Ghost of Frankenstein
Director: Erle C. Kenton
Written by: W. Scott Darling
Weapon of Choice: Fire
Based upon: none
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
|Rips off earlier film|
|Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie|
|Future celebrity appears|
|Former celebrity appears|
|Girl unnecessarily gets naked|
|Death associated with sex|
|Unfulfilled promise of nudity|
|Characters forget about threat|
|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|
|Car stalls or won't start|
|Cat jumps out|
|Stupid discovery of corpse|
|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|
|Dark and stormy night|
|Killer doesn't stay dead|
|Killer wears a mask|
|Killer is in closet|
|Killer is in car with victim|
|Villain is more sympathetic than heroes|
|Blood spatters - camera, wall, etc.|
|Poor death effect|
|No one dies at all|
|Little kid lamely survives|
|Dog/Pet miraculously survives|
|"It was all a dream" ending|
|Unbelievably happy ending|
|Unbelievably crappy ending|
|What the hell?|