Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams on Roku - DAY 17: The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Greetings, Boils & Ghouls...

... welcome to 'Day Seventeen' of "Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams on Roku" in which I will suggest my top picks of the fright flicks from the carefully curated catalogue of macabre movies available via the 'Shudder UK' streaming service - any of which can then be streamed to your television using the magic of Roku player - so, let's dim the lights... and prepare for more frights! :-O

If you read my Hallowe'en blogathon preview - FOUND HERE - published on 30th September, then you will know that I plan to post one Hallowe'en / Horror related article every day, throughout the month of October, each featuring one horror movie from the current 'Shudder UK' content library. With recommendations for thirty-one of the best fright flicks I can find, by the end of the month, this means you should have plenty of great choices for your macabre movie viewing as we count down the days to Hallowe'en... as well as ensuring some top-notch cinematic scares come October 31st! ;-)

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [Movie Theater Promo Card]

For my seventeenth instalment in this series of posts I'm going to suggest another vintage horror from the studios of 'Hammer' films... once more directed by Terence Fisher but, this time, released in 1957 under the title of 'The Curse of Frankenstein' - although, as it happens, the original script title was "Frankenstein and the Monster" if you were not already aware - and was the first "Frankenstein" film to have been shot in colour, despite the original concept being for a black & white feature. Anyway, as you might expect, the story is loosely based around the classic story by Mary Shelley (with which I hope you are all familiar by now!?!) but adapted for film via a screenplay written by Jimmy Sangster. Having been threatened with a lawsuit by Universal Studios, who made the original monochrome film(s) we all know and love, Hammer wanted to be sure that there was little similarity between them and approached the story from an entirely new angle. To wit, when the movie begins... we find the titular character, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, in prison and awaiting execution for his crimes. He recounts to a priest what led to his current circumstance and that forms the basis for the rest of the movie. We learn that he inherited his family's wealth after the death of his mother when he was still only a young man. Having hired Paul Krempe as his tutor, he immediately develops an interest in medical science. After several years, he and Krempe become equals and he develops an interest in the origins and nature of life. After successfully re-animating a dead dog, Victor sets about constructing a man using body parts he acquires for the purpose including the hands of a pianist and the brain of a renowned scholar. As Frankenstein's excesses continue to grow, Krempe is not only repulsed by what his friend has done but is concerned for the safety of the beautiful Elizabeth, Victor's cousin and fiancée who has come to live with them. However his experiments lead to tragedy and, eventually, to his demise...

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [British Quad Poster]

If you haven't seen the film before, here is a brief taster in the shape of an original trailer for this vintage fantasy horror thriller classic, courtesy of 'Hammer' and their official 'YouTube' channel:-

If you'd like to know more... there's a full list of the cast & credits on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) listing for "The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957), FOUND HERE, which also includes a full storyline / plot summary as well as box office stats, technical specs & much more. For die-hard fans, there's even more information to be had from the Wikipedia Page for Terence Fisher's classic horror thriller "The Curse of Frankenstein" VIA THIS LINK, which may help to fuel your appetite for (yet) another screening. Although, if you're as much of a fan of this film as I am, or have a penchant for the classic tale by Mary W. Shelley, it probably won't take too much persuading to watch this again! ;-)

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in "The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957)
PHOTO CREDIT: imdb.com

Anyway... you probably guessed already but, if not, this film (like the others from this series of posts) is also available via the 'Shudder' streaming service and can be easily viewed on any Roku device via their dedicated channel (app) for these streaming media players. There are other opportunities for UK Roku users to watch "The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957), including the cheapest rental option to view this film in 'SD' quality for £2.49 from 'Google Play Movies & TV' although you can also choose to watch in 'HD' quality for £3.49 and that price is also being matched by 'Amazon Video' so feel free to rent in 'HD' from either one, if it comes to that - although, having said that, I'd suggest taking a look at some possible free alternatives before parting with any money, because there may well be some free sources available online offering formats that are compatible with Roku. However, as my original idea for this month-long blogathon was to suggest thirty-one of the best Hallowe'en / Horror themed movies from the fang-tastic 'Shudder UK', I'm going to recommend you stream it there! ;-) :-)

If you haven't already added it to your channel selection, you will find "Shudder" listed among the "Film & TV" channels in the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store. You can easily add it to your Roku player(s) by navigating to the built-in 'Channel Store' (accessed via "Streaming Channels" from the home screen on your Roku device) and scrolling through the options until you see the channel icon (pictured above). It's completely FREE-TO-ADD so, once you've located it in the list of channels, just click the "OK" button on your Roku remote to select it and then click "OK" again where it says 'Add channel' to install it on your Roku player(s). Having done that, it's simply a case of launching the channel via the 'Go to channel' option and navigating the on-screen menu to log-in (if you already have an account, but haven't yet done so) or start your free trial (if you are new to the service) and, once you see 'Shudder TV' playing on the screen, just push the "DOWN" arrow on your Roku remote to get to the main menu... from where you can "Search" for "The Curse of Frankenstein", then press "OK" on your remote to select and 'Play' this horror classic which, for the record, runs to 1h 22mins.

LINK TO WATCH 'The Curse of Frankenstein' (1957) VIA THE 'SHUDDER UK' WEBSITE

Unfortunately for Roku users in the USA and Canada, this film is (currently) not available for streaming via the 'Shudder' service in either country... although, there are options to rent the film which can then be streamed on Roku via the individual channels for those services. The best prices I could find to rent "The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) on Roku in the United States were USD $2.99 for 'SD' quality and USD $3.99 for an 'HD' quality rental via 'Amazon Video'... although, in fairness, you can get the same rates from 'Google Play Movies & TV, 'Fandango Now', or 'Vudu', if those are preferable to you. As for Canadians, the rental options for this movie appear to be few & far between but you can get to watch it via 'Google Play Movies & TV' for CAD $3.99 (SD) or CAD $4.99 (HD) and enjoy the film on Roku just like the rest of us. That said, as I've suggested in other posts from this series, there could well be one or two other streaming resources that Canadians and/or Americans can use, so it might be best to check for free alternatives before paying to watch this. If you get stuck, message me via Twitter: @ukrokuchannels and I'll see if I can sort you out a link! ;-)

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in "The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957)
PHOTO CREDIT: imdb.com

Meanwhile, for that full cinema experience, here's a few of the other related images that film fans in 2000 (and more recently) would have encountered depending on their location around the world:

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [French Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Wrong Side of the Art

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [French Poster #2]

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [Italian Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: The Spooky Isles

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [Italian Poster #2]

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [Italian Poster #3]

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [Italian Poster #4]
PHOTO CREDIT: The Telltale Mind

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [Japanese Poster]

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [Mexican Lobby Card]
PHOTO CREDIT: Zombo's Closet

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [Spanish Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Fine Art America

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [Spanish Poster #2]

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [USA Poster]

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [USA Poster #2]
PHOTO CREDIT: Movie Poster Studio

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [Alternative Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: The Telltale Mind

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) [Alternative Poster #2]
PHOTO CREDIT: imdb.com

Finally, to round-off this seventeenth instalment in my month-long blogathon on 'Day Seventeen' for this edition of the 'Countdown To Halloween', here's more FRIGHTENINGLY FUN FILM FACTS... for example: did you know that, according to the film's producer (Peter Rogers), when it came to the casting process for the monster... a memo went out indicating Hammer were looking for "someone big" to play the part. In the end, it came down to Christopher Lee and Bernard Bresslaw. Both their agents were phoned, and asked how much money each wanted. Bresslaw's fee was 10 pounds a day, whereas Lee's was just 8 pounds... to which Melvyn Hayes commented, in the Blu-Ray "Making Of" feature:  "And so, for the sake of two pounds, Christopher Lee became an international star"! It was also on the set for this film that Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing met for the first time, despite both having appeared in Hamlet (1948) and Moulin Rouge (1952). Apparently, they would pass the time between shots by exchanging Looney Tunes phrases and in so-doing began to develop a friendship, which would last until Cushing's death in 1994.

Other interesting tidbits of trivia include the fact that, during the film, the painting which is shown to Professor Bernstein, seen hanging adjacent to the staircase, is actually Rembrandt van Rijn's 1632 "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp". As if to mirror Victor's own actions, it illustrates the dissection of a hanged criminal: in this case armed robber Aris Kindt. Such attention to detail is often a trademark of 'Hammer' films... and, to further illustrate this, the period dresses which were worn by Hazel Court had been part of a real Victorian wardrobe that had been handed down over the years. It is also interesting to note that the idea for this movie originated with Milton Subotsky, who went on to co-found Amicus Films: Hammer's main rival during the 1960s and early 1970s. Another strange coincidence is that Peter Cushing (Victor Frankenstein) had previously worked with James Whale, who (in case you were unaware) was director of Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935). They actually worked together in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) and They Dare Not Love (1941).


Anyhow, that's all I've got time for today... but do remember to come back again tomorrow, for my next macabre movie recommendation from the 'Shudder UK' streaming library, when I will suggest my film for 'Day Eighteen' of "Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams on Roku" right here on this blog. Meanwhile... please be sure to visit the Countdown To Hallowe'en website & show your support for this annual online Hallowe'en extravaganza PLUS don't forget to use the links you find there and check out all the other 'Cryptkeepers' taking part this year. I know they'll appreciate it, if you visit their blogs and share your thoughts on the contribution(s) they've made.


ONE LAST THING, BEFORE I GO: Don't forget that, aside from the Hallowe'en / Horror-themed ghastliness going on around these parts for the next month, you can also keep up with the UK Roku action (as it happens) by following the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels where you will find that up-to-the-minute info on all things Roku-related is posted on a daily basis (well, almost).

Until the next time, then...

That's all folks !!

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