Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, September 13, 2010

House of Frankenstein (1944)

Here is is, Frankenstein, Part V which is not as good as I and II but better than IV.  So it goes with sequels!  House of Frankenstein starts off strong.  Boris Karloff is excellent as  Dr. Gustav Niemann who escapes from prison with his faithful hunchbacked servant, Daniel.  [Lugosi's Ygor is sorely missed here.]  Their quest is to find Daniel's brain a new body to inhabit instead of the old model.  So they go off in search of Dr. Frankenstein's notes to figure out how to pull it off.  Along the way they meet Dracula, played adequately by John Carradine; the Wolfman, play by Lon Chaney Jr. whose human form is as tortured as ever; and, of course, The Monster, played terribly by Glenn Strange [Gunsmoke].  They also throw in Lionel Atwill [Burgomeister forever] as Inspector Arnz for good measure.  
The problem with all this star power is that it gets awfully crowded.  Everyone some screen time but not nearly enough to develop their character.  However, thanks to Karloff's wonderful performance, the film is a joy to watch if only for him.  Back in the director's chair is Erie C. Kenton, who also did Ghost of Frankenstein.  His filmmaking skills have improved since the last time, giving us a stronger film in House than in Ghost.  The chase scene toward the beginning of the film with carriages and horses running full force is particularly well done.  Jack Pierce is also back again with his excellent make up skills.
This one is a must see if you're a regular Frankie Fan.  While it's not the best of the bunch, House of Frankenstein is still a well crafted film that brought Universal's Frankenstein series to a close.  Make sure you rent the Legacy Series edition of the film.  The print is clear and beautiful to behold.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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