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House of Frankenstein

USA 1944
produced by
Paul Malvern for Universal
directed by Erle C. Kenton
starring Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney jr, John Carradine, J. Carrol Naish, Anne Gwynne, Peter Coe, Lionel Atwill, George Zucco, Sig Ruman, Elena Verdugo, Glenn Strange, Charles F.Miller, Philip Van Zandt, Michael Mark, Frank Reicher
screenplay by Edward T.Lowe, based on a story by Curt Siodmak, make up by Jack Pierce, special effects by John P.Fulton

Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolf Man, Universal horror cycle, Universal's Frankenstein, Universal's Dracula, Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange), Dracula (John Carradine)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When lightning frees doctor Niemann (Boris Karloff) & his loyal hunchbacked servant Daniel (J.Caroll Naish) from prison, Niemann has only 2 goals, to pick up the experiments of Frankenstein where his brother has left off, and (first & foremost) to kill the 3 men who have thrown him into prison.

To these ends Niemann & Daniel soon kill sideshow etrepreneur Lampini (George Zucco), who happens to have the skeleton of Dracula (John Carradine) in his possession, & take his sideshow to Kieselstadt, the home of Hussmann (Sig Rumann), first on Niemann's private to kill-list.

Niemann's ways of killing him do seem ingenious to the point of ridicule: He pulls the stake out of Dracula's skeleton, thereby awakening him, & somehow forces him into submission. & indeed, Dracula wastes little time & wisits the Hussmans's, & does Niemann's bidding in killing the old man, but Hussmann's granddaughter in law, the beatuiful Rita (Anne Gwynne) has caught his sight, & so he abducts her. Luck has it though, that her hubby Karl (Peter Coe) has seen through count Dracula's educated behaviour, &, together with the village's inspector (Lionel Atwill) & the local police force chases him through the countryside. Niemann, seeing the police on Dracula's heels, drops the vampire's coffin, & when Dracula, having to sleep in his native soil that is only contained in the coffin, has to retrieve it despite his pursuers, he is caught (& killed) by the rising sun ...

Having fulfilled the first of his selfimposed tasks, Niemann searches out Strauss (Michael Mark) & Uhlman (Frank Reicher), the other 2 men he has to kill to exact his revenge, who just happen to live in Vasaria, where both the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney jr) & Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange) lie buried under the rubble of castle Frankenstein - & where hunchback Daniel finds true love in gypsie girl Ilonka (Elena Verdugo).

And now it gets really silly: Niemann, in search of another means of revenge, decides to revive the monster & the Wolf Man - who in his human form of Larry Talbot is quite unhappy about these developments - & wants to punish Uhlmann & Strauss by seriously swapping brains around between pretty much everybody in the cast (don't ask, here the film has lost me somehow). Poor Daniel meanwhile is depressed because all of a sudden Ilonka seems to prefer non-hunchback Larry Talbot - despite his lycanthropic state - over him & lets his anger out on the not yet quite revived monster. & then there is yet another mob of torches-carrying villagers ...

It of course all ends in chaos, with the monster going berserk, all the bad people killed, Larry/the Wolf Man finally freed of his miserable state when Ilonka shoots him with a silver bullet out of love, & everything going up in flames yet again ...

To nobody's surprise, Frankenstein's monster, Dracula & the Wolf Man would all return the following year in House of Dracula.

 


House of Frankenstein is yet another example of how much in shambles the once proud Universal horror-cycle was by the mid-40's. Here, Universal's 3 main monsters are just thrown together in an incoherent plot (or 2 plots, as the Dracula-story seems to be disconnected from the rest of the film) that doesn't even attempt to make much sense. Even a good performance by the dependable Boris Karloff can't lift the movie from utter nonsense. It's kind of a laugh though for friends of the absurd.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD