Thursday, January 4, 2007

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1942)

Directed by: Roy William Neill
Written by: Curt Siodmak
Starring: Lon Chaney Jr., Ilona Massey, Patric Knowles, Maria Ouspenskaya, Lionel Atwill, Dennis Hoey, Bela Lugosi, Dwight Frye

So I skipped right ahead to the fourth sequel in the long Universal Frankenstein series, which includes seven films, not counting the Abbott and Costello ones, which are, techically, part of the series, although I refuse to acknowledge them as such. If one were to count the Abbott and Costello ones (I think there were two with the Frankenstein Monster, but I'm not entirely sure), then the Universal series would top the Hammer series, which also has seven parts (though not the same parts).

Anyway, enough about Frankenstein's parts, although they are a rather fascinating subject. I'm sorry, I really can't help myself. I saw this movie too, when I was much younger than I am now. It's a rather inferior sequel, considering that up until this point the Frankenstein movies were quite good. I don't really remember Ghost of Frankenstein too good, but I seem to recall that it was alright.

Mind you, this is also the sequel to The Wolf Man (The Wolf Man series had four parts, counting this one and the two House movies), which isn't exactly the greatest thing that ever came to be.

That's the problem with this movie, actually. Way too much Wolf Man. It's mostly just Larry Talbot wandering around going "Oh, won't somebody please help me?", and whining about being a werewolf. Suck it up, Princess. Were I in his position, I would worry more about the fact that I was a fat, liquor-soaked flesh-sack and not about my lycanthropic affliction. However, for all of Junior's vices, I must admit that he had kind of good hair (not in his wolf-monkey form). I don't know. I'm just looknig for a bright side. "His hair was perfect".

Now, on the Frankenstein half of the movie. The problem there was that Frankenstein himself doesn't actually show up. He's dead and buried when this movie takes place (not that that should really stop him...). His granddaughter, Elsa, does show up, and there is a guy named Frank, but that's a poor substitute. Moreover, Bela Lugosi wasn't a fantastic monster. From what I can tell, he really didn't want to play the role and tried to screw it up as much as possible just to spite everybody. Mind you, he was probably smacked out on morphine at the time.

I'm very proud of myself for recognizing Dwight Frye without having any idea that he was in it. He's a pretty distinctive actor. I don't know how you could not recognize him. It's just, I was under the impression that he was deceased at the time that this picture was made. He actually died in '43, but this was one of his last films. Poor boy.

Yeah, so the climactic battle between Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolf Man is actually pretty lame. It's very short and it doesn't have any... I don't know, drama? It's not exciting, try as it might, nor is it particularly long. And neither of them win, which is sad.

Actually, this whole movie makes me kind of sad. And disturbed, especially when it gets to the musical number. It was only slightly less distressing than Lugosi playing that weird... um... Transylvanian Flute... thing ever twenty minutes or so in Son of Frankenstein. Unfortunately, none of it disturbed me in a good way, as it intended.


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