Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) - Rotten Tomatoes

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The key image of this film occurs early on, as a hideous monster removes its face, only to reveal itself as Baron Frankenstein in a mask. Hammer's fifth installment in the series sees the transformation of doctor into monster complete. Peter Cushing's portrayal of the Baron here is all insanity and hatred, rather than the misunderstood (if unethical) genius of previous entries. Frankenstein transplants the brain of an insane doctor into Freddie Jones' body, creating a pathetic, misshapen beast, while using blackmail and rape to control the people around him. This was director Terence Fisher's favorite film, and his pacing and composition have rarely been better. Jones (the nasty showman in The Elephant Man) is great at communicating the disorientation and helpless agony of his condition, and while Cushing's character is more one-dimensional than usual, he does his normal excellent job as the Baron. Hammer's next installment was the silly Horror of Frankenstein before Fisher returned to end the series with Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell.

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Peter Cushing
as Baron Frankenstein
Freddie Jones
as Prof. Richter
Thorley Walters
as Inspector Frisch
Maxine Audley
as Ella Brandt
George Pravda
as Dr. Brandt
Geoffrey Bayldon
as Police Doctor
Peter Copley
as Principal
Jim Collier
as Dr. Heidecke
Alan Surtees
as Police Sergeant
Windsor Davies
as Police Sergeant
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Critic Reviews for Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (3)

A good-enough example of its low-key type, with artwork rather better than usual (less obvious backcloths, etc.), a minimum of artless dialog, good lensing by Arthur Grant and a solid all round cast.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

Fisher taps a rich vein of Romanticism here, making this the high point of a series that afterwards degenerated into the sloppy self-parody of Jimmy Sangster's The Horror of Frankenstein.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…

One of the finest of the seven entries in Hammer's Frankenstein cycle.

April 28, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Jones is astonishing as the anguished victim of the transplant, whose wife fails to recognise him and rejects him, prompting his revenge plan.

November 27, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

An extraordinary film that presents a new sample of the talent of a director that hides a very suggestive ethical / aesthetic balance. [Full Review in Spanish]

August 26, 2019 | Full Review…

This 1969 effort might be the worst picture in the entire Hammer Frankenstein cycle, losing sight of the character of the obsessed scientist in an effort to score some cheap thrills.

October 10, 2015 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed

Fisher and Cushing are on board again for another sequel. Cushing is now in his mid-50s and still an action star in this franchise. This movie is famous for an uncomfortable rape scene that makes Frankenstein's character more monstrous than usual. He is normally concerned with preserving life, despite everyone not understanding his methods, and is not the romantic lead or competition for the younger romantic lead. A different writer and trying to find new ways to shock audiences with more sex and violence being offered by the entire film industry was probably responsible. I thought Frankenstein's new young assistant Karl was tedious. The young romantic couple was boring and unnecessary. Thorley Walters appearing again, this time as a bumbling blow-hard Inspector, was not as funny this time around. There are several action packed set pieces that are exciting. It was clever to have Frankenstein make his first appearance, but in disguise and with lots of suspense. There is some suspense, but also confusion, as Frankenstein repeats a similar experiment to the previous film. He uses part of Doctor Brandt and part of Professor Richter in his pursuit of a perfect being. Now he doesn't pursue beauty or hulking physicality, but wants his creation to have intelligence. An intelligent Creature is more in line with the way the Creature grows in Mary Shelley's novel. Yet, it is less believable, when the character actor Freddie Jones playing the stitched together Creature, manhandles Frankenstein after confronting him philosophically, since they are of similar height and build. However, this does lead to a memorable flaming mansion scene to end the picture. We have not been treated to a Creature intelligent enough to lay a trap and create some seemingly real life and death stakes for the Baron. This might be the most exciting ending of any film in this franchise.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed is a close second for my favorite Hammer Frankenstein movie (Curse of Frankenstein being my favorite.) Peter Cushing strips any and all sympathy you may ever have had for Baron Frankenstein and his scientific quest while Hammer kind of reinvents the Frankenstein legend. The last half hour of this movie and what they do with the monster is pure genius and all but forgives the plot holes (like a rape scene with the sole purpose of seeing Veronica Carlson in a nightgown that seems all but forgotten) of the first hour. Not to mention the total vacuousness of Carlson and Simon Ward's characters. But that opening that establishes Frankenstein in the run and the scene with him berating the other boarders? Magnificent...!

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer


one of the best hammers i've seen. peter cushing is brilliant as the diabolical baron. however there's a rape scene in this which just feels gratuitous to me so i'm dropping it half star for that. how did it advance the plot in any way and why is it never mentioned again?

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed Quotes

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