Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

Year: 1943

Director: Roy William Neill

Written by: Curt Siodmak

Threat: Werewolf

Weapon of Choice: Teeth

Based upon: Original

IMDb page: IMDb link

      Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

Other movies in this series:
The Bride of Frankenstein
Son of Frankenstein
The Wolf Man
The Ghost of Frankenstein
House of Frankenstein
House of Dracula

Rish Outfield's reviews
Earlier in my viewing of the Frankenstein series, I condemned the many sequels as simply beating the monster to death by constant reuse. But watching these films individually, I've found many redeemable aspects to them.
This story takes place four years after The Wolf Man, with Larry Talbot interred in the family crypt, next to Sir John, his father, who we are told died of grief after the last film. A pair of graverobbers open up Larry Talbot's coffin, and for some reason, he has come back to life.* In between werewolf transformations, the poor man now roams the countryside, hoping for a release from his curse. When he hears about Frankenstein he thinks perhaps the Doctor can help him, but unfortunately, only the Monster still lives.
This is a great sequel to The Wolf Man, more than anything, with the return of Larry Talbot and Maleva the gypsy woman. It vaguely tries to follow all the previous Frankenstein films, but does so weakly, with Elsa, granddaughter of Henric (?) as the only Frankenstein featured. Apparently, this film originally followed the last one (Ghost of Frankenstein) very closely, with the Monster (now played by Lugosi) speaking in Lugosi's voice as he did at the end of the last film, but Universal's executives found it ludicrous and edited out all the speaking. Regardless, Lugosi (who was offered the Monster role before Karloff, and turned it down) plays the least effective monster--dull, squatter, dumber-looking, and most important of all, not sad/likable as the others (even Glenn Strange) managed.
Lon Chaney Junior is great as usual as poor Larry Talbot. Lionell Atwill plays the suspicious village mayor. Maria Ouspenskaya is both motherly and mysterious as Maleva. And Dwight Frye appears again! That guy is in all of these things! But sadly, this would be his last Universal Monster movie, as he died shortly after its release (of heart failure due to overwork, ironically enough).
I really enjoyed this movie, and the next one (House of Frankenstein) is even better, a sort of companion piece to this one. It had more nice model work and more great Jack Pierce makeup. This film features the very first facial werewolf transformation, something people take for granted in this day of cheap and unimaginative CGI. The poem from the first film is repeated, but it has been changed to "when the moon is full and bright"-–which is how I learned it in Arcane Lore 110.
What hurts this one is its dull last half, with an ending that was so anticlimactic it felt like an editing mistake (look, they know they're just going to bring the monsters back in another film-–do they have to kill them at the end of every one?). The highpoint of this film (and this will sound odd coming from me, but hey, a pleasant surprise always beats a predicted delight) is a cool musical number in the middle-–perhaps so kids could go to the bathroom and buy popcorn (dear God, I just realized that those kids would be senior citizens by now). The joyously morbid song thoroughly disturbs Talbot with unbeatable lyrics like "Come one and all, and sing a song; For life is short, but death is long."
Poor Larry Talbot (that may be his unofficial first name, Poor), like me or you, he just wants to die. "I can't die," he says sadly, but people just ignore him. Either they don't believe Talbot at all, or they think he's a madman who believes he's a wolf. By the end, Talbot has befriended the Monster, a kindred spirit who is, in his way, even more tragic than he is–-and also unkillable. It seems to me, watching this series of films, that the true bad guys and most irredeemable characters are the torch-bearing villagers. In film after film they never think of the consequences of their actions, never give anyone fair treatment or a chance to explain, and are always prone to violence and mob mentality. In simpler terms, they suck.
*My theory is, he was only MOSTLY dead, but it took years for him to recuperate.
Posted: May 30th, 2001

Total Skulls: 8

Sequel skullskull
Sequel setup
Rips off earlier film
Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie
Future celebrity appears
Former celebrity appears
Bad title
Bad premise
Bad acting
Bad dialogue
Bad execution
MTV Editing
Girl unnecessarily gets naked
Wanton sex
Death associated with sex
Unfulfilled promise of nudity
Characters forget about threat skull
Secluded location
Power is cut
Phone lines are cut
Someone investigates a strange noise
Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door
Camera is the killer
Victims cower in front of a window/door
Victim locks self in with killer
Victim running from killer inexplicably falls
Toilet stall scene
Shower/bath scene
Car stalls or won't start
Cat jumps out
Fake scare
Laughable scare
Stupid discovery of corpse
Dream sequence
No one believes only witness skullskull
Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth skull
Warning goes unheeded
Music detracts from scene
Death in first five minutes
x years before/later
Flashback sequence
Dark and stormy night
Killer doesn't stay dead skull
Killer wears a mask
Killer is in closet
Killer is in car with victim
Villain is more sympathetic than heroes skull
Unscary villain/monster
Blood fountain
Blood hits camera
Poor death effect
Excessive gore
No one dies at all
Virgin survives
Geek/Nerd survives
Little kid lamely survives
Dog/Pet miraculously survives
Unresolved subplots
"It was all a dream" ending
Unbelievably happy ending
Unbelievably crappy ending
What the hell?