The House of Frankenstein (1944) Reviewed

House of is Universal’s fourth Frankenstein sequel (following Bride of, Son of and Ghost of) and marks Boris Karloff’s return to the series, this time in the role of an escaped convict/mad doctor who, with his inconsistently creepy hunchback assistant, hijacks a traveling snake oil “doctor” who just happens to be carrying the genuine remains of Count Dracula on his wagon. After getting rid of the doc, Karloff assumes his identity, travels the countryside and inadvertently resurrects the Count (John Carradine!). Eventually the patchwork tailors of this full-budget schlocker manage to integrate the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.) and finally, the Monster (Glenn Strange). Universal was attempting to breath new life into the series (either that, or squeeze every ounce of public interest out of it) by throwing all of its marquee monsters into the same pot at once. The results are as ridiculous as you’d probably expect: the same medical secrets that bring the monster back to life might also cure Chaney of his werewolf curse (?!) Karloff’s performance is high-camp and Chaney plays it straight with a familiar furrowed brow. But for my money, this is all mostly good. Throw in some gypsies and some doomed hunchback love and you’ve got…well, something weird that bares little resemblance to its original source material. **1/2

~ by Number5ive on February 20, 2010.

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