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House of Frankenstein Reviews

An all-star cast of creatures from our fondest nightmares people this Universal horror film. This time Karloff does not play the eternal monster--Strange draws that assignment so Karloff can enact a mad doctor. The film opens with Karloff and hunchbacked assistant Naish languishing in a cell. They have been imprisoned for criminal operations, Karloff having been caught transplanting dogs' brains. A storm comes up and lightning strikes the prison, collapsing the floor of the cell housing Karloff and Naish. They fall into a sewer and make their escape. On the road they encounter Zucco, owner of a traveling sideshow specializing in horrors. One of his prized possessions is the skeleton of super vampire Count Dracula, now inert, having a stake driven through its heart. Naish kills Zucco and the two take over the Chamber of Horrors show. They arrive at Reigelburg where the local burgomaster, Rumann, recognizes Karloff as the crackpot doctor he had testified against years earlier. To shut his mouth, Karloff removes the stake from Dracula's coffin and Carradine appears as the vampire. Karloff offers to protect the creature's coffin if he will kill Rumann, and Carradine readily agrees. Carradine dispatches Rumann and then goes after newlywed Gwynne, a luscious looking bride, mesmerizing her. He leaves with the stupefied woman but her husband Coe and policeman Atwill are in hot pursuit. They catch Carradine's coach on the road where it is delayed until the sun rises. Carradine tries to get back to his coffin but the sun's rays reach him first and he is reduced to ashes. Karloff and Naish, however, escape, and arrive at the village of Frankenstein. There Karloff visits the ruins of the castle occupied by Dr. Frankenstein. He not only finds his precious records but discovers the bodies of the Monster (Strange) and the Wolf Man (Chaney), and he goes about reviving both. A gypsy girl, Verdugo, whom Naish has saved from a whipping and taken with him, falls in love with Chaney, but when he turns into a wolf as promised he kills her just as she shoots him with a silver bullet. Naish finds her body and takes it to Karloff, begging him to bring her back to life. When Karloff refuses, Naish mangles him. The Monster breaks free, grabbing Naish and hurling the hunchback through a skylight. Meanwhile, the ever tardy villagers, bearing torches, arrive to chase the Monster and Karloff, the mad doctor being dragged along by the creature, into a swamp. Karloff tells the Monster to stay clear of the quicksand but he is ignored and both sink out of view, waiting for the next sequel, which was THE HOUSE OF DRACULA (1945). Strange learned much from Karloff on how to play the Monster and would go on doing the part in several more films. Karloff was at least grateful to get out from under that flat head.