Frankenstein (1984)

10/24/2015 13:40

Film: Frankenstein

Year: 1984

Director: James Ormerod

Writer: Victor Gialanella

Starring: Robert Powell, David Warner and Carrie Fisher



This film begins with a man being executed by hanging. We do not see his face, just the bottom of the scaffold and his feet appearing.

The film then shifts to a man riding in a carriage. He is played by Michael Cochrane. He asks for directions, but states that where he is going he has been to before.

We then see our main character, Victor Frankenstein played by Robert Powell. He meets with some gravediggers and they report about the execution. He tells them that he cannot use him, but they state the knot was not tied correctly so he was strangled instead of his neck breaking. Powell then agrees to use it.

Cochrane arrives at Castle Frankenstein where he is met by Carrie Fisher. She is engaged to be married to Powell, but we learn that he is completely absorbed into his work at this time. Powell then comes down to meet him and assures Fisher that he will not do any of his work this night, at least until after dinner. Cochrane also meets with Powell’s younger brother, played by Graham McGrath.

Powell, Cochrane and Fisher all have dinner together with Powell’s father, played by Terence Alexander. At dinner we learn that Cochrane will be staying about a week or so. He also has been officially trained to be a surgeon. Powell seems very interested in this.

That night a storm is approaching and Powell leaves dinner a little bit early. The body arrives and he takes it to his laboratory. Cochrane makes his way to the door and knocks. Powell lets him in and tells him what he is working on. He wants Cochrane’s help. He is leery about this at first, but does help put the brain inside of the dead criminal.

They use lightning to help their power source. They do get some movement from the creature, but it fails. Powell is dejected, but states he will try again. Cochrane tells him that he should see it as a sign to stop. A bolt hits directly and power surge goes through the creature. This time, it awakens. He is burned on most of his face and it is played by David Warner. He flees the castle.

Warner then begins to wander the countryside. He encounters a couple of men, who flee from the sight of him. One of them breaks a bottle and uses it as a weapon, cutting Warner’s cheek. Warner then meets with an old, blind man played by John Gielgud. Warner ends up staying there, learning from him and finding a friend.

Powell also has positive change from this. He is no longer cooped up in his lab. Cochrane is interested in Susan Woolridge, a woman that is helping out with McGrath. We learn this much earlier on. Cochrane announces though that he will be leaving soon, but Alexander tells him he will need to wait, he wants him to give Fisher away at the wedding to Powell.

Two robbers approach Gielgud’s cottage. They believe he is wealthy and has a hidden fortune. Warner is out gathering wood for a fire, but returns as they are hurting him. Warner ends up killing them both and the cottage is set ablaze. He then runs into McGrath, who he wants to be his friend. He accidently kills him trying to give him a hug.

Warner is lonely and now with the name Frankenstein, he seeks out his creator. He knows about what this is from the bible. Will Powell make him a companion? Or will he doom him to a life of loneliness? What will happen if Powell won’t do it?

I have to say that this is somewhat a different take on the Frankenstein novel. It is shorter than most due to be a TV movie. I actually thought the cast did very well in their roles. I personally really liked Warner’s portrayal of Frankenstein’s Monster. He only shows rage at the end, but for the most part, he plays him as a sad, lonely character that just wants companionship that he received from Gielgud. I don’t even think it needed to be a bride like in the book or other films either.

My biggest issue is that it is made for TV. The film is condensed and leaves out quite a bit of information. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending. I guess it makes sense for how Warner’s character is and Powell really has nothing left, but I like the ending from the novel much more. The film overall is rushed to fit its short running time as well.

I would still recommend this one if you are interested in just getting the most important details from Mary Shelley’s novel. This is not the best version of it, but this one is less on the horror aspect and more about the tragic existence of Frankenstein’s Monster. The acting is good and the film is entertaining. It does have a short running time, but also leaves a lot of information out form the novel in the process. Not the best version out there, but there are worse ones out there.


My Rating: 5 out of 10