Ismail Yzassin Meets Frankenstein (1954)

The world of strange film is, well, strange.

Just as Mexican director Benito Alazraki remade Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein for his own country as Frankenstein el Vampiro y Compañía, Isa Karamah made it for Egyptian audiences as Haram alek, which was also released as Pitié! (Pity!) in France, Ismail Yassin Meets Frankenstein in the UK, Ismail and Abdel Meet Frankenstein and Have Mercy in the U.S. and Shame on You in the rest of the world.

It’s the same kind of cross-cultural remixing that happened when you look at El Planeta De Las Mujeres Invasoras from Mexico, the Turkish Uçan Daireler Istanbul and another film by the comedy duo, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars.

Were Bud and Lou so influential? Were they just playing with easily remade archetypes like comedic men meeting the once frightening Universal monsters and aliens? Is it the collective unconsciousness at work?

The difference is that both Ismail Yassin and Abdel Fattah El Kasri can’t play a straight man — in the comedic sense — to save both their lives. So they both end up playing Lou Costello when this remake needs a Bud Abbott.

Yet the monsters are all translated to be Egyptian in nature, with Professor Assem stepping in for Dracula as some kind of never dying ancient Egyptian who can turn into a bat and wants the secret in a box, which is Frankenstein’s Monster by way of a mummy. But they’re not really twins for who they should be, making this anything but a true ripoff.

As for Dr. Morad, the werewolf, he has his curse because he planned on telling the truth about the professor, so he’s just as heroic — more so, to be truthful — than our bumbling antique store employee leads.

The end, instead of Vincent Price as the Invisible Man, has an Angel of Death show up to frighten our heroes.

It’s not an essential watch, but it’s certainly an interesting one.

You can download this from the Internet Archive.

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