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The Ghost of Frankenstein

Lon Chaney, Jr., takes over Karloff's role as the famous squarehead in this dully scripted third sequel. Lugosi, as Igor, somehow survived the bullets that Basil Rathbone had pumped into him in SON OF FRANKENSTEIN and now resides in the deserted "Castle Frankenstein." The angry villagers decide to destroy the castle because it is a constant reminder of the horrors that have plagued their community. In the ensuing explosions Lugosi discovers that the monster, who had plunged into a boiling sulfur pit at the end of the previous film, has survived--albeit caked with dried sulfur. Lugosi escapes with his friend and dutifully brings the monster to the country estate of Hardwicke, the second son of Frankenstein and an expert on diseases of the mind. Before locating Hardwicke's residence, however, Chaney wanders off and befriends a little girl, Gallow. Once again the villagers overreact and try to rescue the child, but Chaney kills two of them before being subdued. The monster is manacled and brought to trial by local prosecutor Bellamy. During the trial, Chaney easily breaks his bonds and escapes. Lugosi hides Chaney in Hardwicke's laboratory for safekeeping, but, unknown to him, the scientist intends to dissect Chaney. Luckily for Chaney, Hardwicke is visited by the ghost of his father and told to put a new brain in the creature--thus ridding the monster of its homicidal tendencies. Hardwicke agrees, but his evil assistant, Atwill, substitutes Lugosi's brain for the one agreed upon (that of another assistant, Yarborough, who had been killed by the monster), thus creating a monster even worse than the one before. As the villagers storm the gates, Chaney/Lugosi--who suddenly is once again able to speak, a skill lost after THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN--finds that he is blind (something about the brain and the body being of mismatched blood types) and goes on a rampage, killing Atwill, Hardwicke, and himself in a fire that consumes the estate (the destruction footage was used again in the finale of HOUSE OF DRACULA). While it doesn't stand up to its predecessors, THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN boasts an enjoyable cast and good production values. The next film in the series, FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN, would be the last creditable entry before the series disintegrated into disjointed monster-fests (HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, HOUSE OF DRACULA) and self-parody (ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN).