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House of Frankenstein (1944)

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Release Date: Jan 1, 1944 Wide

audience

51

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 3,567

My Rating

Movie Info

In many ways the most endearing of Universal's B-grade "monster rallies" of the 1940s, House of Frankenstein manages within its 70-minute time span to make room for Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange), Dracula (John Carradine) the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.), and a couple of new recruits, mad scientist Boris Karloff and demented hunchback J. Carroll Naish. Escaping from prison, Karloff vows to continue his diabolical efforts to emulate Dr. Frankenstein's "eternal life" experiments; he also

Unrated,

Classics, Horror

Edward T. Lowe

Mar 29, 2005

Realart Pictures Inc.

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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (4) | DVD (7)

71 incomprehensible minutes of the very worst Universal had to offer.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

This one is just bad.

February 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Creepy, fun Universal programmer featuring a bevy of beasties

October 23, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

The horror story makes absolutely no sense, but it is so nutty that it makes for a diverting watch.

February 28, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

House of Frankenstein -- choppy though it is -- has its pleasures.

February 12, 2003 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A wonderful Universal B-horror; the first of the all-star monster fests. Lots of fun with J. Carrol Naish almost stealing the show as the hunchback Daniel.

August 20, 2002
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Audience Reviews for House of Frankenstein

Gathering together the universal monsters to get revenge on your enemies sounds like a good plan, but if you think about it for a while you will realize that that's just stupid. The writers of this movie didn't think that long about it unfortunately.
October 17, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

ive noticed in these old movies that have more than one moster they deal with them one at a time indstead of combining the problems to make it more indepth.
May 31, 2009
MissMorganLeee
Morgan Salem

Super Reviewer

Frankenstein died with a whimper in this piece of garbage. Dr. Niemann (Boris Karloff) escapes from prison and has a run in with Dracula (who's in the film for 10 minutes in a stupid sub-plot), stumbles onto the Wolfman who wants help, and attempts to revitalize Frankenstein.

Crap, crap, crap. The only reason this thing gets one whole star is because Karloff is in it. Otherwise it's pure trash. Not as bad as House of Dracula, but it still sucks.
November 15, 2008
sononothing

Super Reviewer

This is the first time Universal Studios tried a Monster Mash by incorporating three of their most popular creatures into one film: Dracula, The Wolf Man and Frankenstein's Monster. The results are quite good, mostly due to the performers chosen for their parts. This is not supposed to be sophisticated film-making or storytelling; just a fun ghoulish romp, perfectly suited for a Halloween Night. And it succeeds admirably.

Boris Karloff returned to the Frankenstein Series with this installment, and it's an asset to the picture to have him. Some fans have accused him of walking through his part as a mad scientist here, but I've always found this to be a very understated kind of calculated evil, and he's very good here. He portrays the mad Dr. Niemann, who once dared to follow in the footsteps of the original Frankenstein, and as a result was jailed for his unethical experiments along with his hunchbacked assistant, Daniel. When a severe thunderstorm destroys the foundation of the prison he's housed in, Niemann manages an escape and attempts to locate the original diary of Dr. Frankenstein, running into Dracula, the Wolf Man, and the Frankenstein Monster along the way.

J. Carrol Naish scores high points with his portrayal of the sympathetic hunchbacked assistant to Karloff, and manages to stir up our emotions as he pines away for cute gypsy girl Elena Verdugo. Lon Chaney plays The Wolf Man for a third time here, and though he's saddled with some silly dialogue ("why have you freed me from the ice that imprisoned the beast that lived within me?") he has now made the tragic character of Larry Talbot the werewolf all his own. He is desperate to aid Dr. Niemann however he can, in the hopes that the scientist may be able to return the favor by curing him of his curse.

John Carradine is exceptional as Dracula, playing the part differently than Bela Lugosi had. What Carradine lacked in the creepy "otherworldliness" of Bela, he made up for with aristocratic evil. His physical look is actually much closer to how Bram Stoker described the character in his novel, "Dracula". Glenn Strange takes on the role of the hulking and imposing Frankenstein Monster for the first time, and is the next best to Karloff's interpretation of the creature, in terms of appearance. Hans J. Salter again provides a wonderfully haunting music score. Director Erle C. Kenton accentuates the proceedings with gloomy sets, dark nights and the customary thunder and lightning.

This monster fest is light and breezy, packing much into its brief 70 minute running time. If there is any quibble to be made for HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, it would be with regard to the episodic way in which its three monsters are worked into the plot. Dracula has an early segment all his own, and then the second half switches to the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein Monster. None of the creatures cross paths with another, and their screen time as ghouls is limited (especially the case for the Monster). But this is just a technicality; for those who don't go into it expecting High Art, there is still much fun to be had within the House of Frankenstein.
August 12, 2007
matertenebraum

Super Reviewer

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  • House of Frankenstein (1944) (UK)
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