Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 09/07/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN has the distinction of being the first Hammer production to achieve notoriety and popularity. The initial entry in the several sumptiously produced, overly melodramatic entries, this horror flick finds Peter Cushing as the dedicated if somewhat demented scientist who wants to create his own being. The luscious Hazel Court (Masque of the Red Death) plays Elizabeth, Frankenstein's naive fiancee and veteran character actor Robert Urquhart is the stalwart friend Paul. Future Dracula himself Christopher Lee steps in as the monster, but he's vastly underused and not all that frightening. We've become so immune to true horror during the last fifty years that a film like CURSE OF FRANKESTEIN seems hopelessly dull. But it's the production values and the sincerity of the actors that have made these Hammer movies such classics.
The second film, TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA, made in 1970 is reputedly one of Lee's least favorite Dracula films. Playing out like a kind of drawing room mystery, it's tale of revenge overshadows the terror of its vampire roots and leaves Lee with little to do but appear menacing from time to time. Still, with its vibrant colors and sincere cast, TASTE is far better than many of the 2000 vampire sagas. Overall, if you are a fan of those unique Hammer films of the 50s through the 70s, you'll want this in your collection. The transfer is quite good."
A good hammer house double feature
P. Knese | Dayton, Ohio United States | 09/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good package of the curse of frankenstein and taste the blood of dracula they are both widescreen the way i like them too bad it didn't include extras the one i got is a 2 sided disc wish they would just make them like all the dracula's in order on double discs and all the frankensteins in order and all widescreen with extras would be nice if they remixed them with dolby surround good movies for haloween or a hammer collector.price was reasonable too."
Mis-matched Double Feature of Hammer Horror films.
James Simpson | USA | 06/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one weird pairing. One film is the movie that jump started Hammer's era of Horror classics. It's a first rate film and one of the most important genre films ever made. The second is a end of the road sequel to it's Dracula series, that while not bad, is not the best example of the studio either. It seems odd that the company didn't feel fit to pair this with "Horror of Dracula"(1958), an excellent film and a good fit for "Curse of Frankenstein"(1957), but curiously, they did not.
Still, this price is so killer and if you do not own these films it's not the worst set on DVD.
Curse of Frankenstein(1957) is a good Horror movie. Originally planned as a remake of the James Whale 1931 classic with Boris Karloff, this instead was transformed into a hodge podge of ideas from the Whale film and Shelly's novel.
Frankenstein is depicted as less neurotic and more ego-maniacal, Peter Cushing giving a brilliant performance in the role. His Frankenstein is more than just misguided. Frankenstein is ruthless in his endeavors to seek his goal in creating life and is the true Monster of the film.
He shuns all reason including his mentor, Paul(Robert Urquhart) and his fiance(Hazel Court) and creates a Monster(Christopher Lee). This Monster actually has a geniuse's brain, but after being damaged, creates a homicidal Monster with a mind bent on destruction if little else.
Lee's Monster is practically the antithesis of the Karloff Monster. Where Karloff's Creature was more human than human, Lee's is an animal. The Monster arises sympathy but is still terrifying and the make up by Phil Leakey is quite creepy. Lee's Monster is second fiddle in the story but his characterization is one of the characters most memorable and one of the actor's most underrated performances.
The supporting cast act well including Urquhart as the intense mentor and friend of Cushing's mad doctor, who puts the moves on Victor's fiance. Hazel Court is beautiful as usual and quite likeable. She dosen't have alot to do but than again her character is even abandoned by Peter Cushing, which tells us how dedicated he must be to his project. Valerie Gaunt is memorable as Justine, Frankenstein's French maid whom Victor has an affair with and meets a nasty end when she threatens blackmail later on. She also was quite noticeable as the busty vampire who Christopher Lee tosses about in "Horror of Dracula(1958)".
Terence Fisher directs this film with a sure hand, using the vibrant Technicolor to it's full, gory use emphasing on sex and violence themes in a way that future filmmakers will imitate but hardly compare. It's difficult to believe that a film this beautiful is actually a VERY low budget piece, but a B-movie it was and it made a fortune and set a standard for the Modern Horror film. In many ways, this film may represent the first "real" Modern Horror film. This led to five sequels and a remake in 1970(Horror of Frankenstein) as well as jump starting Hammer's Horror wave with great follow ups including Horror of Dracula(1958), which the second film is the fourth sequel to.
Taste the Blood of Dracula(1969) is a decent sequel with a bizarre plot but very little actual connection to Bram Stoker or Dracula for that matter. The film follows the conclusion of the previous film,"Dracula has Risen from the Grave(1968)", where Christopher Lee's Count was impaled on a large golden cross. A merchant views the death and collects Dracula's cloak and blood and keeps them. Years later,a group of well to do older men, getting tired with there usual brothel hang outs go and meet the ultra weird, Ralph Bates character and partake ina satanti mass! Well, the old gentlemen get cold feet and murder Bates, wherein Lee is ressurected to say some ridiculous lines like "They have destroyed my servant. They will be destroyed!". I'm not surprised that Lee wanted to ditch these films with dialouge like that!
However, the real story is actually about old men's children and there repression which manifests itself through Dracula's influence who uses the teens to turn on there parents and murder them. Some of these aspects work very well. Geoffrey Keen and John Carson are very good in there roles as the older men,but it's Peter Sallis who steals the show as the brow beaten, anguished father who meets a rather ironic demise.
The young actors are all pretty good in this film. Anthony Corlan is a better than average juvenile lead and all the actresses are typical of Hammer, lovely and bosomy. It should be noted that this film's strongest point is probally it's libido. Quite a bit of sexuality in this one, especially since this is an uncut print that includes some brief nudity and alot of titilation in the brothel scenes. This would be a foretelling of things to follow in Hammer films. "The Vampire Lovers(1970)" made the following year, stresses this with an emphasis on full frontal female nudity and lesbianism.
This sequel is no classic, but is highly enjoyable and does happen to sport a truly awesome climax with Lee meeting another over the top demise by the hand of god. It's an obvious must see for Hammer and Dracula fans, but no where as essential as the Frankenstein film.
Both films are presented in letter box prints with cleaned up picture and sound, but little extras save for Trailers. Kind of a shame there's nothing more, but still, hard to complain.
This is a great buy and if your a Horror fan, you could do alot worse. Add another Hammer film or two and this dosen't make a bad introduction to this essential Horror staple."