I don’t think Evil of Frankenstein deserves quite as much venom as is sometimes flung its way. It’s a misstep, sure, and a disappointing experiment, sort of like one of the doctor’s many unsuccessful attempts at breathing life into the dead.
But rocky though the 70s may have been for Hammer, Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb is a stand-out that, while perhaps not keeping pace with the company at its best, certainly makes for solid b-movie material.
Meant as the B-side of a horror double feature, Plague of the Zombies was paired with the higher profile Dracula, Prince of Darkness. Plague of the Zombies got lost in the large shadow of Hammer’s vampire juggernaut, but fans have had a chance to go back and re-evaluate the film.
For my money, the double whammy of Curse of Frankenstein and Revenge of Frankenstein represents the high water mark for Hammer horror productions. They’re simply wonderful films, perfectly connected to one another without the sequel being a derivative rehash.
There is practically nothing at all on display in this film that is surprising. The plot is a rehash of the tried and true and terribly over-used mummy movie plot involving an expedition that disturbs a mummy’s tomb only to have some mad Arab resurrect the mummy and send it out to kill those who desecrated the temple.
Moon Zero Two just couldn’t beat out Neil Armstrong actually hopping around on the surface of the moon, even though the real moon ended up not having any dancing girls or scotch.
As latter-day Hammer films go, The Vampire Lovers is an entertaining, sexy romp. It relies less on the hammy scare tactics of the later Dracula series and more on the audience’s assumptions.
Clemens vision for a film series was pretty cool, with Kronos appearing throughout different periods across the centuries, carrying on his battle with the undead and revealing that there was a much longer history behind the man than has hinted at in the first movie.
It’s really one of Hammer’s most impressive, quirkiest efforts. Regardless of how bad things were for Hammer in the 70s, the movies that came out of it were usually very good and very interesting.
The Pirates of Blood River is still a solid adventure tale, with plenty of action, a dependable cast, and a look that fools you into thinking this is a much higher budget film than it actually is. It’s nice to see these old Hammer swashbucklers getting some attention.