House of Frankenstein (1944)

House of Frankensteinhouse-of-frankenstein-movie-poster-1944-1020417455
Directed by Erle C. Kenton
Written by Edward T. Lowe Jr. from a story by Curt Siodmak
1944/USA
Universal Pictures
First viewing/Netflix rental

 

[last lines] Dr. Gustav Niemann: Quicksand!

This all-Monster sequel to The Wolf Man Meets Frankenstein was only further proof that Universal had jumped the shark in its horror franchise.

The film more or less takes up with the situation at the Frankenstein castle as at the end of its predecessor.  Criminially insane Dr. Gustav Niemann (Boris Karloff) escapes with his assistant the hunchback Daniel (J. Carroll Naish) following a prison fire.  The doctor, who had been jailed for attempting to put a dog’s brain in the body of a man, is bent on revenge on the village authorities who locked him up.  On the road, the two run into a carny who is exhibiting the skeleton of Dracula.  Knowing that he need only remove the stake to revive the vampire, Niemann has Daniel murder the carny, revives the Count (John Carradine), and takes the show into town.

Niemann is determined to continue his experiments, this time with the brains of the village leaders.  He thinks he will receive instruction from Dr. Frankenstein’s records and goes to the castle to search for them.  There he finds Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) and Frankenstein’s Monster (Glenn Strange) encased in ice.  He revives Talbot, who shows him to the documents in exchange for his promise to free him of the Wolf Man curse.  In the meantime, we get a love triangle between the hunchback, Talbot, and a gypsy girl (shades of The Hunchback of Notre Dame).  Mayhem ensues.  With Lionel Atwill and Sig Rumann in their old roles as village fathers.

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I can just imagine the story conference at Universal.  Somebody said “why not throw in all our monsters?” We can promise the public five times the thrills!  But it just doesn’t work that way.  Instead we get a incoherent, confusing story with snippets of horror action.  Karloff is always effective but it was a mistake to put the Frankenstein monster in the same movie with his originator.  This just highlights the pathetic lameness of Glenn Strange’s creature.  Fortunately, he is only in the film for a very few minutes at the end.  Still an improvement over Lugosi in the same role in The Wolfman meets Frankenstein.

Trailer

2 thoughts on “House of Frankenstein (1944)

  1. Yikes, that version of Frankenstein’s Monster looks almost exactly like Herman Munster. Such a shame that the all-star monster jam idea didn’t yield more entertaining results.

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