House of Frankenstein


House of Frankenstein

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 11


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,661
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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 swears vengeance on the three men (Sig Ruman, Frank Reicher and Michael Mark) who were responsible for sending him to prison. With the help of fellow escapee Naish, Karloff murders a travelling-carnival impresario (George Zucco) and assumes his identity. He travels first to the village where Ruman is burgomaster. Since his carnival is a "chamber of horrors", Karloff utilizes one of those horrors--Count Dracula--to settle his account with Ruman. Dracula does so, but dies when the first rays of sunlight stream across his body. En route to the next village, Naish gives shelter to runaway gypsy girl Elena Verdugo, who joins the caravan (though she remains incredibly naive concerning Karloff's intentions!) Coming to the village when the Frankenstein monster and the Wolfman were presumably drowned at the end of Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1944), Karloff revives the latter, who when he's not baying at the moon is the comparatively good-looking Lawrence Talbot. Karloff secures Talbot's cooperation by promising to perform some brain surgery that will relieve him of his lycanthropy. Later on, Karloff kidnaps and kills his other enemies Mark and Reicher, intending to use their brains to cure Talbot and to reactivate the Frankenstein monster. Jealous of Verdugo's attentions towards Talbot, Naish rebels against Karloff, and is killed for his troubles. Talbot turns into the Wolfman, whereupon Verdugo kills him before expiring herself. And Karloff, rendered immobile by the requisite attack of angry villagers, is dragged by the lumbering Monster into a pit of quicksand. Thus House of Frankenstein has something in common with Hamlet: No one is left alive at fade-out time. It's to scenarist Robert Siodmak's credit that he was able to fashion a coherent screenplay out of the crazy-quilt of copyrighted horror characters handed to him by Universal Pictures.

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Boris Karloff
as Dr. Gustav Niemann
Lon Chaney Jr
as Lawrence Talbot
Creighton Chaney
as Lawrence Stewart Talbot
Glenn Strange
as Frankenstein Monster
Anne Gwynne
as Rita Hussman
Peter Coe
as Carl Hussman
Lionel Atwill
as Inspector Arnz
George Zucco
as Prof. Bruno Lampini
Sig Rumann
as Burgomaster Russman
Philip Van Zandt
as Inspector Muller
George Lynn
as Gerlach
Michael Mark
as Frederick Strauss
Olaf Hytten
as Hoffman
Brandon Hurst
as Dr. Geissler
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Critic Reviews for House of Frankenstein

All Critics (11) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for House of Frankenstein

  • Mar 04, 2017
    Except for Boris Karloff (who proves herein that he can handle lines with the best of them) and J.Carrol Naish, the writing of this dreck shipwrecks everyone involved. Chaney's Wolfman is a joke, Frankenstein's monster "runs amok" for perhaps 3 minutes, maybe even less, and Carradine's Dracula is an insult to the legend. Pass, pass, pass!
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2014
    Completely composed of dead body parts at this juncture of the Frankenstein series, Universal's ultimate Monster Mash-Up somehow feels more ho hum than haunting when it pits Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, and the Wolf Man in a lackluster Battle Royale with Cheese. More lifeless than the Mummy (who can count himself as the smartest monster for sitting this episode out), the story goes to ridiculously laughable lengths to bring together the now-legendary monsters...only the stock scares and characters no longer boast any electricity, only occasional snickers. This monster rally fails to capitalize on the promise of the over-the-top premise, never giving moviegoers one giant dust-up. Instead, the once classic characters get reduced to plot devices setting in motion a corny revenge tale. In this unrated conclusion of the classic horror series, a mad scientist (Boris Karloff) and demented hunchback (J. Carroll Naish) emulate Dr. Frankenstein's "eternal life" experiments to enact vengeance on the three men (Sig Ruman, Frank Reicher and Michael Mark) responsible for sending him to prison, employing Dracula (John Carradine), the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.), and Frankensteins monster (Glenn Strange) to do so. Amazingly, this marked Boris Karloff's return to the franchise. Granted, he's relegated to playing a stock mad scientist but he's still in fine form...if only the rest of the movie was. Playing a rather anemic vampire, John Carradine elicits more cries of Eat something! than Watch out! when hes on-screen. Lon Chaney, Jr. gives the Wolf Man another go, coasting through the undemanding role if on auto pilot. Though not the Crown Jewel in Universals horror crown, House of Frankenstein still boasts a few gems, albeit mostly for your funny bone. Bottom line: House of Cruds
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2012
    Universal brings all their classic monsters together for the extravaganza House of Frankenstein. The story follows an escaped mad scientist who runs across the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man (among others) while looking for Dr. Henry Frankenstein's scientific journals. Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr. lead the cast and deliver excellent performances. However, the writing is rather weak and seems a bit gimmicky and contrived in how it brings together the Universal Monsters. Still, House of Frankenstein delivers what it promises as Dracula, the Hunchback, the Wolf Man, and the Frankenstein Monster are brought together for an epic adventure.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    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.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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