The Monster and Ygor

The Ghost of Frankenstein officially ran out of ideas for the long running Universal monster franchise. Although some consider Son of Frankenstein to be as good as the first 2 films, I wasn’t a fan of the new direction. I could’ve watched The Ghost of Frankenstein on my DVD box set, but I didn’t want to risk being disappointed. The fourth installment closely follows the plot of the third. Ygor is somehow still alive with Bela Lugosi reprising the role that he popularized. Boris Karloff was officially done with the Monster.

So the Wolf Man himself, Lon Chaney Jr. wore the makeup instead. His Monster retains the same iconic look, but you can tell Chaney is underneath. Villagers are fed up with the curse of Frankenstein (a decidedly better title), so they rally together to burn down his castle. The Monster somehow survived a sulfur pit thanks to his superhuman body. Ygor takes his friend to a small village to find yet another son of Frankenstein. Cedric Hardwicke is the far less insane brain surgeon Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein.

The title refers to one moment where Ludwig sees ghostly visions of his father telling him to finish his work. Chaney’s Wolf Man co-star Evelyn Ankers now plays Ludwig’s well meaning daughter Elsa Frankenstein. The Monster is still mostly mindless, but an adorable relationship with a little girl softens him a bit. He’s also sent to trial where Ralph Bellamy examines him as prosecutor Erik Ernst. Ygor isn’t as actively sinister as he was before, but he does convince Ludwig’s assistant to place his brain in the body of the Monster. Hearing Lugosi’s voice come out of the Monster is as ridiculous as it sounds. The Ghost of Frankenstein lost its spark.

18. The Ghost of Frankenstein

Frankenstein’s Monster in chains

Preceded by: Son of Frankenstein & Followed by: Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

4 thoughts on “The Monster and Ygor

  1. Lon Chaney Jr. made a pretty good monster actually, it’s Karloff’s role to be certain, but Chaney doesn’t do bad at all. I still find it a little perplexing that Sir Cedric Hardwicke starred in a Horror film, he just seems a little out of place, but he does give a solid performance as always. Lugosi’s still the bad guy that’s for sure, he’s just a little better at hiding his true intentions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, Universal pushed the Frankenstein motif far too far in the 1940s.

    It would take Abbott and Costello to finally kill the Universal monsters for good.

    Succeeding where Dr. Abraham Van Helsing and torch wielding villagers and silver pointed walking sticks had failed.

    Liked by 1 person

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