House Of Frankenstein (1944)

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Overall Rating 62%
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Ranked #4,386
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An evil scientist and his hunchbacked assistant escape from prison and encounter Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein's Monster. --IMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: April 16, 2016
After the financial success of Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, Universal lost their damned minds. Forgoing any sake of integrity to the horror genre, they just started throwing as many names as they could into a single movie.

For the last fifteen years, Dr. Gustav Niemann has been rotting in prison for crimes against humanity: using cadavers in an attempt to recreate Frankenstein's famous work. His constant raving has attracted the interest of his cellmate, a hunchback named Daniel, as he hopes the good doctor could use his knowledge to transfer him into a normal body. When the prison is destroyed by a lightning bolt, the pair make their escape and murder a traveling sideshow owner who claims to have the body of Count Dracula himself. Taking on their identities, they resurrect Dracula and reclaim the bodies of Frankenstein's monster and the Wolfman so Dr. Niemann can get revenge on the men who were responsible for his imprisonment.

It was so obvious that the gameplan was "get everyone in there" with no regards to either the plot or coherency. The monsters' angles were all shoehorned and episodic. For example, Dracula popped up, the story line switched to him doing Dracula shit for twenty-five minutes, they killed him off, and that was that. This almost felt like if someone had taken a Universal Monster themed haunted house and made it into a movie. Considering that these movies form the backbone of the horror genre that we all know and love, seeing them reduced to a novelty act is so incredibly disheartening.

It also didn't help that most of the major roles were recast. Glenn Strange took on the role of Frankenstein's monster, and while he only got maybe three minute of actual acting in, I had no complaints about his take on the creature. I'm sure having Boris Karloff on set to coach him went a long way. Speaking of, Boris Karloff was amazingly sinister as Dr. Niemann. No surprise there. On the other hand, John Carradine was completely unable to give off a threatening feel with his portrayal of Dracula. Unfortunately, Bela Lugosi himself was busy with other projects and couldn't take back the mantle that made him famous. Lon Chaney Jr. was back as Talbot, but like his last entry, his role is reduced to moping around whining that he wants to die. It's a far cry from his original work in 1941. With all that said, I rather liked J. Carrol Naish's Daniel; I had no trouble buying either his anger or his more emotional moments.

I tell you, it's such a shame that these classic monsters had such a terrible ending. There's one more after this, House of Dracula, and then we can move on with our lives and pretend that only the original classics exist. 2/10.
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