Halloween Endurance Test: Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

Ygor’s back again? After being shot numerous times by the Son of Frankenstein? My pet-theory about how Ygor was created by the filmmakers as a separate Frankensteinian-id is gaining ground here. Ygor/Id as a way for the Frankenstein character to commit the murders the story demands without sacrificing the valuable “good guy” sympathy with the audience. After all, just how guilty can the Baron really feel when he’s ordering the murders?

Though I’m beginning to suspect that all this focus on visualizing Frankenstein’s psychological split is distracting me from the true action: the villagers. Tired of constantly running scared from the monster, today the villages take action. Deciding to blow up castle Frankenstein to ward off the curse that is causing the crops not to grow. I’m not sure how the castle is affecting the crops; it is located on a mountain and not an arable field, and thus seemingly out of the way. I’d suspect that the castle brings in more tourist revenue then anything else in this fiefdom.

Have you ever seen how people use dynamite to destroy castles? Apparently just as they did at the finale of The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers. The scene where the orcs prepare to invade Helm’s Deep, and run a bomb into what appears to be the sewer entrance holds everything you’ll ever need to know to other throw unresponsive feudal lords.

Four movies into the franchise and we still have no idea what era this is all supposed to transpire in. Horses and carriages are the main sources of transportation, but one can’t forget the telephone Dr. Pretorius brought out in Bride of Frankenstein.

While the title of Son of Frankenstein was spot-on, I have no idea how ghosts play into the story here. The main gist of the story is the monster wants a new, non-criminal, brain. Dischord on the homefront, Ygor wants to give the monster his brain; tired as he is of ending all his films either shot or hung. The monster, with his first demonstration of free will ever, wants the brain of an innocent child.

“Let’s go to Frankenstein and choke the truth out of him!”

At this point I can’t tell whether the movie’s pro-vigilante justice, or just con-child murder. There’s just too many generations of Frankensteins running around the screen now. His daughter too? It’s longwinded hokum like this that made the following road-trip cinematic excursions so popular.

Perhaps this was all a trick by Universal to get Bela Lugosi to finally play the monster, even if it’s byway of dubbing his voice onto Lon Chaney’s body? Do studios hold grudges that long? Did Lugosi even have any star power left to make such a move worthwhile? (He is after all, billed fourth in this feature.)

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