Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

universal horror monster mess


NipkowDisc
 Share

Recommended Posts

to me the universal horror film cycle started to go seriously awry with Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. a great start with larry talbot being resurrected from his tomb and great visual fun with the wolf man running rampant in the surrounding woodlands of vasaria and falling through a hole into one of the numerous icy catacombs of frankenstein's castle (the 2nd son played by cedric hardwicke in Ghost of Frankentein) and a bewildered wolf man who has lost his bearings is pretty good melodramatic fun. in that vehicle all larry talbot wants is death which he sees as his only release from his werewolf curse. FMTWM is where universal starts to build their peculiar brand of wacky science around the frankenstein legacy. in it we have the lovely illona massey as frankenstein's lovely daughter played by a totally different actress than in Ghost of Frankenstein. the lovely miss massey looks like penny singleton and has all the european continental charm of marlene dietrich. both she and patric knowles as mannering are the only main player survivors of FMTWM. this film references the original Dr.  frankenstein's diary of the secrets of life and death which cedric hardwicke kept locked in his desk. stuff about his artificial body having the duration of a hundred human lifetimes and so on but knowles as mannering got cute. 
a big fight and years of ice storage for the monster and talbot. then in House of Framkenstein we get karloff as a real baddie mad doctor neimann and universal's wacky science gets even more jumbled. in the last movie talbot sees death as his only release but neimann will put his brain into a new body to escape his werewolf curse. the monster now played by glenn strange has some tissue damage from the years of ice storage so neimann prescribes frequent hot compresses. forget the compresses just heat 'em up when you're ready to juice um with electricity or does that make any scientific sense?
Universal also wastes a lot of our time with John Carradine as baron latos aka. dracula. carradine couldn't scare a goldfish but it is nice seeing karloff giving us a fine example of resurrecting a vampire by removing the stake. later we have to put up with elena verdugo lovesick over talbot. she fashions a silver bullet planning to release larry from his eternal torment but can't bear to plug him from a window. he turns into the wolf man and finishes her off...but not before she fires her silver bullet and there it is right on the screen the death of lawrence talbot and morphing back to human form. j. carrol naish as daniel the hunchback who can't understand why elena verdugo would prefer cursed talbot to him loses patience with neimann and says "this wouldn't have happened if you had kept faith with me" and proceeds to strangulate him.
the now fully revived monster not appreciating daniel whipping him with a strap breaks loose and chucks the hunchback right out the laboratory window eliciting the best moments of naish's appearance in the movie.
the monster drags his new buddy neimann into the swamp and goodnight all. then we get House of Dracula with john carradine again unimpressing everybody as an ineffectual count dracula who shows up at kindly eminent dr. edelmann's castle to seek a cure from his vampire curse...but not before larry talbot shows up before seeking the same kind of help and still a werewolf. universal executives must have missed the previous movie where talbot is shot and killed by a silver bullet.
again some new unconvincing scientific jumble. edelmann tells talbot that he is after all suffering from this magnificent delusion as there are no such things as supernatural werewolf curses. it's all in his mind acted upon by cranial pressure and moonlight causing him to change into a wolf-like being but certainly not a supernatural creature. the solution is a rare mold that edelmann is cultivating. later edelmann finds and lugs the monster back to his lab for future revival but not before dracula for no apparent reason loses interest in a cure for his vampirism and contaminates edelmann with his diabolic blood. 
still edelmann is able to operate on talbot to affect a cure and later for the first time talbot beholds moonlight completely free from his delusion. edelmann turns into a murderous fiend thanks to dracula's blood and a grateful talbot stops him with a bullet which elicits a faint short-lived weak smile from onslow stevens' edelmann after talbot shoots him. no dialogue but edelmann shoulda said "thank you, my boy". he understands.:D
again the rampaging frankenstein monster buys it in yet another castle conflagration.
finally there is abbott and costello meet frankenstein and eureka! bela lugosi now free from all itinerary commitments can finally play for a 2nd stupendous time...Dracula! big deal. here we are in florida with bud and lou and...talbot? died two movies back, cured one movie back but still a lycanthrope?  lon chanet jr. played the mummy and the monster but appears as larry talbot the wolf man in five films so lets hear it for universal's immortal wolf man.

1. The Wolf Man
2. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
3. House of Frankenstein
4. House of Dracula
5. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Image result for lon chaney jr. the wolf man

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, NipkowDisc said:

to me the universal horror film cycle started to go seriously awry with Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.

I'm a big fan of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. I remember being really scared as a kid, by that early scene where he's in bed watching the moon through the window. And of course there's the priceless "Festival of the New Wine" operetta, and Larry's brilliant outburst. I hear the Metropolitan Opera has been considering an expanded version of the operetta for a forthcoming season.

Btw, I've always been confused as to how Larry and Maleva get from Wales to Vasaria. They're in Maleva's horse and buggy, but they don't seem to do a Channel crossing of any type, and it was ages before the Eurostar. (It has been a while since I've seen the film.)

You do a disservice to the great Jane Adams, who plays the hunchbacked nurse Nina in House of Dracula. You mention Daniel the hunchback. Are you prejudiced against female hunchbacks?

house-of-dracula-1945-universal-internat

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These Universal horror films are currently on Starz:

FRANKENSTEIN (1931)
DRACULA (1931)
THE MUMMY (1932)
THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933)
THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)
THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS (1940)
THE MUMMY'S TOMB (1942)
FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1942)
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962)
THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nip, some of the problems with the Universal Monster Franchise is that two distinct companies actually made the films. The original Frankenstein and Dracula films were made when the Laemmles owned Universal. They lost the company they founded in 1936 to a bunch of money men who apparently had no idea how to make motion pictures. I have copies of some of the programmers they made in the late 30s and it is hard to argue that point after viewing them. According to Richard Barrios, in "Song in the Dark", excluding Abbott and Costello, nothing important happened at Universal Studios from 1936 until the 1950s when Rock Hudson and Douglas Sirk showed up.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

These Universal horror films are currently on Starz:

FRANKENSTEIN (1931)
DRACULA (1931)
THE MUMMY (1932)
THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933)
THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)
THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS (1940)
THE MUMMY'S TOMB (1942)
FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1942)
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962)
THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964)

I have advice for anybody thinking about watching "Son of Frankenstein" (1939) which is not on the list, I notice. If you have never seen "Young Frankenstein" DO NOT WATCH IT until after you see "Son of Frankenstein". Otherwise you will be laughing at all of the wrong places in Son of F.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, calvinnme said:

Nip, some of the problems with the Universal Monster Franchise is that two distinct companies actually made them. The original Frankenstein and Dracula films were made when the Laemmles owned Universal. They lost the company they founded in 1936 to a bunch of money men who apparently had no idea how to make motion pictures. I have copies of some of the programmers they made in the late 30s and it is hard to argue that point after viewing them. According to Richard Barrios, in "Song in the Dark", excluding Abbott and Costello, nothing important happened at Universal Studios from 1936 until the 1950s when Rock Hudson and Douglas Sirk showed up.

Not to mention that the pre-Code outcry over Edgar Ullmer's "The Black Cat" pretty much finished off Universal Horror's popularity with the public, and made the supernatural a box-office-taboo word at the studio.  Most of Universal's, quote, "horror" output without the Laemmles after that was generic "Old Dark House" thrillers--with comic elements added, for Scooby-Doo value--with Bela Lugosi reduced to playing just generic red-herring sinister butlers and gardeners.

The "Vs." monster-mashups were only after Universal was reduced to showing the Classic monsters to matinee revivals, and discovering that they had B-movie value with kid and teen audiences.  At which point it became a B-movie industry at the studio, with budgets and production value to match, until the Jack Arnold "Universal International" days of the Creature From the Black Lagoon.

5 hours ago, Swithin said:

I'm a big fan of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. I remember being really scared as a kid, by that early scene where he's in bed watching the moon through the window. And of course there's the priceless "Festival of the New Wine" operetta, and Larry's brilliant outburst. I hear the Metropolitan Opera has been considering an expanded version of the operetta for a forthcoming season.

Although, of course, we've already had the thread that explained why FMtWM feels so disjointed and that there's a lot more Wolf Man than Frankenstein in the finished product--After the studio cut out the major subplot continuing Lugosi's talking Ygor-stein Creature from the end of "Ghost of Frankenstein".

It's a nice idea for a monster-mashup, and good points for intent, but like certain Warner DC Comics mashups, you wish for a do-over that had all its ideas worked out before they went in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, laffite said:

But one will still be laughing :lol:

Should your last reference be "Young Frankenstein" and not Son of F ??? If I'm wrong, sorry and never mind. 

No, I believe I'm correct. Young Frankenstein is a parody of Son of Frankenstein with lots of scenes just lifted from the movie. Therefore do not watch "Young Frankenstein" until after you see SOF. If you saw YF first, you would laugh at some of the scenes in SOF which were not meant to be funny.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, calvinnme said:

Nip, some of the problems with the Universal Monster Franchise is that two distinct companies actually made the films. The original Frankenstein and Dracula films were made when the Laemmles owned Universal. They lost the company they founded in 1936 to a bunch of money men who apparently had no idea how to make motion pictures. I have copies of some of the programmers they made in the late 30s and it is hard to argue that point after viewing them. According to Richard Barrios, in "Song in the Dark", excluding Abbott and Costello, nothing important happened at Universal Studios from 1936 until the 1950s when Rock Hudson and Douglas Sirk showed up.

I haven't read Barrios' comments, but if what you say is true, then such generalizations seem ignorant. Universal had good years in the 40s with Deanna Durbin, W.C. Fields, Yvonne De Carlo, Robert Siodmak, Abbott & Costello and Donald O'Connor. The 50s were more than Sirk and Hudson-- there were huge stars at the studio like Jeff Chandler, Tony Curtis, Audie Murphy and Julie Adams. As well as franchises such as Francis and Ma & Pa Kettle, plus those Creature films. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I haven't read Barrios' comments, but if what you say is true, then such generalizations seem ignorant. Universal had good years in the 40s with Deanna Durbin, W.C. Fields, Yvonne De Carlo, Robert Siodmak, Abbott & Costello and Donald O'Connor. The 50s were more than Sirk and Hudson-- there were huge stars at the studio like Jeff Chandler, Tony Curtis, Audie Murphy and Julie Adams. As well as franchises such as Francis and Ma & Pa Kettle, plus those Creature films.  

Barrios wasn't saying that the 50s were insignificant at Universal. He was just saying he was not impressed with Universal's output from 1936 until 1950.  As for me, I was never a fan of Durbin's kind of film, nothing against Ms. Durbin herself. I think Fields had his best years at Paramount and/or the precode years. Some of this dismissal of Universal's history is really Universal's fault. They go a year and a half and release nothing in the Universal Vault MOD program, then put out about a dozen unannounced titles. If I didn't go skulking around youtube I wouldn't know about some of their films from the 40s and actually the 50s too for that matter.  Ever hear of Louisa? That's a great Universal from 1950 that shows Ronald Reagan in a very comedic role.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, calvinnme said:

Barrios wasn't saying that the 50s were insignificant at Universal. He was just saying he was not impressed with Universal's output from 1936 until 1950.  As for me, I was never a fan of Durbin's kind of film, nothing against Ms. Durbin herself. I think Fields had his best years at Paramount and/or the precode years. Some of this dismissal of Universal's history is really Universal's fault. They go a year and a half and release nothing in the Universal Vault MOD program, then put out about a dozen unannounced titles. If I didn't go skulking around youtube I wouldn't know about some of their films from the 40s and actually the 50s too for that matter.  Ever hear of Louisa? That's a great Universal from 1950 that shows Ronald Reagan in a very comedic role.

I still think it's an ignorant glossing over of history. It's like some of these people have a limited memory. They put the Laemmles in their brain, add A&C then skip to Sirk & Hudson. When there was so much more to this studio. It's careless to skip over something like THE NAKED CITY, THE KILLERS or THE EGG AND I. Those were big, highly influential films. 

I love LOUISA. I think it's a great film. Someone should write an article on Spring Byington and Charles Coburn. They were a dream team and did four or five movies together.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

'Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man' was my very first exposure to monster movies. I was sleeping at my grandparents house, age 8, and my aunt Linda, age 11, told me it was gonna be on the late show that night. I had no clue at all what Frankenstein was or what the wolf man was. I remember her imitating an arms-outstretched Frankenstein to kind've explain to me what she was talking about.

Anyway, she and I and grandpa sat in the dark that night watching Shock Theater and I saw my very first horror movie. I was transfixed. When I saw my parents the following day, I was ebullient - already begging them to let me stay up the coming Friday night for 'Son of Dracula' which had been mentioned as coming up next.

So, for nostalgic reasons, 'Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man' has always been my favorite of the series - flawed though it very much is. It was my first, and it was the most exciting for me because it was my first.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Remember that Universal's ghoul-fests were made during the war. While RKO was disturbing and depressing war-weary audiences with the Val Lewton (now) classics, Universal was having fun with their signature bogeymen. They were certainly not making these pictures for posterity and never imagined that horror fans would be dissecting them generations in the future.

Still - Siodmak made a bonafide minor classic in SON OF DRACULA; Roy William Neill made half a classic in FMTWM; and Charles Barton helmed an outstanding (in every respect) homage to - without belittling - the great monsters in his comedy hit.

So don't be too hard on the penny-dreadfuls. They're a painless way to kill 70 minutes and they took audiences of the time way far away from the real horrors their loved ones were undergoing across the waters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, darkblue said:

 

So, for nostalgic reasons, 'Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man' has always been my favorite of the series - flawed though it very much is. It was my first, and it was the most exciting for me because it was my first.

Makes me wonder....

Was that one the FIRST one to start the "great movie monster competitions"?  You know, culminating lately with  "ALIEN vs. PREDATOR", and "FREDDIE vs. JASON" an whatnot?

Sepiatone

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, calvinnme said:

According to Richard Barrios, in "Song in the Dark", excluding Abbott and Costello, nothing important happened at Universal Studios from 1936 until the 1950s when Rock Hudson and Douglas Sirk showed up.

Poor Deanna Durbin.

And Sirk is overrated.

If there was a down period, I'd think it started to turn around with the merger with International after WWII.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Fedya said:

Poor Deanna Durbin.

And Sirk is overrated.

If there was a down period, I'd think it started to turn around with the merger with International after WWII.

Yes. Films like Jacques Tourneur's CANYON PASSAGE, George Sherman's SWORD IN THE DESERT and Robert Siodmak's CRISS CROSS support this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Hoganman1 said:

I too, like most of the Universal horror films from the 30s, but I'm a bigger fan of the Hammer series made in the late 50s and 60s. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee were both great.

Using the list I provided of Universal horror films on Starz, you will note the last two titles are from the 60s. And those were co-productions done by Universal & Hammer. And yes, you can see how much more literary the Hammer productions are-- they have a little extra, and those British actors usually outshine the American actors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the list of Universal horror films that were shown in the early days of television, on Shock Theater:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_Theater

I'm a fan of all types of horror films, and all types of British films, but I'm afraid I find many of the Hammer horror films to be stodgy.

I do think Hammer's Quatermass and the Pit is a fine film, and I like a few other Hammer films, but not the Mummy/Dracula/Frankenstein lot, which I find rather tedious.

I think the two best British horror films come from Tigon: Witchfinder General and The Blood on Satan's Claw.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...