Ghost of Frankenstein

Year: 1942

Director: Erle C. Kenton

Written by: W. Scott Darling

Threat: Psychopath

Weapon of Choice: Fire

Based upon: none

IMDb page: IMDb link

Ghost of Frankenstein

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

Rish Outfield's reviews
Just like Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein were companion pieces, this one is a companion piece to Son of Frankenstein (just not quite as close a one). The next two in the series (Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man and House of Frankenstein) also go together (yes, there's that many--the Jason movies have nothing on Frankenstein), and it's neat how that worked out.
First of all, Ygor lives! I just wanted to say that. It begins with an interesting recap of the last film-–it's hard to imagine a time when, before video or television repeats, audiences would have to wait years for a re-release if they missed an installment. So, it turns out that both Ygor and the Monster survived Son of Frankenstein, even though the monster now looks a lot more like Lon Chaney Jr. than it used to. It also turns out that ole Doctor Frankenstein had ANOTHER son, this one named Ludwig, who lives in another castle in another isolated European village. When Ygor brings the damaged Monster to Doc Junior, they plan to replace its defective brain with a different one (but exactly whose brain is open to argument).
Ludwig Frankenstein is played by the Walt Disney-esque Sir Cedric Hardwicke. Doctor Bohmer (Lionel Atwill) is Doc Frankenstein's younger assistant who taught Frankenstein Junior everything he knows. Ralph Bellamy appears as the town prosecutor and the love interest of Frankenstein's daughter. Apparently Dwight Frye has a cameo appearance, but I missed him in this one. Lon Chaney only played the Monster once (although he apparently played the role in a live television movie a few years later) and though he is always good onscreen, the makeup really worked best for Karloff. And Lugosi steals the show again as the conniving--yet loyal to his undead friend–-Ygor. There is a literal appearance of the Ghost of Frankenstein (now played by an entirely different-looking actor, but ah well), so the title isn't a complete lie, but it felt a bit out of place with the rest of the film.
There's really nice model work at the beginning and end, and the monster's flesh melts at the end–-also quite well-done.
Welcome back the nice monster, everybody. This one is the big dumb creature, who helps a little girl retrieve her ball on a string. He kills two people in the process, but hey, he got the ball and that's all that matters. The cute little girl adores the monster, but everybody else is terrified of it. Ludwig himself proclaims, "While it lives, no one is safe!"
The townspeople are pieces of crap. We get two new groups of villagers with torches in this film, for the price of one! Clearly the good guys are the bad guys in this one. Both the Monster and Ygor are very likable here. Ygor is a tragic character in this film–-boy, Universal sure had a lock on the sad monster department. Ygor plans to replace the Monster's brain with his own. The Doctor wants to replace it with a recently-deceased colleague's. In a typically creepy moment, the Monster wants the brain of the little girl that befriended him ("He wants the brain of that child!"). What's next, Dracula planning to give him Lou Costello's brain? At the end, after the transplant, we find out that an intelligent Monster is evil (speaking with Lugosi's voice and accent for an odd effect), something the next film apparently tried to follow up on, but ended up reconsidering before release.
"Ghost" was a good film. Not anything noteworthy, but satisfying.
Note: As I've said in all my Universal Monsters reviews, I feel funny giving this our slasher Skulls, since most of the cliches we point out were either not invented yet or not allowed to be shown when this was made. But still, it's gotta be done.
Posted: May 9, 2001

The tyranist's thoughts
It's been a while since I watched an entry in the Frankenstein series. This one isn't too bad. In fact, it is probably better than its immediate predecessor. Not up to the original and Bride of course, but not bad at all.
This one shares a lot with some of the later versions of the Frankenstein myth, especially some of the Hammer versions. It still has a the Universal feel though. Great sets, probably better than Son had. I do miss Karloff's Monster. Lon Chaney just doesn't have the same presence and the monster feels pretty lifeless at times. The romance subplot is pretty empty and there are moments when Lugosi's Igor is terribly annoying.
You know, the more I think about it, the less I can think of that was really great about the movie. I liked Dr. Frankenstein. And I liked the Prosecutor, a little.
Well, this mid-series entry was fun to watch even if I can't think of anything really good to say about it now. Maybe it was just that Universal Monster movie feel. Or that really hot girl who was chasing a bunch of ducks.
At any rate, Frankenstein completists should check this out. If just to see the ghost of Dr. Frankenstein appear in the middle of a turbine.
Posted: September 6, 2004

Total Skulls: 9

Sequel skull
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
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 skull
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
Hallucination/Vision skull
No one believes only witness
Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth
Warning goes unheeded
Music detracts from scene
Death in first five minutes
x years before/later
Flashback sequence skull
Dark and stormy night skull
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 spatters - camera, wall, etc.
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 skull
"It was all a dream" ending
Unbelievably happy ending
Unbelievably crappy ending
What the hell?