106 user 62 critic

The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

Approved | | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | 13 March 1942 (USA)
Dr. Frankenstein's plans to replace the brain of his monster are hijacked by his scheming and malevolent assistant Ygor.


Erle C. Kenton


Scott Darling (screenplay) (as W. Scott Darling), Eric Taylor (original story)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Lon Chaney Jr. ... The Monster (as Lon Chaney)
Cedric Hardwicke ... Ludwig Frankenstein / Ghost of Henry Frankenstein (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Ralph Bellamy ... Erik Ernst
Lionel Atwill ... Doctor Theodore Bohmer
Bela Lugosi ... Ygor
Evelyn Ankers ... Elsa Frankenstein
Janet Ann Gallow Janet Ann Gallow ... Cloestine Hussman
Barton Yarborough ... Dr. Kettering
Doris Lloyd ... Martha
Leyland Hodgson ... Chief Constable
Olaf Hytten ... Hussman
Holmes Herbert ... Magistrate


Ygor resurrects Frankenstein's monster and brings him to the original doctor's son, Ludwig, for help. Ludwig, obsessed with the idea of restoring the monster to full power, is unaware that his various associates all have different ideas about whose brain is to be transplanted into the monster's skull. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


During breaks in filming, Lon Chaney Jr. would often treat child cast members to ice cream. See more »


For some reason, after Ygor's brain is transplanted into the monster, the monster speaks in Ygor's own voice! There is no reason for this to be believable as the transplant did not include Ygor's vocal cords. See more »


[first lines]
Villager: There's a curse upon this village, the curse of Frankenstein.
Crowd: Aye.
Older Villager: Aye, it is true. The whole countryside shuns the village. Our fields are barren, the inn is empty.
Village Mother of Hungry Children: My little ones cry in their sleep. They are hungry. There is no bread.
Older Villager: It's the curse, the curse of Frankenstein.
Mayor: This is nonsense, folks. You talk as though these were the Dark Ages. You know as well as I do that the monster died in the sulfur pit under Frankenstein's tower. And that Ygor, his familiar, was riddled with ...
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Alternate Versions

A truncated version was released to the 8mm home movie market as The Trial of Frankenstein. See more »


Referenced in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo: That's Monstertainment (1985) See more »

User Reviews

Frankenstein's Monster Starts Losing Steam
2 October 2012 | by brando647See all my reviews

Squeezing every little bit of profit out of a popular film franchise is not a new practice. It may feel like a modern convention to run a franchise into the ground as long as the audience is willing to shell out the cash, but it's been going on for decades. Universal Pictures struck gold with their classic series of movie monsters and, as a result, they were sure to release as many films as audiences would pay to see. THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN was the fourth film from Universal with their famous shambling abomination. It was at this point that the series was starting to lose a bit of steam. I suppose there is only so much you can do with a creature like Frankenstein's monster without retreading the same ground. The movie opens with the inhabitants of the village of Frankenstein demanding justice. They believe they've lived under the curse of Frankenstein long enough and a rash decision is made to burn Frankenstein's castle to the ground. In the process, the mob makes the unfortunate mistake of freeing Frankenstein's monster from the sulfur pit in which he's trapped and unleashing him again on the world. Knowing the village will never let them rest, the eternally loyal Ygor helps the monster escape to the town of Vasaria. In Vasaria, Ygor seeks the aid of Frankenstein's other son, Ludwig. A successful neurosurgeon, Ludwig might be just the help Ygor needs in utilizing the monster's incredible power for his own needs. His goal: to transfer his brain into the body of the monster and gain his strength.

The problem with the Frankenstein movies is that they all follow the same pattern: monster on the loose, angry mob with torches, evil science that is an affront to nature. We all know the drill. The first movies were great but I wish the later movies had either tried to break out of the mold or put the monster to rest. GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN finds yet another relative of the original mad scientist being brought into the mix. He is, of course, a talented scientist in the field of neuroscience, having removed a brain for surgery and replaced it successfully back in the skull. This is too good an opportunity for the devious Ygor, portrayed by Bela Lugosi. Lugosi is the best part of this movie as the evil hunchback. He is conniving and simple-minded, desperate to protect his only "friend", the monster. All he wants is to be forever unified with his friend and, if he happens to become immortal and all-powerful in the process, all the better. Lugosi is the only stand out performance in the movie. Cedric Hardwicke is nothing special as the tortured Ludwig, forced into a position where he must resort to extreme measures. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders, but why he would agree to save the monster from dissection (the only means of truly killing it) is beyond me. Even more baffling is the motivation behind the less-then-noble Doctor Bohmer (Lionel Atwell). Ygor offers him power, wealth, and the respect of his field if he agrees to sneak Ygor's brain into the surgery, but why would Bohmer, an intelligent man in his own right, believe the empty promises of an evil man such as Ygor? I don't know. He just does. Roll with it.

It's all good though. I'm not worried about some poor character decisions. It all works within the scope of the movie. It's a classic creature feature with all the usual tropes we've come to expect. It doesn't rise to the level as the original, and certainly not as high as BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. It's still an entertaining film, even if it feels a tad generic at this point. Lugosi is great, and Lon Chaney Jr. stands in well enough since Boris Karloff had left his iconic role at this point. If you're a fan of the classics, you can't go wrong with this fun little time-waster. As far as I'm concerned, even the weakest Frankenstein movie is still a more enjoyable tale than a lot of modern films.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

13 March 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ghost of Frankenstein See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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