Monday, February 28, 2011

House of Frankenstein (1944)

Dracula! The Wolfman! Frankenstein's Monster! The Universal Monsters come together at last in 1944's HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN! An insane scientist following in the footsteps of Dr. Henry Frankenstein escapes from prison with his hunchbacked assistant, but the two run into trouble posing as a pair of carnival operators when they bring Count Dracula back to life from one of their sideshow attractions. Dracula helps to rid the pair of the burgomaster that had imprisoned them, but the vampire is destroyed during a daring escape. Dr. Niemann and Daniel then seek refuge in the ruins of the Castle Frankenstein, where they discover the bodies of Frankenstein's Monster and The Wolfman frozen in the caves below! Once revived, Niemann convinces Lawrence Talbot to help him find Frankenstein's records so that he can lift the curse off of the werewolf's head while searching for a new body for his misshapen friend. Before he is able to do so, the monsters break loose and bring the angry villagers back down upon them, and Niemann's plans are cast to ruin!

This convoluted tale takes a number of unexpected twists and turns as it tries to bring Universal's three greatest monsters back to life within a single framework. Director Erle Kenton manages to do so with some success, while also maintaining the continuities of each of the individual series. On top of the big action sequences and excellent make-up effects, HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN benefits the most from a number of strong performances from each of its many villains. Boris Karloff returns to the series that made him a star in the devilish role as the mad Dr. Gustav Niemann, and he is joined by Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot and both John Carradine and Glenn Strange in their first appearances as Count Dracula and the undying Monster! J. Carroll Naish is also excellent as Niemann's assistant Daniel. HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN travels through a variety of beautiful Gothic sets that draw from THE WOLFMAN, FREAKS, and the original FRANKENSTEIN. The only disappointment is that the baddies never get to face off in a giant monster melee, but with plenty of action, drama, and suspense, HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN proves to be a huge crowd pleaser!

Rating: 7/10.
Entertainment: 8/10.

3 comments:

  1. Meh, 'House of Dracula' is better.

    That one features Lon Chaney Jr as both The Wolfman and Frankenstein (by way of stock footage used in the finale). Why couldn't they have had him be The Mummy and (Son of) Dracula too?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Im pretty sure the Invisible Man was in that one too, you just couldnt see him?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, it was either him or John Cena.

    ReplyDelete