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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Franken-week: Day 3 ...

Yoinked from Wikipedia and bred with snippets from the book Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror which is a really awesome book ...

"The Ghost of Frankenstein, was an American monster horror film released in 1942. The movie was the fourth of in a series of films produced by Universal Studios based upon characters in Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein and features Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Monster, taking over from Boris Karloff, who played the role in the first three films of the series, and Bela Lugosi in his second appearance as the demented Ygor. It continues the adventures of the monster and Ygor, the latter having survived Wolf von Frnkenstein's bullets in the previous film.

Ghost sees the Monster brought back to life with some help from the insane Ygor (again played by Lugosi). Ygor is forced to turn to a second son of Dr. Henry Frankenstein, Ludwig (Sir Cedric Hardwicke), in order to keep the Monster alive. When the doctor determines to replace the Monster's original criminal brain with that of a benevolent, murdered colleague, Ygor conspires to have his own brain implanted into the Monster instead. This film marked the last appearance of Ygor (who seemed to have visited a dentist since the last film) though his name, or variations of it, has gone on to become the generic name for any mad doctor's hunchbacked lab assistant.

There was no mention of a second son of the original Dr. Frankenstein in Son of Frankenstein. Ludwig states that he has lived in this area his entire life, but it is not explained why only Wolf was raised in America. The most obvious change, however, is the replacement of Karloff with the obviously less emotive Chaney who does move in a lumbering slow motion as shown when climbing up stairs to reach the small girl and walking, whereas Karloff's incarnation would actually be shown actively running as shown in Bride of Frankenstein.

It was reported that the rubber headpiece used for the Frankenstein monster make-up was very uncomfortable for Lon Chaney Jr. to wear. It sat directly on his forehead and he constantly complained. Once he asked for it to be removed. Angry and frustrated when no one listened, he ripped it off himself, tearing open a bloody gash in his forehead. Production on the film was shut down for a couple of days. During breaks in filming, Lon Chaney Jr. would often treat child cast members to ice cream. Ygor and the Monster weren't the only characters who came back from the dead. Michael Mark and Lionel Belmore, who play the two council members murdered in the previous film are back as council members in this one, seemingly none the worse for wear.

Ghost of Frankenstein also marked the changeover of the Frankenstein (and Universal Monsters) series from 'A-movie' to 'B-movie' status, with noticeably reduced budgets and the reuse of actors from previous films. As noted above, footage from this film would even be recycled in a later Frankenstein feature. This would be the last Universal film to feature the Monster as the central figure of the movie. His following appearances would be in films that focused more on the Wolf Man, who was Universal's top monster of the 1940s."

I feel kinda nerdy saying this ...

... but all day at work I was waiting to come home and watch the next part of my Franken-week!

Enjoy the show, y'all!

Have fun with our Franken-descent into low grade horror. This one has a strange Lugosi twist that makes for some very stra-a-a-ange cinema.

Tomorrow: it's time for a Frankenstein SMACKDOWN as the big monster goes up against the big howling beast in this old school classic ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Son was better than this one. Good job, rev.