31 Days of Halloween – Day 23 – Frankenstein and a Wolfman enter a bar…
Of all the Universal team-up movies, I think Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman is best viewed with your brain off, as two monsters fight it out through a nonsensical storyline. Unlike some team-up movies, the two monsters from the title actually do fight, and this was way before such things became as common as dirt. Alien versus Predator may be crap and Godzilla versus King Kong may be stupid as hell, but there’s always this movie. Most people who see it today don’t really put it into context, but Universal released one of these monster movies every year for several years, and this one doesn’t really fit in. The continuity is confusing if you’re a stickler for that sort of thing. I think it’s still fun though. In some parts.
I think Lon Cheney Jr does a good job as the Wolfman and he doesn’t get enough credit for his performance. This is supposedly a sequel to the Wolfman from 1941, where Larry Talbot died after taking a severe blow to the head, however one full moon and he’s up again, running around like a rabid squirrel. Pretty chipper guy. The whole first part of the movie follows events surrounding Larry and his situation, which is probably the best part of the movie. But they needed Larry to lighten up just once. That would have been funny. Maybe he goes into a bar and finds one of the Frankenstein relatives or something. I can think of several Frankenstein jokes I could tell over a beer. Maybe jokes about this movie too.
Anyway, Larry wants to die, just like always. It’s always the same story from this guy. He figures the only way to really die is to find Dr. Frankenstein. Uhh, okay. Makes sense? Maybe he’s drunk at this point and the bar scene was cut out. Dang, we need that movie. He meets up with an old lady and she knows where Frankenstein is. The old lady is played by Maria Ouspenskaya, and she repeats her performance from the original Wolfman, basically with the same creepy old lady acting.
The middle part of the movie is a mess. Maybe I need to be drunk, not Larry. The old lady and Larry try to find Frankenstein, but they’re told he’s dead. I assume they’re talking about the original Victor Frankenstein, but maybe they’re referring to Ludwig Frankenstein, the main character of Ghost of Frankenstein from 1942. Ludwig was a doctor and accidentally transferred the evil Igor’s brain into the Monster’s body. Nothing about this is mentioned in this movie, which is good because I never liked the Igor-Frankenstein storyline, but it’s obviously supposed to be the same character.
Although he died in a fire in the last movie, Larry finds the Monster frozen in ice for some reason. To make matters worse, Bela Lugosi played Igor in Ghost of Frankenstein, but plays the Monster in this one. Under that make-up, I guess it doesn’t matter, but his performance in both movies is just awful, especially in this one. I would have liked a simple Wolfman sequel.
The reason why the Monster staggers around like a drunken prom date is because they screwed up the continuity. The Monster was supposed to be the Igor-Frankenstein character, and Lugosi was playing the role as if he were blind, which is what happened at the end of Ghost of Frankenstein. They cut all Lugosi’s dialogue explaining this, which leaves Lugosi just looking stupid and awkward when it’s left out. Whatever the reason, none of the scenes with the Monster work at all.
Clearly, the setting is also jumbled and confusing. The Wolfman takes place in the present day 1941 and there are cars on the streets. It’s a modern movie. When we get to Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, now people are using horse and buggy again like it’s set years ago, even though it’s a sequel to the original Wolfman. This makes no sense.
To top it all off, Larry recruits a stupid doctor named “Dr. Frank” to help him die, which means going to the Frankenstein laboratory for some reason. Dr. Frank can’t get over his impulses to see the Monster at full power, so he fools around with the controls and charges it up like an Energizer battery. Larry turns into the Wolfman and everybody calls in the stunt doubles. The monsters fight and roll around for awhile, until the townsfolk destroy the dam and the rush of water destroys the Frankenstein Castle. The end.
In all, this movie is a mess, but it does have good parts. Most of the scenes with Lon Cheney Jr are good, until he finds the Monster, then it gets stupid. A musical interrupts the middle of the movie and this stupid scene had me scratching my head. Most of this movie had me scratching my head. Oh well, it’s fun seeing the Universal monsters again.
31. Poltergeist (1982) vs Poltergeist (2015)
30. Blair Witch Project (1999)
29. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
28. The Wicker Man (1973) and The Wicker Man Remake
27. Tales from the Darkside, the Movie (1990)
26. Saw (2004)
25. The Prophecy (1995)
24. The Hills have Eyes (1977)
23. House of the Long Shadows (1983)
22. Creepshow (1982)
21. Phantasm (1979)
20. The Omen (1976) vs Damien: The Omen II
19. We Are Still Here (2015)
18. The Guest
17. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
15. The House that Dripped Blood (1971)
14. Army of Darkness (1992)
13. In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
12. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
11. Theater of Blood (1973)
10. House of Wax (1953) vs House of Wax (2005)
9. Hellraiser Inferno (2000)
8. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
7. The Changeling (1980)
6. The Eye (2002)
5. The Hitcher (1986)
4. Paranormal Activity (2007)
3. 28 Days Later (2003)
2. Suspiria (1977)
1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – This review will be published October 31st!