Here we have The House of Frankenstein, a 1944 film near the end of the Universal monster movie cycle. Trying to squeeze every last bit of juice out of the various franchises, Universal put the most famous monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and the Wolf Man) in a single film together. Lon Chaney Jr. plays Larry Talbot/ the Wolf Man for the 3rd of 5 times here. This time, John Carradine plays Count Dracula, with Glenn Strange as the Monster. Boris Karloff is even in this film, but instead of the Monster, Karloff plays the evil scientist Dr. Gustav Niemann, who is the central figure in that ties everything together. It's ironic that Karloff once played the Monster, and now he is playing the man who attempts to bring the Monster to life. This is because Karloff refused to play the Monster anymore, saying that the franchise and his time as the Monster had run its course.
|Niemann and Daniel just after escaping prison.|
|John Carradine as Count Dracula|
Next, Niemann and Daniel stumble upon the ruins of Castle Frankenstein. Daniel is smitten by a gypsy girl, Ilonka (Elena Verdugo), whom he rescues. In the ruins of the castle, the two men find the bodies of the Monster and Larry Talbot, frozen in the waters that swept them away in the flood during Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. Niemann thaws both, and when Talbot awakes, Niemann promises to find him a cure. Niemann, however, really only cares about reviving the Monster to get revenge on some old associates. Meanwhile, Ilonka falls in love with Talbot, making Daniel jealous, and Daniel tells Ilonka about Talbot's curse. His plan backfires, as Ilonka tells Talbot that she is willing to help him in his search for a cure.
|Talbot demanding that Niemann fix him before reviving the Monster|
Niemann ends up reviving the Monster, coincidentally at night, and shortly after the revival, Talbot turns into the Wolf Man. Ilonka, wanting to help release Talbot's soul, shoots him with a silver bullet, thereby ending his curse (for now). Ilonka, however, is killed in the process. Daniel gets upset and attacks Niemann, blaming him for her death. The Monster defends Niemann, killing Daniel and running away with Niemann's unconscious body. A mob chases the Monster and his master into a pit of quicksand, where both perish.
|Glenn Strange and Karloff. From creation to creator.|
This film actually sets a number of precedents that have been followed since, mostly pertaining to the Frankenstein Monster. Glenn Strange's portrayal of the Monster as a stiff, stumbling, clumsy creature has been a staple of the character ever since.
An amazing film considering the goal was just to make as much money in the box office as possible.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5.