The Alligator People (1959)
Director: Roy Del Ruth
Main Stars: Beverly Garland, Bruce Bennett, Lon Chaney Jr., Robert Crane
Storyline: A husband goes missing never to be seen again. The wife tracks down the family southern estate to find all it not what it seems for them.
Review (Spoils): The beautiful Joyce Webster (Beverly Garland) and her husband Paul (Robert Crane) are on trip and he disappears never to be seen again. Joyce comes upon her finding during her recollection of the journey to south to find her missing husband. On her journey she comes into contact with alligators, drunkards (Lon Chaney Jr) and of course her lost husband in which his family was hiding. They took Paul and injected him with a strange formula which mixes his DNA to that of an alligator.
The movie effects are not the greatest as the actual alligator man is just a man with scales till the very end which he becomes more beast than man. This actually a pretty entertaining part of the film and the actual gator head is actually funny. But the film does roll slowly to about the last 20min till it gets interesting.
Rating: Not a classic monster by any means. The alligator man is an ok film but not classic of its time. I was hoping Lon Chaney Jr had a bigger part in this film but instead his character seemed extremely lacking.
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 Dracula (1943)
Director: Robert Siodmak
Main Stars: Lon Chaney Jr , Robert Paige, Louise Allbritton
Storyline: Count Alucard (flip this backwards) heads to the deep south in the swamps where he falls in love with beautiful plantation owner. He wants to grant her the undead life of immortality.
Review (Spoils): A decade after the first Dracula film Count Alucard (Lon Chaney Jr) appears in America and is invited to join rich Kay Caldwell (Louise Allbritton) who has an interest in the supernatural. She tricks Count Alucard to fall in love with her so that she is granted the immortality of undead. Her past boyfriend Frank (Robert Paige ) does not understand her intentions and attacks the Count in which Kay gets shot. The son of Dracula Count Alucard brings her back to life or better yet unlife and she gets want she wants. She tells Frank her true plan that she wants him to destroy the Count and join her in the rich life of immortality. Frank is not much for it and destroys them both by sunlight and fire. We have cheesy bat scenes, cool vapour gas travel and the king of the cheese Count Alucard. I’m sorry but I just could not take Lon Chaney Jr as an evil vampire character or even threatening. I love Lon Chaney Jr but the part did not suit him or maybe it was just the lame mustache? For that the movie just did not scream classic Universal monster film for me. Louise Allbritton did an amazing job playing the character and really turned on the acting screws once she became undead (the lying in dead scene was great for that).
Rating: Unfortunately this film just did not have the uniqueness that the past Dracula films had. I could not take the Count Alucard character seriously and poor Louise Allbritton could not hold the film up all by herself. This is one of the weaker links of the series and the point that there was not connection of reference to the Dracula’s Daughter (the second of the series) it lost its connection for me.
The Wolfman (1941)
Director: George Waggner
Main Stars: Lon Chaney Jr, Claude Rains, Bela Lugosi, Evelyn Ankers
Storyline: Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr) goes back to Wales and stays with a group of gypsies. During this stay a werewolf (Bela Lugosi) attacks the group and Larry gets bite during the battle. Larry Talbot becomes the Wolfman and haunts the nearby forest as he battles his inner curse.
Review: Another great Universal Film of horror. We have Lon Chaney’s son playing the cursed Wolfman to become one of the most classic horror characters of its time. This film has a very solid storyline and the haunting wood is done very well. This is one of my favorites of this time period and the make-up is very well done for its time. Yes the film editing can be lame when the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr) does the transformation but hey its 1941!
Rating: We have Lon Chaney Jr and Bela Lugosi together what can go wrong? Great storyline and I love the added touch of the pentagram. Crack out the pints as this werewolf howls a good time!