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Posts Tagged ‘Frankenstein’

31 Monsters Between The Screams #16

October 16th, 2014 No comments

31monstersbts19

Frankenstein’s Monster enjoyed nothing more than a cup of tea, a smoke, and a good lean.

31 Monstrous Failures #26: Hunchback

October 26th, 2011 No comments

House of Dracula, released in 1945, was the last hurrah for Universal Studios’ classic monsters. They would make one further appearance the following year in the comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, but House of Dracula was the final time they would be taken seriously.

Now, you might think that Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolf Man in the same film would be a sufficient draw. But the posters for House of Dracula promised five–count ’em, five–monsters! In addition to the Big Three, “The Devil’s Own Brood” included Mad Doctor! And…

Hunchback!

Okay, the “Mad Doctor” Edelmann technically could be classified a monster in that the unintended transfusion of Dracula’s blood into his own veins unleashed his inner Mr. Hyde. But the “Hunchback” was a nurse. Whose only qualification for “The Devil’s Own Brood” was a bad case of kyphosis.

Someone really needed to take Universal’s marketing department out behind the woodshed.

31 Monstrous Failures #2: Frankenstein’s Monster

October 2nd, 2011 No comments

The early days of television were a massive experiment, as veterans of other forms of news and entertainment adapted to the challenges and opportunities of video. Before the advent of videotape, live shows were commonplace. One was Tales of Tomorrow, a science-fiction anthology that produced 85 dramatizations over its two year run.

Its 1952 adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein starred Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Monster. Chaney, while never able to live up to his father’s legacy as the silent film era’s master of makeup, was at least able to boast that he’d portrayed all four of Universal Studios’ monstrous quartet: Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Mummy. So, it must have been quite a coup for the producers of Tales of Tomorrow to enlist him as…

Frankenstein’s Monster!

Legend has it that the heavy-drinking Chaney was soused during production and mistook the live performance for another rehearsal. I am not here to speculate on Mr. Chaney’s condition, but something was definitely up with the way in which he carefully avoided breaking the prop furniture during his rampage. (At one point, he picked up a chair, gingerly set it down, then mimed smashing it.)

I’ve edited together the furniture-moving fun below!


31 (Japanese) Monsters #12: The Giant Devilfish

October 12th, 2010 No comments

If a movie in which the irradiated heart of Frankenstein’s Monster regenerates into a 70-foot teenager with a flat head and fights a burrowing dinosaur isn’t odd enough, it could’ve been even weirder. And this time the Japanese weren’t at fault.

Frankenstein Conquers the World (which I first mentioned a couple of weeks ago) was a co-production between Toho and Henry Saperstein’s United Productions of America. Saperstein had been impressed by the octopus puppet that appeared in King Kong vs. Godzilla and insisted on reusing it, despite an octopus being neither necessary nor germane.

So it was that one of the most curious deleted scenes in all of Godzilla-dom came to include…

The Giant Devilfish!

Monster Island Nickname Wait…what? Why is there a giant devilfish?
Hails From The Fevered Mind of Henry Saperstein
Movies Appeared In
(not counting stock footage)
2 (neither of which is this one)
Hobbies Appearing Without Cause, Mountaineering
Quote “I’m not sure, I just got here myself!”

So, the script for Frankenstein Conquers the World ends with the title creature battling Baragon the dinosaur amidst a raging forest fire. As Baragon falls dead, the ground beneath Frankenstein’s Monster parts without reasonable cause and the titanic teen is swallowed by the earth.

However, in the Saperstein-mandated alternate ending, Frankenstein throws down the lifeless body of Baragon. Then he spots something! It’s a giant octopus! Climbing up the mountainside! As octopi do!

Forgetting about the flaming forest, Frankenstein begins hurling rocks at the inexplicable intruder. And, as this is a rubber octopus, there is really nothing it can do until Frank gamely wraps its tentacles around him. The two tussle until the cephalopod pulls its opponent over a cliff into a convenient lake. They sink to the bottom, and are never seen again. The end.

Even though the scene was filmed–and featured prominently in promotional stills–it never made the final cut of either the Japanese or American versions. It’s on the DVD though, and you can see it for yourself on YouTube. There’s also an excellent article about it on Godzilla scholar August Ragone’s website.

And the giant devilfish eventually¬†did fight a Frankenstein Monster (of sorts), but that’s another story…

31 (Japanese) Monsters #2: Frankenstein

October 2nd, 2010 No comments

You might be thinking, “But Dave, you said that these were Japanese monsters.” Clearly, you have never been exposed to the madness that is Frankenstein Conquers the World, aka Frankenstein vs. Baragon. Now, if you’re wondering why Frankenstein’s monster is fighting a firebreathing dinosaur, keep in mind that at one point Toho Studios planned to make Godzilla vs. Frankenstein. See, it all makes sense.

We will return to this film later in the month, but for now, here comes…

Frankenstein!

Monster Island Nickname Flattop
Hails From Germany
Movies Appeared In
(not counting stock footage)
1
Hobbies Greco-Roman Wrestling, Decoupage
Quote “Frankenstein was the doctor, thank you very much!”

Our story begins during the waning days of World War II, when Nazi soldiers steal the still-beating heart of Frankenstein’s Monster from a mad scientist’s castle and ship it via submarine to their Japanese allies.* Unfortunately, their destination of choice is Hiroshima. Oops.

Years later, a rapidly-growing, flatheaded kid is running around the recovering city. Some descriptions of the plot suggest that he was a starving orphan who discovered the heart and ate it. (Ick.) That’s unsubstantiated by the film, though. It’s pretty clear that this is what you get when you take Frankenstein’s heart–which, as we all know, is immortal and has regenerative powers–and nuke it.

Oh, and then there’s a dinosaur. Because, you know, Japan.

*There’s still so much we don’t know about the Second World War.