Another Cushing / Lee epic here. With the focus firmly on the true monster being Frankenstein himself this film is great fun to watch and brilliantly produced. With the fixed image of Karloffs Monster in most peoples minds you do wonder how Hammer could pull off a better image. The answer is “with aplomb”. Lee as the monster is superb and truly hideous. He looks just as you would expect a stitched cadaver to look and the changes in his look throughout the film are brilliantly done, particularly with the shaven head for brain surgery.
One concern with the film is the lack of emotional focus. there is not really a pivot for your fears as Frankenstein is essentially very evil and the monster has none of the sympathetic undertones seen in the Universal production.
I guess the characters of Elizabeth and Paul are intended to fill this however there is never any real feeling that Paul is ever in danger and Elizabeth is reasonably vacuous (despite her sterling choice of frocks!).
The true masterstroke is the ending where you are left wondering if the monster itself even ever existed… is is Frankenstein simply a madman on his way to his destiny?