Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man… psh. More like The Wolf Man Meets Frankenstein and with Lon Chaney Jr. back as the Wolf Man, I’m more than ok with this. The Wolf Man is without question my favorite of the Classic Universal Monster film and this film is a direct sequel to that. Also, The Ghost of Frankenstein. I think that makes the Universal Monster Films to have a shared cinematic universe. Bela Legosi plays the role of Frankenstein and honestly, I wasn’t impressed. This is probably due to the insane amount of stand-ins that were used, due to Bela Legosi suffer from exhaustion. Also, I feel it only fair to also bring up that much of Legosi’s scenes were cut due to test audiences finding a Hungarian accent coming out of Frankenstein funny and now all the scenes with Legosi speaking are lost. honestly, I don’t care. I like Frankenstein, but I love The Wolf Man and this is Frankensteins like, fourth movie. He can take a back seat.
Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man opens with a pair of hapless grave robbers, well grave robbing and the robbing in question is the tomb of Larry Talbot (Lon Cheney Jr.). When they crack open is giant stone coffin they find him perfectly preserved and surrounded in with wolf’s bane. They remove the wolf’s bane just as the full moon shines down on him, returning Larry to life. He then changes and kills one of the robbers. He’s found the next morning unconscious in the streets with a cracked skull. He’s brought the hospital and placed under the care of Dr. Mannnering (Patric Knowles). Larry is also questioned by Inspector Owen (Dennis Hoey), who has suspicions of Larry’s involvement with a murder. After transforming a couple of times and no one believing him that he turns into a Wolf that kills people, Larry escapes the hospital. He searches Brittain for Gypsy Maleva (Maria Ouspenskaya). He pleads with her for help and she agrees, saying that she will look after him as she looked after her son, who was the one who bite and cursed Larry. She takes Larry to the village of Vasaria, to look for the great Doctor Frankenstein. Who, they learn is dead and his monster with him. Larry changes again during the full moon and kills a constable and while fleeing finds the Monster frozen in ice. Larry frees the monster to see if it can bring him to Frankensteins notes, but the monster is unable to help. So Larry seeks out Baroness Elsa Frankenstein (Ilona Massey), while dining with her he has a bit of a meltdown over a local folk song and Frankenstein crashes the party. Elsa gives Frankensteins notes to Larry… and Dr. Mannering who’s somehow managed to track Larry. I think he did by following the dead bodies. But, for reasons, Dr. Mannering actually tries to revive the Monster to full strength rather than drain the life from both it and Larry. But just as Frankenstein revives fully, the full moon shines down of Larry transforming him into the Wolf Man…
I really like this film, for the most part. The only part I get hung up on is why can’t Larry die? Baylor died when Larry beat him to death with his silver cane in The Wolf Man. Why is Larry cursed to live forever? It feels like a plot hole that I just have to point at.
The acting, other than Legosi, is pretty good. I loved Lon Chaney Jr. and Maria Ouspenskaya is always a treat. The rest of the cast does an amenable job, but nothing that I will remember them for. I was severely underwhelmed by Legosi, and I know that much the blame doesn’t lay with him. But the studio that tossed out his dialogue, so this could have been a much different movie and a better performance.
Final thoughts, I liked it and for a film that a sequel in two different films, it manages to balance them admirably. Is it better than The Wolf Man or Frankenstein? Most certainly no. But it’s still fun, in places the stupid kind. Though overall the film takes it’s self seriously and I like that. Would I recommend this film? Yes, because it’s fun and a worthy sequel. 8/10