Lady Frankenstein (1971)
Director: Mel Welles, Aureliano Luppi
Main Stars: Joseph Cotten, Rosalba Neri, Paul Muller, Peter Whiteman, Renate Kasche
Storyline: The daughter of Frankenstein falls in love and wants to transplant her lover’s brain in a hunky man to prolong his life.
Review (Spoils): Dr. Frankenstein get killed by the monster that he created, a tall golem one eyed beast. The doctor’s daughter Tina continues the experiments with her dad assistant Marshall and they fall in love. During this the monster is still walking the land murdering people and Tina wants to transplant Marshall’s brain in a hunky retarded servant named Stephen’s body.
This leads the film into a love story, a man monster with some cool make up, murder so that her boyfriend can have the perfect figure, some nakedness, love making and some good body swaps. The film does not rely on blood as there is barely any but instead feeds off of the presence of actress Rosalba Neri which is a good thing. She is a very attractive woman and her acting is very well done as she carries the film. The monster make up is even pretty decent for the budget the film was playing with. Wait till the ending which I have read was banned because it crossed the moral line.
Rating: This film did scream Hammer, it has all the look and feel but of course it isn’t one. But I do have to say I would take Rosalba Neri on the screen over Peter Cushing any day.
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943)
Director: Roy William Neill
Main Stars: Ilona Massey, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr.
Storyline: Larry Talbot has escaped death from the grave and is still battling his infliction. He finds the Frankenstein monster in a block of ice and releases him. The two battle to the destruction of the Frankenstein castle.
Review (Spoils): Once again Lon Chaney Jr. Graces the screen as the Wolfman and tries to find a cure for his disease. He comes across the Baroness Elsa Frankenstein (Ilona Massey) in hope to cure him. During all this he travels into the ruins of the castle and finds the remaining monster (Bela Lugosi) trapped in a block of ice. He frees him in hope to use the monster to get the Baroness to help him.
The film can be slow moving and really how many offspring can there be for the Frankenstein family line? The over acting of Ilona Massey is painful and so is the accent that she tries to pull off. Bela Lugosi has never been a good Frankenstein monster as he is body type just does not fit the part. But as for the bright side of the film Lon Chaney Jr. steals the show as the Wolfman yet again.
Rating: This movie is more of miss than a hit which is too bad. The Wolfman is the best part of the whole film but the rest is over acting and terrible makeup. The storyline is starting to become the same over and over again.
House of Frankenstein (1944)
Director: Erle C.Kenton
Main Stars: Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr, John Carradine, Anne Gwynne, Elena Verdugo, Glenn Strange
Storyline: Dr. Niemann and his hunch back assistant escape the asylum. In their journey they revive Count Dracula, the Wolf Man and find the Frankenstein Monster.
Review (Spoils): Being the fourth in the Frankenstein series this movie kind of falls all over the place. First we Dr. Niemann (Boris Karloff) and his hunchback assistant trapped in prison. They escape by a strange lightning storm that hits the building. The doctor stumbles upon the coffin of Dracula (John Carradine ) from a freak show circus and they revive him from removing the stake. To add to the madness of their plan they come across the frozen body of the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr) and the Monster (Glenn Strange). They start a fire and revive both to use in their plan for revenge. All in this jumble of a storyline the hunchback falls in love with a gypsy woman (Elena Verdugo) but learns that she truly loves Larry Talbot which a silver bullet leads to both their deaths.
Boris Karloff does an amazing job playing a madman that wants to bring all the monsters back to life for his own revenge and pleasure. The ending scene is memorable to the fate of the Dr. Niemann character.
Lon Chaney Jr always plays the Larry Talbot character perfectly. In my eyes he will always be the Wolf Man.
Rating: This movie was not bad but it was a kind of all over the place with storyline. The whole Dracula plot could have been left out as it held not meat top the film. As time grows with the Universal films of horror they do become weaker.
Director: Erle C. Kenton
Main Stars: Lon Chaney Jr, Cedric Hardwicke, Ralph Bellamy, Bela Lugosi, Evelyn Ankers, Lionel Atwill
Storyline: Right after the public destroyed Ygor and Frankenstein monster they both reemerge from the ruin castle. They fee to the second of Dr. Frankenstein to hide themselves away.
Review (Spoils): This is forth in the Universal Frankenstein series and this time Ygor (Bela Lugosi ) returns and resurrects the monster (Lon Chaney Jr). They head to the second son of Dr. Frankenstein Ludwig (Cedric Hardwicke) and look for some shelter to hide from the torch barring public. Before the meet the doctor the Frankenstein monster meets with a young girl and helps her get her ball from a high area in the town square the people read his intentions wrong and he gets arrested and goes to court. The monster is chained to the chair while the question him which is useless. Ludwig decides to take the monster in his care as it was his father’s creation. All through it all Ludwig gets visited by his father’s ghost telling him resurrect the monster after changing its brain with a smart brain. In this confusion Ludwig’s assistants gets talked into by Ygor to use his brain instead without telling Ludwig. This is done without the doctors knowledge till the voice of Ygor goes out of the monsters mouth. In the finally battle again the monster is in a crumbling building that is in flames.
The cast does a great job in this film and I was actually impressed with Lon Chaney Jr playing the monster. (I was worried with this) Bela Lugosi steals the show again as playing the creeping Ygor. Evelyn Ankers might not have a huge part in the storyline but she was very entertaining but once again a real charmer of the film. The low part of the film is the ghost itself which was very lame and it did not look like Colin Clive at all, very dumb scene.
Rating: For being the fourth in the series this was not too bad. Sure it can be a little repetitive with the doctors, the assistants and ending in a burning building but Lon Chaney Jr did a great job playing the monster. Grabs some beers and have a final toast to Ygor!
House of Dracula (1945)
Director: Erle C. Kenton
Stars: Onlsow Stevens, Lon Chaney Jr, John Carradine, Martha O’Driscoll, Jane Adams, Glenn Strange
Storyline: Count Dracula and the Wolfman go to visit a doctor to help cure their diseases.
Review (spoils): Dr.Edelman (Onlsow Stevens ) hopes to cure Count Dracula (John Carradine) of his vampirism but the Count’s true plans are to get close to his blond assistant Miliza (Martha O’Driscoll). Also the Mr.Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr) wants help to cure him of his lycanthropy so he will not become the Wolfman again. During this Talbot tried to kill himself and jumps into the caves off a cliff. In the rescue of him Dr.Edelman stubbles upon the Frankenstein monster (Glenn Strange) buried in the caves. In this also Dr.Edelman hopes to help and cure his beautiful brunette assistant Nina (Jane Adams) from a large hump on her back. In the end Count Dracula is destroyed by sunlight from the doctor after he learns of the over take to Miliza. The Wolfman becomes cured and the Frankenstein monster and the doctor both go mad causing the death of Nina, the doctor and the Frankenstein monster.
Lots are going on in this film which makes it go all over the place. Yes we have 3 monsters in the film but the prime acting of the beautiful Jane Adams and Lon Chaney Jr as the Wolfman again rule the screen. Glenn Strange did a great job playing the monster but he had such a small part that it was too bad. The makeup was all well done but once again I had a hard time accepting this Dracula played by John Carradine and he just was not frightening.
Rating: the film had its moments but at the same time there was too much going on in the one film. Count Dracula doesn’t even exist half way through the film so it’s a strange title for the movie. I’m half way on this film.
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Director: Rowland V. Lee
Main Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone
Storyline: The son of Dr. Frankenstein fines his father’s creation and revives him. What he did not know is that Ygor is the one controlling him.
Review (Spoils): Following up from The Bride of Frankenstein Wolf Von Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone) returns to the manor with his wife and son and they are not overly welcomed by the residents due to his father’s past. Igor (Bela Lugosi) is living in the basement as he was his father’s last assistant but he has a surprise for him as the monster (Boris Karloff) is here but in a coma. The monster gets revived and loses all speech and starts from scratch. The film is all star when it comes to cast we have Boris Karloff playing the monster for the last time in his sheep wool vest and leather and Bela Lugosi plays the classic Igor the strange broken neck assistant of the late Dr. Frankenstein. Yes Basil Rathbone is not as strong as the past doctor character of the past two films but still memorable as it ends this great trilogy from Universal. The settings of the scenery are breath taking and being a third film of the series the movie has not lost its charm. The castle alone is worth the viewing in this film. Rowland V. Lee continues what James Whale started.
Rating: This movie is a great third part of the Universal series. We have some of the most classic horror characters with Frankenstein monster and Igor steals the show as it is Bela Lugosi at one of his best (next to Dracula of course). Yes the son Billy can be annoying and just does not fit in the film but this is one of favorites of the Universal films.
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
Director: Terence Fisher
Main Stars: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Hazel Court
Storyline: Dr. Frankenstein recalls the tale of the creation of the monster.
Review (Spoils): Hammer is back on my horror list and this time we have Peter Cushing playing Dr. Frankenstein and Christopher Lee playing the monster. The storyline is pretty much the same as we have a young Frankenstein trying to create life but this time not using lightning but using a liquid formula. We have Hazel Court playing the voluptuous redhead that loves the doctor and tries her hardest to have his full attention instead of dealing with secret experiments. The acting in the film is very well done and the storyline is not that far off from the Universal one but the monster make-up for Christopher Lee is semi poor and that really takes away from the film. I know Hammer tried to do something unique but I just cannot get past the bluish rubber skin and the seam located along the neckline. This looks a little too amateur for Hammer films and there just was not enough meat in the film keep myself on my toes.
Rating: Not a bad movie but I have seen better Hammer films. I was excited to check this out but was let down on how bad the makeup was done in this film. Peter Cushing did an amazing job playing the doctor but there just was not enough going on to keep my interest like other Hammer films.
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Director: James Whale
Main Stars: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Ernest Thesiger, Dwight Frye
Storyline: The Monster of Frankenstein story continues right after the burning of the mill. The Monster lived and he is on the hunt for friendship so that he can understand this world. A mad scientist named Doctor Pretorius talks Dr. Frankenstein into creating a new monster to continue the dream of the man made race.
Review (Spoils): The movie starts out with Mary Shelley (Elsa Lanchester) describing her book that she is writing and how the story does not end with the burning of the mill the night the Monster (Boris Karloff )supposedly died. This is a nice added touch to the film and it is a nice change to what was done in the first film. Actually this film does a lot different than the original film bringing some more humanity to the Monster such as the longing for friendship and love. The film touches this with the Monster coming upon the blind man and filling in companionship with drink, smoke, eating and even the lessons of speech. This added a nice touch to the film even though I’m a not a huge fan of the talking Monster. The film is also graced with two madmen this round who are the true monsters of the film. We have the classic Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) again andnow an even more macabre madman named Doctor Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) it was excellent acting on both parts. This film was a perfect sequel to the classic film.
The only parts that I felt did not mend well with the film were the experiments of Dr. Pretorius with the little people which just make it more silly than interesting. Another part that was too bad was the lack of the presence of the bride herself (Elsa Lanchester) who did an outstanding job with the twitchy movements and her gorgeous eyes that help her become more sinister and shocking. More screen time of the bride would have been great as she was great in this film.
Rating: This is a must see for horror fans and it is an awesome piece to add to the Frankenstein series. Elsa Lanchester does a breath taking job playing the bride it is just unfortunate on the lack of the character in the movie.
Director: James Whale
Main Stars: Colin Clive, Boris Karloff, Mae Clark, Dwight Frye,Edward Van Sloan
Storyline: A mad scientist tries to play god by stealing body parts to create his own version of man. The monster comes to life and becomes misunderstood with what is brought before him.
Review: Ok before we start I just want to say this is a classic and there is no such thing as a bad review of this movie. If you have not seen this film stop reading and go rent it now! Come on its Frankenstein! One of the most recognizable monsters of horror!
Every October this hits my DVD player and I just relax with a beer to the most classic and my own personal favorite of the Universal Horror period. Such memorable characters in this film lead it be a classic. The madness in the eyes of Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) as he becomes more and more desperate to make his creation come to life leaving his love interest Elizabeth (Mae Clark) to be neglected and forgotten. Featuring the weirdness and pitiful his assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye) who tortures the monster into madness to make up for his own faults. Feeling the emotion of the Monster (Boris Karloff) himself of loneliness and lost in a whole new world that he did not ask to be part of. Such touching scenes like when the Monster plays daises in the water with the little girl you learn that he is an innocent soul that is just looking to find his place in a troubled world. You soon learn that the true monster was the madness of Dr. Frankenstein himself. This movie is a pure horror masterpiece you cannot go wrong watching this gothic like film for the hundredth time.
Rating: This is a must see for all movie fans alike. The acting, the scenery and the makeup make this black white horror film the best of the Universal horror era.