Curt Siodmak (I Walked with a Zombie, Son of Dracula) made a joke to producer George Waggner that he needed a downpayment for a car and that they should make Frankenstein Wolfs the Meat Man. It was lunch. He was joking. Waggner called him to his office and said, “Go ahead, buy the car.” That’s how this movie, the sequel to The Wolf Man and The Ghost of Frankenstein got made.
Bela Lugosi plays Frankenstein’s Monster here, eight years after he turned down the role that made Boris Karloff famous. This follows up the Monster getting the brain of Ygor and speaking in his voice at the end of Ghost. In the original version of this film, the Monster would speak for the entire film — in a Hungarian accent — and audiences could not accept it. Also, the fact that the Monster was blind as a side effect of the transplant was negated and many of these scenes were cut.
Grave robbers break into the coffin of Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) and remove the wolfsbane on his body, which turns him back into the werewolf that his father’s bullets put to sleep. He makes his way to Vasaria, the home of Dr. Frankenstein, who he hopes can cure him once and for all.
There’s also the plot of Dr. Mannering, Lionel Atwill’s Mayor and Baroness Elsa Frankenstein trying to destroy the Monster. As a kid, I booed these horrible humans and their attempts to make this movie boring by stopping these awesome creatures from causing chaos.
Lugosi turned sixty while making this movie and suffered from exhaustion, so he was often doubled for any of the strenuous parts of the film. This is also the last Universal Monster movie for Dwight Frye, who died the very same year.
Here’s something nice, at least. The German shepherd that played Bruno is dog Bruno, who he adopted after he played the wolf that attacked him in The Wolf Man.
This film was part of the Shock Theater package that started off the monster kid era. These 52 films are pretty much the foundations of pre-1948 horror. Trust me, I watched them all so many times that I can recite them when asked.
In today’s Marvel movie world, we just accept movies crossing over and universe building. These movies just made it happen. They’re so ingrained in our DNA that crossover movies — King Kong vs. Godzilla and Alien vs. Predator — pay tribute by using the music and scenes from this film.