Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (Roy William Neill, 1943, USA)

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man was the first in a series of monster mash-ups that Universal would become known for throughout the 1940s. The film was directed by Irish director Roy William Neill, who was responsible for a large number of Sherlock Holmes films for Universal. The script was written by Curt Siodmak, an immensely prolific screenwriter who was responsible for, among other horror titles, the original 1941 Wolf Man. The film takes place after the events of The Wolf Man and The Ghost of Frankenstein, and the film opens with two men opening the grave of Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) to steal his jewelry. This is one of the most effective and genuinely creepy moments in the film, with Chaney waking up and grabbing the arm of one of the grave robbers.

Talbot is found by police and taken to the hospital. Talbot eventually escapes the hospital and ends up in the fictional village of Vasalia. Frankenstein eventually shows up, played here by Bela Lugosi. It is unfortunate that the filmmakers ultimately decided to scrap all of Lugosi's dialogue, as he makes a good Frankenstein. Lon Chaney Jr. is very effective. His performances as the Wolf Man - where his main objective is always to die - carry a great deal of weight and gravitas with them. It seems that Talbot is talking about suicide for much of the movie. The film's climax delivers on the title of the film and is one of the more impressive monsters fights ever to grace the silver screen. The epic climactic battle makes the price of admission worth it, even if the middle section of the film drags somewhat. The film is also worth watching for the performances of Lugosi, Chaney Jr., and the great Hungarian actress Ilona Massey, who plays Baroness Elsa Frankenstein.

6/10

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