Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) movie poster

(1943) dir. Roy William Neill
viewed: 10/30/09

The “B” side to The Wolf Man (1941) DVD was the film’s apparent follow-up, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, possibly the first of the “…Meets the…” movies, teaming up more than one monster at a time (my guess, not based on evidence).  Oddly enough, I had some other sequels to Frankenstein (1931) queued up, namely Son of Frankenstein (1939) and The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and House of Frankenstein (1944), which will only be confusing for me who likes to see films in relative order.

This film picks up four years after The Wolf Man, with  two grave-robbers awakening Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.) a.k.a. “the wolf man” from apparent suspended animation.  He goes on a tear in Wales and ends up in a hospital with a doctor who thinks he’s delusional.

Actually, I’m a little loathe to try and sum up the entire plot here.  It’s basically deus ex machina meets deus ex machina times about a dozen.  There are so many convolusions in the plot that it’s a little hard to re-cap.  And there are more plot holes than there are plot twists.

So, Talbot escapes to mainland Europe, seeking the gypsy woman who helped him int he first film, and then, once with her, seeks out the noted Dr. Frankenstein, who can help him with his curse, not only that to be a werewolf, but to never really be able to die.  Chaney goes around quite a bit begging for death.  But Dr. Frankenstein is dead, so they look up his daughter, and then the doctor from Britain shows up and wants to play Frankenstein himself.  And Talbot finds “the monster” frozen in ice beneath the castle/laboratory of the long-dead Frankenstein.  Why it’s snowy underneath the ground, it’s not clear.  And this time, the monster is played by Bela Lugosi, who in his time managed to be just about every character in the Universal Horror catalogue.

It’s all highly silly, though enjoyable enough.  Lugosi’s Frankenstein monster is stiff and goofy, a caricature of the monster, already a caricature after 10 years of movie stardom.  Though some research suggests that when the film was being made, Lugosi’s monster was supposed to be blind (and also had some speaking parts), following the events of The Ghost of Frankenstein.  This is meant to suggest that Lugosi wasn’t as hammy as he seems here.  But it’s pretty hammy.

The kids started to watch the film with me but Felix took to bed with a migraine and Clara pooped out about 15 minutes into it.  It was late.  Fair enough.

My memories of this film remained mostly on the ending, the “battle” if you will in the only part of the film in which both monsters are on screen at the same time.  And the wolf man’s only plan of attack is to climb on things and jump on the monster.  They all get washed away in a flood when a tavern owner from the village blows up the dam that washes away the monsters and the castle.

Yes, as I said: it’s deus ex machina meets deus ex machina time about a dozen.

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