Today: May 26, 2024

Frankenstein: The True Story

Rating: 4/5.
Bottom line: A memorable romp that will delight fans of Hammer-esque horror. 

Format: DVD & blu-ray.
Run time: DVD 186 mins (+ bonus 90 mins); blu-ray 186 mins.
Cast: David McCallum, Leonard Whiting, Michael Sarrazin, James Mason, Jane Syemour, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Tom Baker.
Certificate: 12.

Presented for the first time in high-definition, with incredible bonus material and stunning new artwork from Graham Humphreys, Frankenstein: The True Story is Fabulous Film’s latest classic release.

Starring David McCallum, James Mason, Jane Syemour, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson and Tom Baker this is the film which inspired Ann Rice’s own reimagining of another classic Gothic tale—Dracula.

Here the source material is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, given an homo-erotic makeover by writer Christopher Isherwood, whose Goodbye To Berlin was the source material for Cabaret.

In 19th century England, Dr Victor Frankenstein, bitter over his brother’s death, seeks out Henry Clerval, whose experiments with reanimating the dead will have terrifying consequences. 

Michael Sarrazin who plays the creature is especially memorable, as he’s transformed by Hammer make-up veteran Roy Ashton, from angel into monster. It’s a compelling piece of drama and one that —despite the title—places the creature at the heart of the tale. In fact, Frankenstein (Leonard Whiting) is not so much the protagonist, as a bystander—first assisting Clerval, then James Mason’s crazed Doctor Polidori. 

Despite the lush sets, and a top-flight cast, this is a production that never quite manages to shake off its made-for-TV feel. Never-the-less The True Story is a memorable romp that will delight fans of Hammer-esque horror. 


  • Film introduction from James Mason.
  • Off With Her Head—an interview with Jane Seymour.
  • Victor’s Story—an interview with Leonard Whiting.
  • Frankenstein’s Diary—in conversation with Don Bachardy (Isherwood’s long-time partner and creative consultant).
  • Audio commentary with film historian Sam Irvin.
  • Fold-out, double-sided poster.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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