Sunday, September 6, 2009

#56 - Son of Frankenstein

Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Rowland V. Lee. Written by: Wyllis Cooper.

Plot: Many years after the events of the first two movies, Dr. Frankenstein’s son (Basil Rathbone) moves into the old castle along with his wife and son (Josephine Hutchinson and Donnie Dunagan, respectively). After only a few days, the crazies start coming out and Basil Rathbone somehow gets coerced into regenerating the Monster.

Review: Admittedly, this is filler. I kept taking stuff off the list because I don’t want to review it, so something had to go on instead. Anyway, I enjoy writing about this movie. Maybe putting half the Frankenstein sequels on here is tacky, but hell, they’re good.

Considering that this is the third film in the franchise (and third films are rarely ever worth watching. Ex: Jurassic Park 3, Halloween: Season of the Witch, The Final Conflict. Nightmare on Elm Street 3, interestingly, was way better than Part 2. Just thought I’d throw that out there) it is quite amazing. Although, out of all of the Universal monster movies, Frankenstein by far had the best sequels of the lot.

Think about it though - Dracula’s Daughter was okay and Invisible Man’s Revenge was watchable, but other than that… I mean, the best sequel to The Wolf Man was House of Frankenstein and it had Frankenstein in the title, so…

So it’s a proven fact that third instalments usually suck. Moving on to somewhat less depressing places, this movie was way fun. It’s got all the components of a kick-ass monster movie - kick-ass monster played by Boris Karloff, creepy henchman played by Bela Lugosi, brief appearance from Dwight Frye (you’ll notice if you watch closely), creepy castle, weird effects, mad science… all that good stuff plus Basil Rathbone which can never hurt. Ever.

The only real problem with the movie is the fucking annoying little kid. They had to throw that little bastard in there for whatever reason (probably for the same reason they always add an obnoxious little kid - to get the viewers on their side. I don’t think that actually ever works though, unless it’s done extremely subtly) and annoy the hell out of me for ninety minutes.

Every time he showed up he had to yell his obnoxious catchphrase (I think it was, “Why helloooo there” or something), and every time it made me wish someone would throw him in a lake and get it over with. But you know the kid isn’t going to die. By the time the third movie rolls around, you know absolutely nothing shocking is going to happen.

But other than that…

This film is still ridiculously entertaining. It’s the kind of movie you can watch and feel totally satisfied at the end. They really don’t make them like they used to.

Also, it looks fucking awesome. They totally went all out on the rad, gothic art direction (same goes for the first two of course) which is always good.

And there’s something just really cute about it. I don’t know, Frankenstein always gets to me, without fail. It just makes me happy on some bizarre level. It’s vaguely nerdy I guess is the thing. Frankenstein is a total dork. He can’t help it. That’s just the way it is.

And, because the movie was made in the thirties, he can’t be a perverted weirdo who spends lots of time looking at partially naked women. Nope. Good clean wholesome fun. Now you can show pretty much whatever you want but really, what have we gained?. Yeah, this movie was. good.

Favourite Parts: Any scene with Boris Karloff is fine in my book, but the scenes between him and Basil Rathbone are particularly charming.

Other versions: None.

Sequels: Follows Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. Followed by Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula and Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein.

Click here to read my original review (January 3rd, 2007).

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