Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) Poster

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8/10
Universal Smackdown
simeon_flake8 February 2005
One must pity the Wolf Man. Marked not only with the pentagram, but marked to never have a sequel that was all his own. A real shame, considering that even the likes of the Mummy got 'four' sequels. Universal begins their monster-mash rallies of the 1940s here, as Wolfie must share his sandbox with the "undying monster" & the two get along well for the most part, but eventually, even the best of friends will have their disputes....

The film begins on a very high note, with one of the most chilling and atmospheric openings in any horror movie. The potential was certainly here for a great 'Wolf Man' sequel that could've surpassed the original. Too bad the monster has to rear his ugly, stitched up head.

Speaking of that monster, "Poor Bela" always get the blame dumped on him for why this film had to be chopped up in post-production, the story always being that the monster with his voice was simply too "Hungarian funny", yet this film was produced by the same Universal that a year earlier made "Ghost of Frankenstein" which featured the monster with Bela's voice. It didn't bother anyone then, so what was the problem now? There has to be more to the story than "it was all Lugosi's fault". Would it be considered out of the realm of possibility to speculate that perhaps the great Curt Siodmak (the screenwriter) wrote some seriously crappy dialogue for the creature to recite that would've produced titters no matter who spoke it?

Also marring the proceedings a bit is some shaky continuity in regards to the monster's portion of the story if you're familiar with the previous 'Ghost' movie. How is it, that there's suddenly a Frankenstein castle in Vasaria (or is it Vi·Saria), when in the previous film, the villagers in the town called "Frankenstein" blew it up. And there are many instances where the screenwriter doesn't seem to know the difference between Ludwig Frankenstein & his father Henry who made the monster, as Talbot, the villagers, even Baroness Frankenstein speak as if Ludwig actually created the monster.

And yet, in spite of its inconsistencies (not to mention the heavy editing done to it), the whole of 'FMTWM' still turns out very good, and the ending clash of the monsters is very entertaining. While Frankenstein fans may be disappointed, this picture definitely works as a great 'Wolf Man' sequel & one of the top Universal romps from the 1940s. After this picture, Dracula and a few other fiends would get invited to the monster party.

8/10
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7/10
The Underrated One
Of all of the later Frankenstein movies made by Universal, this one seems to be overlooked when compared to the previous "Ghost of Frankenstein" or the campy fun of "House of Frankenstein". Nevertheless, "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman" is probably the best of the bunch.

A direct sequel to both "The Wolf Man" and "Ghost of Frankenstein", the plot follows Larry Talbot (played again by Lon Chaney Jr.), the werewolf, who realizes that he can't die. In order to find inner peace he is on a quest for death, and Maleva, the gypsy, takes him to Vasaria, in order to fin Dr. Frankenstein. When they realize that Frankenstein is dead, Talbot finds the Creature (Bela Lugosi), now with Ygor's brain but severely damaged. When a doctor teams up with Talbot in order to help him, the Wolf Man won't be happy to discover the doctor's true intentions.

This movie is carried by Chaney Jr. who is totally inside the character of the Wolf Man. It is probably Chaney's best performance as beast, and he steals every scene he is in. As Talbot, he shows the horrible trauma of being an unwilling murderer, giving the character a greater presence that fills the screen with charm.

Bela Lugosi, as the creature, has more troubles to be satisfying, but it is important to note that most of his scenes were changed as the previous subplot of Ygor's brain was abandoned. Bad choice since the first scenes with the monster show him confused and blind without giving any explanation. The poor editing is responsible of Lugosi's apparent bad performance.

The rest of the cast is surprisingly good, with old friends like Lionel Atwill and Dwight Frye in small supporting roles. Beautiful Ilona Massey plays Elsa Frankenstein who in an odd change appears as a cold smart businesswoman vastly different from the character's traits in "Ghost of Frankenstein". Nevertheless, Massey plays the role with grace and her beauty shines in the screen.

Director Roy William Neill, known for his Sherlock Holmes movies, does a superior work than predecessor Erle C. Kenton and makes the most of his actors. Depsite the plot holes of the story and the awful changes the studio made to the original script, the movie flows with a good pace.

The whole atmosphere is an improvement that while it never reaches the levels of "Bride" or "Son", works very well and give the film a distinctive look.

Overall, a worthy addition to the Frankenstein saga, that even when it certainly could have been better, it is an enjoyable underrated movie. 7/10
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The Best of the Wartime Universal Monster Movies
ANDREWEHUNT29 December 2004
"Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man" (1943) is, in the opinion of this reviewer, the last of the really good Universal monster features. It is definitely not in the same league as the the early James Whale and Todd Browning classics (e.g., "Frankenstein," "The Bride of Frankenstein," "Dracula," "The Invisible Man," etc.). Nor is it quite as strong as "The Son of Frankenstein." But it easily rivals "The Ghost of Frankenstein" and far surpasses the two House Of films ("House of Frankenstein" and "House of Dracula"). Lon Chaney Jr. is even better in this film than he is in the original "Wolf Man" (1941). And Lugosi is an impressive Frankenstein's monster, despite the studio's decision to cut references from the film to his blindness (a condition suffered by the monster in "The Ghost of Frankenstein") and his dialogue (again, from acquiring the brain of Ygor in "Ghost"). The film is beautifully photographed, well acted and a unique departure from previous Universal monster fests in the way it teams up two legendary creatures. It's a splendid later entry in the Universal horror cycle. After this, the universal horror films left much to be desired, at least until the magnificent "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" (1948). I still put "Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man" in the DVD player if I'm feeling like watching what in my opinion is the studio's finest wartime horror film.
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Universal Fun!
terrorfan15 May 2001
Though not nearly up to the standards and fun level of "Ghost Of Frankenstein", this neat little Universal gem has it's heart in the right place! Wonderful opening sequence in the graveyard, plenty of atmosphere, typically gorgeous Universal studio sets and it's famous monsters! What more can you ask for? Chaney is superb as the tormented Larry Talbot but Bela leaves quite a bit to be desired as the monster. Universal would have been better off using Glen Strange one film earlier instead of waiting for 1944's "House Of Frankenstein". All in all, a fun film that staggers a bit after a rip-roaring start!
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7/10
Not a classic, but a decent sequel.
Noel (Teknofobe70)6 April 2005
A year after The Wolf Man became a huge success, Lon Chaney Jr played the part of Frankenstein in the latest sequel "Ghost of Frankenstein". He was excellent in the role, and from that you can clearly see where the inspiration came from to combine the two strands and have these characters meet each other. Incidentally, Chaney also played a vampire later that year in "Son of Dracula", even though he was completely unsuited to the part, but that makes him the only actor to play all three of Universal's main monsters. Oh, and he also played the Mummy in "The Mummy's Tomb".

Anyway, I digress ... here we have Curt Siodmak, writer of The Wolf Man, returning again as screenwriter. All of the ingredients are there for a great sequel. It opens in Larry Talbot's tomb, with two graverobbers breaking in and disturbing his resting place. The moonlight comes through the window and falls on Larry's corpse, waking him from his slumber as the wolf man. He then gets taken to a hospital where he is deemed insane due to his insistence that he's a werewolf, but promptly escapes in search of the gypsy woman from the original film. She takes him to Frankenstein's town in search of his scientific expertise, and there he encounters Frankenstein's monster encased in ice ... my memory is a little hazy, but wasn't he consumed in fire at the end of the last movie? Ah, well.

It should really have been called "The Wolf Man Meets Frankenstein", because Frankenstein here is only a fairly minor character in the story. Lon Chaney Jr delivers another great performance, at least as good as that in the first film if not better. Of course, he does only have to have one mood to convey here -- desperation. Bela Lugosi, much as I love him, is a terrible Frankenstein. He's the wrong size and shape, and he clearly has no respect for the role. Thank god he doesn't appear for that long. Although having said that, it does kind of make sense that he plays the monster, as the brain of his Igor character was placed in Frankenstein's head at the end of the previous movie. Not that they have much continuity other than that.

The script certainly has it's moments, and the atmosphere of the two worlds of the Wolf Man and Frankenstein blend together fairly well, but on the whole this film just doesn't have enough interesting ideas and far too many dull moments. The set pieces are decent enough, but certainly not as striking as those in the earlier Frankenstein movies. Also, there's a fair bit of decidedly wooden acting from certain cast members, but that's to be expected from most of Universal's horror films.

This sequel is entertaining enough, but it's not half as good as it could have been. It's worth watching if you liked the original.
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8/10
Loved it when I was a kid; still love it now!
Prichards123454 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is really as cheeky a concept as you can get for a movie: a classic literary character from the work of Mary Shelley meets a 1940s-created Hollywood werewolf! And yet, as my ten-year old self discovered, and as my older and not in the least more sophisticated adult self realises, it's a film that really works.

For one thing, it's wonderfully atmospheric, thanks to Roy William Neill's moody direction, crisp cinematography and sincere performances from the actors. The opening shot is one of the best in Universal's horror cannon, the camera dollying over a gloomy cemetery while crows hop and croak as two grave robbers make their way to the Talbot tomb. They didn't choose the time particularly well, for it is a full moon, and all that's needed to bring the Wolfman (Lon Chaney) back from the dead is its silver-white touch on Talbot's dead hand.

Chaney is excellent as the tormented Talbot; unfortunately studio interference - the editing out of the monster's (played by Bela Lugosi) dialogue and blindness (until the end) make Bela's performance inexplicable to those not in the know. Happily we have compensations in the form of Lionel Atwill, Maria Ouspenskaya, Dwight Frye (back for a last Universal hurrah before his untimely death) and the ravishing Ilona Massey. We even have Inspector Lestrade turn up in the form of Denis Hoey. He might be called Inspector Owen in this movie, but he's got the same overcoat and bowler Hoey wears in his Rathbone Sherlock Holmes' movies.

Talbot escapes from an asylum and heads for Visaria, seeking the secret of Frankenstein's unholy science. He just wants to die and end the torture of his 3 times a month transformations. After various adventures he thaws out Henry's creation and the two quickly turn up Frankenstein's Secrets of Life And Death diary; the monster (with Ygor's brain inside him - see Ghost of Frankenstein) is also seeking to be restored to full power.

Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman even has a barnstorming musical song as the village celebrates the Festival of The New Wine, "For life is short and death is long" being verbal torture for Talbot. The monster comes searching for his new friend and certainly puts a dampener on things for the villagers!

The climactic fight between our titans of terror may have dated but it worked for audiences of the time and on the whole this is a film I never tire of re-watching.

To summarise, cheeky concept, excellent movie!
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Atmospheric, silly, and even a little sad
Brian W. Fairbanks10 September 1999
Poor Bela Lugosi. After achieving big-screen stardom in 1931's "Dracula," he turned down the role of the Monster in "Frankenstein," calling the inaudible creature a part for an "idiot" or a "tall extra" (according to William Gregory Manks' fine book on the Frankenstein series, "It's Alive"). As a result, a bit player named Boris Karloff accepted the part and became the cinema's number one boogieman, far eclipsing the proud Hungarian actor who would soon be reduced to supporting roles, often second-billed to the lisping Englishman he is often said to have envied and despised. For Lugosi, "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman" may have been more traumatic and embarrassing than the Ed Wood films he would soon be reduced to appearing in, because here the rarely employed actor was cast in the very role he so proudly declined, the role that helped put his more successful rival on the map.

As the Monster, Lugosi is pretty terrible but his ineffective performance was made worse in the editing room where his dialogue was cut out after it was decided that the Monster should not have an Hungarian accent. Yet Lugosi's lips move and he flails his arms about as if he were speaking. It's a rather sad footnote to what is an enjoyable horror yarn, albeit one that was perhaps the first step in turning Universal's classic horror characters into a joke, ones that would soon have no choice but to meet Abbott and Costello. What really makes this one memorable is the atmosphere provided by the great and unheralded Roy William Neill, then taking a break from the studio's Sherlock Holmes series. This film has a wonderful look that helps make it the best of the later Frankenstein films produced by the studio (although everything after 1939's "Son of Frankenstein" represented a steady and steep decline for the series).
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6/10
Fun enough, but somewhat lacking
The_Void1 October 2006
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man may not be the most interesting film that Universal studios made in their horror golden era, but it's worth noting for the fact that it was the first of their films to merge the studio's popular horror characters into one film. There's no Dracula here, and it's actually the least famous of the three major players, the Wolfman, that takes the centre stage. Naturally, Lon Chaney Jr. has returned to play the doomed unfortunate with the curse, and as ever; his performance is good, but not to the same extent that it was in the original Wolfman film. The film was released during the Second World War, and must have been intended as something fun to take people's mind off more important issues; and it at least succeeds on that front. The plot is rather silly, and sees Lawrence Talbot (a.k.a. The Wolfman) being awakened by grave robbers. He doesn't like the fact that he's immortal and feels the need to kill people, so he sets out to find Dr Frankenstein for help. However, the doctor is dead; and Talbot finds only a relative of Frankenstein's, and the Monster...

It has to be said that there's a bit too much going on in this film, and the hour runtime isn't enough to cover it all. Aside from the main plot revolving around the Wolfman and his discovery of Frankenstein's Monster, we've also got threads involving Frankenstein's relatives, a gypsy woman, Talbot's own personal battle and the common angry/frightened villagers theme that Universal horror does so well. Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman is never boring, but if the plot line could have been streamlined; the film would have worked better. The film features the only performance from Bela Lugosi as the Monster. Lugosi was, apparently, offered the role of the Monster in James Whale's original film; and I'm glad he didn't take it, as he doesn't bring the same feel to the role as Karloff ended up doing. Series regular Lionel Atwill also makes an appearance, and I was pleased to see Dennis Hoey in the film; an actor most recognised for his performances as the inept Inspector Lestrade in Universal's Sherlock Holmes films. Overall, I have to say that I preferred the later films, House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula; but this one is still worth seeing.
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7/10
Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man in another fun film from Universal
TheLittleSongbird22 December 2014
Not one of Universal's best horror entries (it's not as good as its predecessor The Wolf Man, which is a very good film indeed), but it holds up well as a fun and charming film with a lot of atmosphere. It does end too abruptly for my tastes and Bela Lugosi looks very ill at ease, too sharp-featured and far from imposing as the Frankenstein monster. To be fair though to Lugosi it is not entirely his fault, as the character is poorly developed and written and you can actually tell that his screen time was intended to have been longer, hence why some of the story was in want of more explanation(the blindness was important and that was literally ignored). Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is a very good-looking film, it's beautifully shot with eerie lighting and the sets give off a real Gothic horror atmosphere but look sumptuous at the same time. The music fits well, complimenting the thrills without sounding overbearing and stock. The script is very witty and cohesive with only with the monster where it felt incomplete, while the story is always compelling filled with entertainment and the scares positively thrill. Especially good is the opening sequence which is brilliant, so chilling and effectively atmospheric that you are excited to see what follows afterwards, to me it is one of the best openings to a Universal horror during this period and even after. The monster brawl is a lot of fun as well. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is skilfully directed throughout, is briskly paced, the characters are engaging without being fully dimensional and the acting is mostly solid apart from Lugosi. Illona Massey is a smouldering and unusually smart Elsa and Dwight Frye and Lionel Atwill provide entertaining support. Coming off best is Lon Chaney Jnr as Talbot aka The Wolf Man who's superb, goose bump-inducing but movingly sympathetic as well. His makeup is just as good as it was in The Wolf Man. Overall, fun, charming and atmospheric, not perfect by any stretch but well worth the watch and goes very well with The Wolf Man. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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8/10
Fun but flawed, and don't blame Bela
stew1004 July 2000
It's true that this is a better sequel to "The Wolf Man" (in fact I like the first twenty-five minutes of this movie more that "The Wolf Man."), but it's a better Frankenstein film than "House of Frankenstein" or "House of Dracula" because the Monster has more to do here, and it's better than "Ghost of Frankenstein" just because it's more fun. Poor Bela Lugosi gets ripped all the time for what a terrible job he did as the Monster in this one, but in fairness his role was severely edited. The monster originally could talk and was blind, but the producers felt Lugosi's voice coming from the Monster was more funny than frightening, and his dialogue wasn't all that great anyway, so out it all went. It's for this reason that the monster acts so strangely in the final cut, and the Monster was supposed to be sick anyway. It was a mistake to cast the too old Lugosi as the Monster, but don't blame Bela -- he probably did the best he could, but we'll never know. I also think it was a mistake to cast Lon Chaney Jr. as the Monster in "Ghost." Both he and Lugosi were too round-faced to take over from Karloff. And the ending of "Ghost" was one of the biggest blunders in the entire series. But this film manages to survive all the mistakes and still be very entertaining. I've probably seen it fifty times in my life, and I can always watch it again.
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