Ghost of Frankenstein (Erle C. Kenton, 1942, USA)

Ghost of Frankenstein is another bizarro entry in the 1940s Universal monster canon. The fourth film in the Frankenstein franchise, following the original 1931 FrankensteinBride of Frankenstein, and Son of FrankensteinGhost opens where the prior film left off, with Ygor (Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein's monster (Lon Chaney Jr.) being chased out of town. This includes one of the film's most memorable moments when Frankenstein's monster is struck by lightning and is rejuvenated. Eventually, Ygor hooks up with the younger son of Dr. Frankenstein in another town (played by Cedric Hardwicke, who is perhaps best known as the Pharaoh in The Ten Commandments), and tries to convince him to continue the experiments of his father. Ygor ultimately succeeds in getting the younger Frankenstein to swap his brain into the monster's, to very disastrous results.

While Ghost of Frankenstein feels somewhat slipshod - you can almost hear the screenwriters deciding on the spot what new ideas to introduce to the plot - it is very entertaining. Lon Chaney, Jr. is a decent Frankenstein's monster. Unfortunately, he does not have the gravitas of Boris Karloff, and it often looks like his eyes are closed. The real star of the show here is Bela Lugosi as Ygor. He is a tremendous performer and brings a ton of energy to the performance. Also of note are the costumes. The score is also a standout aspect of the film.

Upon its release, Ghost of Frankenstein received decent reviews, and despite its silly plot, it is overall too short and fast-paced not to ultimately enjoy. The set design is top-notch and Universal made the most of recycling sets from their previous films. There is also a lot of action in the film, with Frankenstein's monster fighting off various figures. This Universal monster film is too fun to miss out on. 



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