Monsters on screen and in the frame.
Hammer Films was a legendary production company for horror films and its first color contribution to the canon was The Curse of Frankenstein. Starring the one-two punch of
Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, it established the studio as a Gothic hitmaker and created a unique aesthetic for its time.
One of these pieces of artistic eccentricity was the way the studio implemented classical Gothic horror – fine art, castles, dread – with the modern trappings of schlocky violence and thrilling direction. This can be distilled in one particular scene in The Curse of Frankenstein, during which the characters examine the painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolas Tulp.
Jefferson Robbins’ essay digs deep into the use of this painting to further the film’s themes, contextualizing the film in the spectrum of horror and in its own artistic decision-making.