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The Universal Frankenstein films


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Since I didn't watch my vcd last nite and there is nothing on today but Glenda Farrell I am very likely to tonite. Yes, tonite I will enjoy Ghost of Frankenstein and Son of Dracula both with Lon Chaney Jr. I often will think to myself about how universal managed splendidly to derail their Frankenstein films. You have the two 1930s James Whale forever classics then Rowland Lee managed to pick up the story very well years later. I've always enjoyed how Doctor Rathbone manages to give us some scientific medical background on the monster in the 3rd film. It's the 4th film where the seeds of the awry process are planted...imo. In Ghost of Frankenstein Universal invents another son for Henry..or is it Heinrich Frankenstein? Whatever. Played most ably and always professionally by the great Sir Cedric Hardwicke who puts colorful Ygor's brain in the monster's carcass. The beginning of the 5th film Frankenstein vs. the Wolf Man is not too shabby. We see Larry Talbot resurrected from his family tomb by 2 grave robbers, one of them unwisely disturbing Larry's wolfbane. We also learn later on that Talbot's lycantropic curse is an eternal one. He's gonna live forever...this story element is never referenced again in any future film which concerns Larry Talbot. Nice. Villagers of Vasaria pursue Talbot in his werewolf form, he falls thru into an icy underground pocket and he finds Frankie now played by Bela Lugosi. It is never explained that Lugosi's literally stiff performance as the monster is the result of blindness from the end of the 4th film nor is it referenced that the monster now (or should) has the mind of Ygor. Nice again. The monster is just the monster regardless of who's brain is in his head. Nice too. Next we have House of Frankenstein with the return of Karloff as a mad criminal scientist assisted by dwarfy J. Carroll Naish and Larry Talbot to be fallen in love with by Marcus Welby's future secretary Elena Verdugo. Gypsy Elena releases Larry from his terrible curse with a silver bullet...only to show up again in future films. Great continuity! Also in this one Prof. Karloff is worried about the monster's tissues deteriorating. Sulfur and ice do work eventually I guess. :)

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FlyBackTransformer wrote:

<< The monster is just the monster regardless of who's brain is in his head. >>

 

It's a monster because man tries to play God. Today it's genetic engineering. Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) had his own Frankenstein(s) called the Augments i.e. Khan.

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'Son of Dracula' is one of my favorites. Love the atmosphere.

 

'Ghost of Frankenstein' was really the end of the line for the monster. 'Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man' is my favorite of the latter films, but is really more about the Wolf Man saga - as is the two 'Houses'. The Frankenstein monster was never anything more than a prop after 'Ghost'.

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