Blood & Guts Rundown | 'House Of Frankenstein' Isn't Quite The Monster Mash You'd Expect

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Release Date: Dec. 1, 1944

Director: Erle C. Kenton

Writer: Edward T. Lowe Jr.

Premise: An evil scientist tries to use Frankenstein's monster, the Wolf Man, and Dracula in his schemes for revenge.

Trailer

Pick My Brain

Following the success of Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, Universal decided to try their hand at a three-monster crossover, although Dracula never really meets up with the other two in this film.  So if you're keeping track, this movie is simultaneously Frankenstein 6, Dracula 4, and The Wolf Man 3.  I don't think this is the strongest movie in any of its three series though.  Introducing Boris Karloff's character, Dr. Niemann, as a Nick Fury to the Monster Avengers makes sense in that they all needed to be revived in someway, but these films have never strictly adhered to logic or continuity.  I feel like I would have rather watched a movie about Dracula using the two more mindless characters in his plans for a true crossover rather than all three being under-utilized in somebody else's story.

Sometimes They Come Back... Again

Boris Karloff, who played Dr. Niemann, is most famous for playing Frankenstein's monster in the first three installments of this series.  This would be his last time appearing in Universal's Frankenstein series. In addition to his work in these films, he is an all around horror legend who made 50 horror movies.

Lon Chaney Jr., who played the Wolf Man, is yet another horror legend.  The Wolf Man was his signature role: he portrayed the character in all 5 of its appearances in the Universal Monster franchise.  He also portrayed Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, and the mummy at different points during his time with Universal, and made over 30 horror movies in his lifetime.

John Carradine, who played Dracula, made almost 70 horror films in his lifetime including The Howling and The Sentinel.  He returned as Dracula in the Universal movies one more time before the role was taken back over by its original star, Bela Lugosi.

Lionel Atwill, who played Inspector Arnz, showed up in several of the later Universal Monster movies.  He also was in Mark Of The Vampire which I just did a rundown of last week.

George Zucco, who played Prof. Bruno Lampini, had previously portrayed the high priest Andoheb in three of the Universal monster movies.

Haunted By Our Past

A subplot in the film involves a love triangle between Talbot (the human form of the Wolf Man), Daniel (Niemann's assistant), and a Romani woman.  As you might guess, she is often referred to with a certain G-word and portrayed fairly stereotypically.  I can't really say I'm surprised, considering movies as recent as Ant-Man contain jokes about G-word curses.

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It Came From The IMDb Trivia Section!

  • At one point, this movie was going to be a 4-monster crossover including the mummy with the title The Devil's Brood.
  • Bela Lugosi was originally supposed to play Dracula in this film, but the scheduling couldn't be worked out between him and Karloff, who both happened to be playing the same character in different touring performances of Arsenic And Old Lace.
  • Glenn Strange was coached on how to play Frankenstein's monster by his co-star Karloff.
  • J. Carrol Naish paid a man with a hunchback so that he could follow him around and study his movements.

What The Hell Is That Supposed To Be?!!