House of Frankenstein (Erle C. Kenton, 1944, USA)

House of Frankenstein, released in 1944, was another entry into the Universal horror canon directed by Erle C. Kenton. Kenton, who rose to prominence in the early 1930s directing such classics as Island of Lost Souls (1932), directed several titles in the Universal canon including House of Dracula (1945) and The Ghost of Frankenstein (1944). House of Frankenstein is notable for featuring the great Boris Karloff in a leading, speaking role. Karloff of course rose to fame with non-speaking roles as two of Universal's most famous monsters - Frankenstein's monster and the Mummy.

Karloff here is playing Dr. Gustav Niemann, a doctor on the lam with his hunchbacked assistant Daniel. Niemann ends up at Castle Frankenstein in Visaria, where he ends up resurrecting the frozen corpses of both Frankenstein's monster and Larry Talbot, also known as The Wolf Man. Count Dracula, played by veteran character actor John Carradine, also shows up in the mix at some point. 

House of Frankenstein is another bizarre entry into the Universal franchise. The poster and title for the film were conceived before the script was even written. There are aspects of the film which simply do not add up, most notably the presence of Dracula. Dracula effectively has no role within the plot of the film, but he shows up regardless. The film has an incredible pace and can barely keep up with this. Erle C. Kenton keeps up, however, and his direction as usual is above the average standard. Also interesting is Lon Chaney Jr.'s presence as a very sad and morose Larry Talbot. He is maybe one of the best suicidal characters in film history. The film ends with the usual convention of the angry mob pursuing the victims, but overall there is good fun to be had with House of Frankenstein. It is a hoot.



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