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(Review originally written at 2 August 2005)

This movie features the three most popular Universal Pictures classic monsters; Dracula, The Frankenstein Monster and The Wolf Man. Lon Chaney Jr. returns in his role as Lawrence Talbot/The Wolf Man This time the role of Dracula is played by John Carradine (indeed the father of..) and the role of the Frankenstein Monster is played by Glenn Strange. Boris Karloff doesn't play a 'monster' in this one but instead portrays a terrific and typical villainous professor role alá professor Frankenstein. So for the fans of classic Universal Pictures monster movies this already are all more than enough reasons to watch this movie.

The movie is more a sequel to "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man" than it is to any of the other Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolf Man movies, made before this one.

The story is very weak (especially the beginning is maybe even border-line laughable) but the fun of having those three classic monsters in one and the same movie compensates for this and towards the ending the story even gets better and somewhat more realistic. The movie can be seen as two different ones. The first part is with Dr. Gustav Niemann, Daniel, Dracula and the family Hussman and the second part is with and about Dr. Gustav Niemann, Daniel, The Wolf Man, The Frankenstein Monster and the gypsy girl Ilonka. No, the movie doesn't feel completely as a whole and the first part of the movie with Dracula just feels pointless and doesn't really serve a purpose in the story. John Carradine however is a good Dracula although he tries a bit too hard to copy Bela Lugosi's Dracula role. Understandable of course since both play the same role but it just looks a bit weird when Carradine tries to act and look scary with his eyes in a way only Lugosi could successfully do.

It was surprising to see how much more at ease and better Lon Chaney Jr. was in his role compared to the previously made movies featuring the Wolf Man in it. Karloff is also in good form. It's a bit sad, Karloff will always be remembered for playing the mumbling Frankenstein creature even though Karloff was a very good actor, this movie is one more bit of proof of Karloff's acting skills. Glenn Strange was surprising convincing as the Frankenstein monster and he actually looked quite a bit like the Karloff Frankenstein monster version. It was also fun to see Lionel Atwill again in a role as police inspector, a role he had played before in many other Frankenstein and Dracula movies. I wouldn't be surprised if he had been in more horror movies than Karloff or Chaney Jr.

This movie is very entertaining, only thanks to the classic monsters in it and the actors. But of course you have to be a fan of the genre to fully appreciate this movie.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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