October 12, 2016

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.

Review #846: Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.

Lon Chaney, Jr. (Larry Talbot/The Wolf Man), Ilona Massey (Baroness Elsa Frankenstein), Patric Knowles (Dr. Frank Mannering), Lionel Atwill (Mayor), Béla Lugosi (Frankenstein's Monster), Maria Ouspenskaya (Maleva), and Dennis Hoey (Inspector Owen) Directed by Roy William Neill.

This was the first in the Universal franchise to utilize two monsters for a crossover film, although one could see this as a sequel to The Wolf Man (#260). Chaney is excellent once again as the Wolf Man, expressing the tragic nature of this character with ease, along with wonderful effects and transformation once again. Lugosi's performance is well known for having been butchered by the studio, to the point where you do not get to hear him speak, not get much context into his walking nature. It's not a movie where the monsters just fight each other (that happens briefly near the end), but it is a fairly engaging yarn to watch. The music number (yes, you read that) is somewhat amusing, in that you wouldn't really expect it to actually occur. Massey does a fine job as well. Knowles is okay, but nothing too special. Atwill returns once again, getting to play a mayor, which is a bit amusing in that this time he doesn't end up dying. The continuity is a bit strange (the Monster is found in ice. What exact time period is this set in? And why does the Wolf Man need to die like this instead of just getting shot by silver and buried deeper?), but there is at least a plausible set up to most of the events of the film. The climax is satisfying in that we get to see these two monsters meet and fight (briefly), which seals the fun aspect of a concept that could have been played out terribly but thankfully isn't.

Overall, I give it 7 out of 10 stars.

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