It was the enormous success of this Hammer version of Nigel Kneale's TV series which began the whole horror boom in Britain. As a result of its popularity, the company decided to tackle the Frankenstein monster, and subsequently discovered that the public's appetite for myth and fantasy was practically insatiable. The theme of the film (man returns from space as a kind of monster) is by now fairly stereotyped, but it's amazing how impressive Richard Wordsworth's performance remains. Phil Leakey's make-up manages to convey the idea of a whole body in the process of decomposition; and staggering over bombsites, his deformed arm wrapped pathetically in an old overcoat, Wordsworth's Victor remains one of the most sympathetic monsters in movie history. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the film, in retrospect, is the way in which its opening sequence mirrors so precisely the intrusion of Hammer into the cosy middle class domesticity of British cinema in the late '50s. Two insipid lovers are sent screaming from their haystack bower as a huge tubular rocket ship (looking less like a spacecraft than an enormous phallus) plunges into the ground where they have been lying...
Cast and crew
Richard Landau, Val Guest
Brian Donlevy Richard Wordsworth Jack Warner Margia Dean David King-Wood Gordon Jackson Harold Lang Thora Hird Lionel Jeffries