The American proprietor of a house of horrors
has the bodies of Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster
shipped over from London for display in his museum.
But they turn out not to be dead! Lawrence Talbott,
aka the Wolfman (Chaney), has pursued the coffins from
London to try to stop Dracula, whose plan is to revive
the weakened Monster with a new brain. Chick Young and
Wilbur Grey (Abbott and Costello) are freight handlers
who deliver the boxes and get mixed up in the plot because
the svelte doctor corralled by Dracula to perform the
surgery, Dr. Sandra Mornay, decides Wilbur's brain would
be perfect for the monster. Dracula and Mornay abduct
Wilbur and Talbott and Chick rush to save him. But Talbott
turns into the Wolfman and all three monsters go on
the rampage. This 1948 film has a nice mix of Abbott
and Costello verbal shtick and classic horror: the monsters
and sets look good, Glenn Strange stands in for Karloff
as the Monster, and Vincent Price makes a brief cameo
at the end as the voice of the Invisible Man.
These are the movie monsters who put a spell on me as
a child growing up. This is a timeless movie-- a classic
that can be viewed over and over again, and still make
you laugh as if it was the first time watching it.
Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein is campy at its
best. Stitched, stapled, glued, and pressed over with
side-aching comedy, then quenched down with good old-fashioned
creatures and chilling fright.
Chick Young (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur Grey (Lou Costello)
are package handlers who wind up with the dubious honors
(not really) of delivering two exhibits to Mr. McDougal's
(Frank Ferguson) House of Horrors. Inside these crates
are the "supposed remains" of the real Dracula
and Frankenstein monsters.
Wilbur's not too keen on delivering anything wax or
otherwise to a House of Horrors--especially after he
received a call from London earlier in the day from
Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.), who believes Dracula
and the Monster are alive. He didn't want the crates
moved until he showed up. (He pretended to be Mr. McDougal,
but it didn't work.) Not to mention, it will be dark
and stormy when they do.
Chick just wants to get the job done without his partner
causing any more heebie jeebie interruptions. Of course,
once inside the House of Horrors, Wilbur sees Dracula
himself as well as Frankenstein's Monster.
So who you gonna call when that happens?
Chick thinks Wilbur's a little batty himself, and every
time there is a perfect moment for Chick to see the
creatures, a wonderfully timed ballet of comedic timing
has Chick missing every dead monster in sight.
Now for the bad news... Drac and Frank, well, they
flew the coop, and Mr. McDougal has arrived to look
at his exhibitions. Doesn't look too good for Wilbur
and Chick except... Larry Talbot is one of the good
guys who found out Dracula is alive and wants to give
Frankenstein's monster a new brain.(Larry sure was using
his noodle on that one!)
But by the light of the full moon, Larry's also the
werewolf. He wants to help the boys stop Dracula and
Frankenstein from doing horrible deeds, but with the
blood of the werewolf pulsing through his veins, he
has to fight hard not to give into temptation.
Insurance agent Joan Raymond (Jane Raymond) is on a
mission to find out what happened to the missing exhibitions.
Her role is to swoon and intoxicate Wilbur into telling
her where they are. Sandra Mornay (Lenore Aubert), Wilbur's
girlfriend with shady reasons behind that, is a doctor
of the worst kind: she's a mad scientist who's in cohoots
with Dracula (Bela Lugosi) to find a brain for Frankenstein's
monster (Glenn Strange).
Did I mention she found the perfect donor? Yep, its
Wilbur! Poor little guy is thinking these two beautiful
ladies are after him and fighting for his affections,
and well, he's kind of right. Sandra wants him for his
brain, and Joan wants him to sing like a canary to find
the exhibitions that the insurance agency thinks he
and Chick stole.
Wilbur and Chick are in for some hair-raising situations,
hoping they get out in one piece and without any permanent
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are like peanut butter
and jelly. Sure you can enjoy one without the other,
but when they're smushed together, it's just delicious!
One of my favorite horror monsters is Lon Chaney, Jr.
as the werewolf. Here is a man who with every fight
in his soul does not want to be the evil that possesses
him. A soft-spoken man, his powerful presence on the
silver screen has made him an actor who, in his generation,
made star qualities shine so bright.
Bela Lugosi's vampire is perfection! You see I have
this vampire obsession. My taste is very particular
in choosing vampires. He has to have certain traits,
charms if you will, that leave you hungry for wanting
more. Lugosi sure knew what he was sinking his teeth
into in this role!
Glenn Strange's performance as Frankenstein is all
good, too! He gets scarier and more crazed near the
end of the film. I would even say pretty intense and
violent, keeping in true form of what the monster is
made from. A frightful image presented more than I expected!
Frank Ferguson was great! He played a hardened, cranky,
irritated businessman who was stressed to the max.
Jane Randolph and Lenore Aubert were splendid. These
ladies had finesse, and were strong, motivated woman.
Of course, one was a sick and twisted doctor; the other
a sneaky love trap vixen.
With all the above mentioned, this is what made this
movie so authentic. Having the horror of the monsters
make sense along side of the comedy can only be accomplished
by letting the monsters be who they are--themselves--and
allow the people reacting to them to be, well, scared
No better men will answer the question: Can a monster
be a man? Well, if so, these monster men are kings of
their domain. Even more so when all are together strutting
their monster-attitude selves across the silver screen.
Don't forget the eerie backdrop... the swirling fog
muffling over London's chiming bell tower, whistling
winds, flickering candlelight, a castle atop of a mountain
overlooking the shimmering sea, the classic moving walls
that bring you into another room... Whoa! Monsters are
waiting there for YOU! Who would've guessed? Eek!
It is just too funny. When you introduce two hilariously
fellows as Abbott and Costello (true talents) to the
creature powers of the undead and rage of the full moon's
cursed offspring, you're bound to be in for a howling,
growling, batty good time.
Oh, by the way, at the end of the movie, there is one
last monster surprise that sneaks up on you. You won't
see him, but you'll sure hear him!
Happy watching--if you dare!