowl and Frankenstein’s feet.
And then he tosses a bloody rag down there. And then the brain just like the, the old brain from the monster, just flops down in there, like they don’t, and then he screwed us over it,
Craig: like. Kick like frustratedly like kicks it away, like stomps on and
Todd: kicks it away. Yeah. Kicks it away. It’s so funny.
Craig: But that’s when the movie, I actually got more interesting to me because it works.
I mean, it’s ridiculous, you know, the, they say he’s going to wake up in 10 days, but really he wakes up in 10 seconds and he’s fully conscious and aware and. Prouse under all of this latex, the really kind of the only thing that you can see of him aside from his hulking body is his eyes. And he does a good job of acting with his eyes when the monster wakes up, because he’s had the brain transplant.
Now he is the professor in this big. Disgusting body. And he looks, and he sees his hairy torso and he sees that his hands aren’t his hands and he feels his face. He gets up and he looks in the mirror and he’s obviously distraught as you would be. And I felt bad for him. And that’s something that I liked about the movie was that it did play much like the book where the monster.
Is a victim in all of this. Um, didn’t ask for this, didn’t want this. And, and really is just being used as literally as a science experiment. And, uh,
Todd: yeah, it’s really hammered home because he doesn’t get up and smash the lab. But, you know, apart in, in anger, he sits there with his head in his hands, crying and saying.
Y Y and then Frankenstein walks up. Who
You’ve done it. This young man.
And who is this?
Got it. You’ve made it work. You’ve done it.
Craig: We did it.
Todd: The three of us. You did Byron Frankenstein.
Craig: No one
Todd: else. No one has ever done this before. No one in this world now, perhaps they’ll accept and understand what I’m trying to achieve. Of course they will. Let’s drink to that. They’re having this whole conversation, 12 feet away from the monster.
Well, he’s far in the background with his head in his hands and congratulating and patting each other on the back, and then they walk out of the room and just leave him there. Right. It’s so sad. And then they begin training them like, Oh, you’re going to teach you, you know, I guess things just aren’t quite working right.
A well for him. So he’s kind of, kind of learned things over again, even like math and stuff. And so, uh, you know, that he’s pushing them to learn all this stuff and to write all, all these math equations and the monster just looks at him and says, eat I’m hungry. And he’s like, I’ll feed you later. And he smashes the Blackboard and.
Frankenstein’s like, okay, well maybe we can get you some food now. Then Victor says that he’s failed. He says what’s happening is the opposite of what I thought instead of the brain learning to control the body, the body’s rejecting the brain. And so his brains is just deteriorating and eventually it’s going to be nothing in this whole experiment is lost.
That’s okay. But there is a solution. Oh, there isn’t. Solution. So in the next scene, Sarah is asleep next to the monster and Simon wakes her up, comes in and wakes her up with a kiss to the forehead and the Monster’s eyes. He’s laying down to the monster, his, but his eyes happen to be open and he sees this happen and he gets.
Angry Simon ushers Sarah out of the room. And then there’s this great little fight scene with a great jump scare, where Simon, as soon as Simon’s ushered Sarah out of the room, he throws a giant bottle across the room, Adam, with shatters on his wallet. I jumped and then he picks up this broken bottle and is approaching Simon with it, trying to stab him.
Finally, the monster gets subdued by Frankenstein in this amazing. Amazing action. Movie sequence where 59 year old Peter cushioning leaps up upon the table, jumps onto the back of this monster and puts a coat over his head and wrestles him to the ground. He’s got some chloroform or something in the coat that he uses to put them out.
But. Oh, my gosh, man, this guy jumping onto a six foot six, uh, David Prouse and wrestling him to the ground. I was like, Oh, be careful. He looks so frail.
Craig: Well, I mean, Peter Cushing is just dwarfed by this guy. I mean, it makes him look like a tiny, tiny little person, but yeah, they get him subdued again and Frankenstein tells the whole, you know, the body is taking over the brain or whatever, and he’s like, But, you know, the brain and the body can be regenerated or something.
And Simon’s like, Oh really? How? And he’s like, well, if we mate him and Simon, it’s like what?
Todd: He’s like, yeah. If
Craig: we mate him then like his. Brain and body will be passed on and to a new form and blah, blah, blah. And Simon’s like made him with who? And he’s like, well, Sarah,
Todd: I know first you’re going, Oh my God, this is disgusting, but it gets worse
Craig: at this point.
We already know that Frankenstein is. Is unhinged and completely unethical, but this is just what seals the deal. And I think it’s what seals the deal for assignment two. Like he doesn’t vocally object too much, but it’s obvious that he’s not going to allow this to happen. I think that he says. I’m going to tell the prison director and that’s where we get Sarah’s backstory.
It turns out that the prison director is Sarah’s dad and that he had tried to rape her, which is the trauma that caused her to be mute. And I like, first of all, that’s a disgusting backstory. And secondly, why on earth would she stay there and work in the asylum? For her rapey dad, like,
Todd: yeah. Yeah. That doesn’t ring true.
Craig: Yes. Frankenstein is protecting her or something. I who using her really is more like it, but nonetheless, but held her assignment is going to put an into it, you know, he’s not going to let it happen. So he poisons the monster. And then he goes to stab the monster, but Sarah shows up and screams. They lock him in the lab and she tells him, she tells Simon to go get help.
And so he goes off, but then Frankenstein returns he’s been out on an errand or something. And he walks in the lab and we see the monster kind of like rear up and roar or something, but then it cuts away. So we don’t really know what happened to Frankenstein. And then we see the monster outside digging up a grave.
It turns out that he’s digging up. His body, the professor’s body. I don’t know why just to see it. I guess that there’s chaos at the asylum. All of the inmates are, you know, running around and the monster is, you know, once he’s dug up his grave, then he breaks in and he kills the director, which good. That guy was an asshole.
Todd: that’s pretty gory scene.
Craig: Yeah. He stabs him or cuts. He cuts his throat and then the guards. Find the monster and shoot him. And this is in front of all of the inmates and the monster reaches out a hand to Sarah. And I, I don’t remember if he says help or if he just reaches out and she goes to reach out to him too.
But the inmates, somebody in the background, I don’t know if it was one of the guards or one of the other inmates, somebody in the background screams, he’s gonna kill her. And so all of the inmates attack him and literally tear him.
Todd: Yeah. There’s throwing bits of them everywhere. They all kind of back away and he’s just there in a big kind of gory mess.
Craig: Yeah. And ultimately it’s sad. Again, he didn’t ask for this. Yes. He’s committed some violent acts, but mostly either in self-defense or just for being angry for the way that he’s being treated. I felt bad for him. Frankenstein runs in and, and we see that. There must’ve been a tussle with him in the monster because he’s kind of injured, but he’s okay.
And he sends all the patients back to their rooms and says, it’s all over now. You know, everybody go back to your rooms, whatever. And then the last scene is just Frankenstein and held her in the lab and Frankenstein keeps talking about, Oh yeah, well that poor, guy’s probably better off getting killed.
Being dead is the best thing that could have happened to him. But next time. We’ll do it different next time will be better and held her is like next time. And he’s like, Oh yeah, next time.
Craig: that’s, that’s, that’s really where the movie ends.
Craig: It’s just over with Frankenstein, obviously. Still crazy planning on doing this again.
How many times has he done this and failed at this point? Like he even says at one point when the monster wakes up, he’s like, Oh, I haven’t felt this good since the first time. Oh, that was so long ago. Like.
Craig: get a new hobby,
Todd: right? Science is all about experimentation Craig and a consistency and a, you have to fail, fail so many times before you can finally succeed.
So, uh, he’s actually being a very good scientist in this way. Just, um, if he had some morals and had a different, some, you don’t know, study a cure for cancer or something like that, and not this, it would have been better.
Craig: So do you know anything about. Frankenstein versus Sherlock Holmes or vice-versa I don’t remember which one it was.
Todd: No, but that sounds awesome. What is this?
Craig: It’s I just saw when I was looking at IMD B and I was looking at what the actors have been in Shane Bryant, who plays Dr. Helder reprises, the role of Dr. Helder in Frankenstein versus Sherlock Holmes again, or vice versa. And it was slated to come out in 2016. It looks like it was filmed.
I think there may even be a trailer,
Todd: no way.
Craig: I don’t think
Todd: it ever came out. It says, w I’m looking it up right now. Sherlock Holmes versus Frankenstein says it’s in development. I don’t know. Yeah, no, I don’t know. I don’t know anything about that. All I know is this was the last one. Not only was this, the last Frankenstein movie that hammer did, but, uh, also, uh, Terence Fisher, the guy who directed it directed like 50 or 60 movies for hammer.
And this was his very last, before he died. Um, not long after this movie, I think it was like 80, 81, something like that. And then the franchise kind of died in hammer, kind of fell through. You might remember. They’d also tried to do something wacky with their vampire series and, and team up with the Shaw brothers.
And they did that seven golden vampires. Remember that one? Oh yeah, we did that one. That was a fun. I mean, it was fun to talk about it’s kind of a goofball musi, but yeah. Um, they tried really, really hard, but none of that really succeeded. And so, uh, that all kind of came to a close and we didn’t get to see Peter Cushing plank.
Frankenstein. I’ve only seen the curse of Frankenstein and that was a long time ago. And then of course, the movie before this, that didn’t have Peter Cushing in it. Yeah. I would kind of be interested in seeing what the other sequels were like, at least one or two others. Just to see, like you said, it can’t be just the same story over and over again.
I mean, they must have done some other stuff with it. So I’m curious to see what that was. But I’ll never convince you to sit down and watch another one.
It’s okay. Okay. We can go to the horror vampire ones. Uh, we can go to the hammer anthologies, which are quite good. We can do a lot of hammer stuff that is going to make you roll your eyes. Uh,
Craig: I, uh, I didn’t love this movie, you know, I, it, it pretty much was what I expected it to be, and that’s fine. But if I had to, you know, identify a favorite part, it would be Proust.
Um, I think that. It was a pretty captivating performance in some small moments. And I really did feel sympathy for the monster. I felt bad for him. I felt ultimately he was the victim in this whole thing. It’s not like there were any kind of major differences, but he played it differently. Before. And after the brain transplant, before the brain transplant, he was just kind of brutish.
Um, and then after he was sad and, and a little bit softer now, there were moments where he exploded and they, they had said the professor had. Violent tendencies. They just didn’t come out very often. Um, and so it was in keeping with his character that he would have these, you know, blow ups or whatever. Um, but there was some subtlety in the performance and even under all that makeup and either under that hideous mask, just even in his eyes, there was some subtlety to his performance.
And, uh, I enjoyed that. I enjoyed his performance, the movie, I could take her leave, but I’m glad that I saw it. For
Todd: his performance. Oh yeah. I mean, as much nuance as you can get under that heavy costume with that horrible mask and everything and the script you’re right. I, this was the only part of the movie for me that I felt any real emotion and the rest of it was kind of no, you know, it’s just, it’s not bad.
It’s just a story. And it’s well told by. A lot of, you know, talented actors and beautiful sets and things like that. But, and it’s got its moments of thematic horror as well as some gruesomeness to it as well. You know, it’s just got a little bit of everything in there. And I think probably for the time, it was a lot more shocking than it is for us today.
Otherwise it’s kind of a slow burn. I mean, you’ve got to kind of be in the mood for a lot more drama than you’re going to get horror in a movie as well as many of the films like this, to be honest. So. Yeah, but, but David Prouse is a standout in this whole thing. Along with Peter Cushing, I really liked Peter Cushing.
And then, you know, as fate would have it, the two of them would walk right off this set and walk straight into star Wars. And, uh, that would be the thing that, uh, that puts him on the map. And, uh, Good for him. Good for him. Well, thank you so much for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed this, please share with a friend.
We have a few more episodes coming up, or we’re going to be paying tributes to a couple other industry. People that we lost last year, stay tuned for that. You can find us online and leave us a note and a comment somewhere on our Facebook page or on our website, just Google two guys and a chainsaw saying you ought to be able to find it.
Until next time. I’m Todd and I’m Craig with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.
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