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DVD review: 'Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man'

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'Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man'

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If 'Frankenstein' was successful and 'The Wolf Man' was successful, why not have the two iconic monsters meet? That was the rationale behind 'Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man'. Let's see if it worked on an aesthetic level.

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Grave robbers attempt to steal from the grave of Larry Talbot aka The Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr) during a full moon. The Wolfsbane is removed from Talbot's grave and the moon awakens this deceased monster who takes care of one of the thieves. After this lupine episode, Talbot journeys across Europe to Frankenstein's castle to attempt to learn how to permanently die and find peace. Sound familiar?

During another full moon transformation, the Wolf Man falls into the catacombs to find The Monster (Bela Legosi) frozen in a block of ice. Talbot then turns his attention to the Baroness Elsa Frankenstein (Ilona Massey) because she just might know where the late doctor's notes could be.

Further complicating the situation is an inquisitive yet reckless doctor who wants to harness the Monster's power.

This can only end badly.

It would really help to see 'The Wolf Man' and 'Ghost of Frankenstein' first as they may have provided a little context for the characters and this picks up where those films left off.

While it may have seemed logical to pair two famous monsters together for maximum audience appeal, the final product is hardly an even representation of the monsters. The Wolf Man clearly propels this story, especially early-on. It's also not a fair comparison because Talbot offers a very human aspect to this story for audiences to relate to that the Monster can't.

Legosi is an odd fit as the Monster. First of all, he is less physically imposing than Karloff's interpretation and secondly, he is still recognizable under the makeup so it's hard to buy this version. The Monster was also supposed to talk in this version (something that didn't sit well with me in 'Bride of Frankenstein') but all of his dialog scenes were cut out of here. There was also the unexplained detail in this version of the film that the Monster is blind, thus his outstretched, flailing arms in walking scenes and general lack of responsiveness in some scenes. Chaney fares far better.

Any conflict between the Wolf Man and the Monster is tacked on in a very abrupt climax that is hardly the payoff we deserve after the rest of the slow-burning plot. Talbot’s goal is intriguing and admirable, but things slow down considerably and get progressively dumber once The Monster is brought into the story. This could have been decent if it had only been a Wolf Man sequel.

Special features include: nothing.

'Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man' probably isn't one of the worst monster movie unions, by a longshot. It is just a product of studio interference, bizarre casting, a dependence on predecessors for context and the inherent silliness of the whole concept.

With that said, if you have a fondness for these types of movies, you might be able to get a little bit of enjoyment out of it, especially from Chaney's performance.

Not Rated 71 minutes 1943

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