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Film / Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

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"Stop it Frank!" "My name is not Frank!"
A death fight...between two beasts!

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is a Universal Horror movie from 1943. It is a Crossover sequel for both The Wolf Man (1941) and The Ghost of Frankenstein and it is Universal's first Monster Mash film. It is today also recognized as the film that established the "shared universe" concept, by establishing that the studio's four preceding Frankenstein films, along with The Wolf Man, existed in the same universe. Later on Universal would add its Dracula films and a version of The Invisible Man to this shared universe.

Four years after his death in The Wolf Man, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) is awakened from his slumber when two vagrants open his grave. After instantly transforming into a Wolf Man and killing one of them, he finds himself in Cardiff, Wales.

After Larry's warnings of his lycanthropy are ignored, he escapes and starts searching for the Gypsy-woman Maleva (Maria Ouspenskaya), in the hope that she will know how to kill him permanently. The two set out for the Eastern European village of Vasaria, where, according to Maleva, a certain Dr. Frankenstein lives.

After reaching the place and finding out that Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein is dead and his place is in ruins (as seen in the end of The Ghost of Frankenstein), they attempt to continue their journey, when Larry transforms yet again and in the next morning wakes up in the basement of the ruins. There he finds Frankenstein's Monster (Bela Lugosi) trapped in a block of ice.

Enter Dr. Mannering (Patric Knowles) from Cardiff and the original Dr. Frankenstein's granddaughter, Elsa (Ilona Massey), and the clash between the monsters is about to begin...

Next up, Dracula joins the party in House of Frankenstein.

As the beast of supernatural and the monster of science clash, you will witness:

  • Aborted Arc: All references to the ending of The Ghost of Frankenstein were cut, which keeps the Monster as the Manchild it was portrayed as before.
  • And I Must Scream: The original script and Lugosi's deleted dialogue reveals that when Ygor (with his brain in the monster's body) was frozen at the end of the last film, he remained awake and aware the entire time. In retrospect, this may go some way towards explaining his sudden maniacal desire to rule the world, couple with him generally being an unpleasant jerk.
  • Arc Words: The "Even a man who is pure in heart..." poem is repeated yet again.
  • As You Know: Larry fills in the audience on his condition's origins by reminding Maleva that it was her son Bela who passed the werewolf curse on him. As if the poor woman wouldn't remember something like that.
  • Attack of the Town Festival: All the deadly doings in Frankenstein's ruins take place during Vasaria's "the Festival of the New Wine."
  • Back from the Dead: Larry comes alive the instant when the wolfbane is removed from his casket and moonlight shines upon him.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Larry transforms just in time to save the girl from Frankenstein's monster.
  • Big Dam Plot: Vazec, the tavern owner in Vasaria, becomes tired of waiting for Dr. Mannering and Elsa to get rid of the two monsters and decides to take matters to his own hands by blowing up the nearby dam, and drowning the two.
  • Breaking the Bonds: A newly transformed Larry chews through his restraints in London, and both he and the monster break loose in Dr. Frankenstein's lab when Larry transforms and the monster is restored to full power.
  • Canon Welding: The first of the Universal Horror films to explicitly confirm that they had a Shared Universe.
  • Cassandra Truth: Dr. Mannering and Inspector Owen disregard Larry's warnings of his werewolf tendencies as ravings of a madman.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Dr. Mannering, the head doctor at the mental hospital where Larry was sent to at the beginning of the film for his "delusions". After Larry escapes, we expect that to be the last we see of him...but he actually follows Talbot all the way to Vasaria (with the help of the newspaper reports of his werewolf attacks), where he attempts to take him back to the hospital, but when he finds out that Larry is ''not'' a lunatic, and in fact a real werewolf, he agrees to assist him with his plan.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: It's all there in the name.
  • Crossover: This was the very first occasion in which characters from two previously unconnected films had met in such a way, thereby retroactively creating a shared universe in which Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein and The Wolf Man (1941) existed.
  • Death of a Child: One of Larry's victims is a little girl in Vasaria.
  • Evasive Fight-Thread Episode: The two monsters fight at the end with no winner, since their arena is flooded due the dam bursting.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Guess which two Universal monsters meet up in this movie.
  • Fainting: When the fully powered Monster grabs Elsa and starts carrying her from the lab, she faints.
  • Fake Shemp: A completely different actor plays the Monster at the start of the film when he is thawed out of the ice, and they barely bother covering the fact up.
  • For Science!: Dr. Mannering cannot bring himself to destroy The Monster after studying late Dr. Frankenstein's papers, and decides to restore him to his full power instead in the name of science.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: The film uses bubbling flasks and beakers of chemicals in its opening credits sequence. None, or very few, appear in the film proper, though.
  • Human Popsicle: Larry finds the Monster in the cold underside of the sanitarium's ruins, encased in ice.
  • Idiot Ball: Why of course, Doctor Mannering, please DO restore Frankenstein's Monster to full strength and health! That's worked out so very well for everyone else who tried it!
  • Immune to Bullets: A hunter shots the Wolf Man with a shotgun, but it didn't hurt him.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: One of the grave-robbers dies of a "severed jugular."
  • Karmic Death: Two grave-robbers die inside of a tomb.
  • Mark of the Beast: Per the previous film, Larry still carries the sign of the pentagram on him.
  • Monster Mash: First film of its kind.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Larry dicking around in Castle Frankenstein leads to the Monster being revived.
  • Now Do It Again, Backwards: Dr. Frankenstein's journal explains that the practically immortal monster can be killed by attaching him to the machine that gave him life and "changing the poles" (aka reversing the polarity).
  • Plot Hole: The film cuts from Talbot filthy and ragged after his last werewolf transformation to him dressed in a beautiful suit in order to meet Baroness Elsa. It's not shown where the money came from for his non-werewolf transformation, nor how he obtains an American-style suit in Central Europe.
  • Robbing the Dead: The two vagrants open Larry's grave so that they can strip it of any valuables. It's fatal when the one being robbed springs back to life and turns into a werewolf.
  • Screaming Woman: One Vasarian woman, upon the sight of the Monster stumbling into her town, can only scream hysterically.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: The monster in Dr. Frankenstein's lab, where it's being held until it can be destroyed.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: "Come one and all and sing this song... For Life is short and Death is long..." No wonder Larry gets upset.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Averted. The townsfolk of Vasaria are ready to storm the ruins of the sanitarium to destroy the Monster after it interrupts their festival, but are convinced to not to by the mayor and Dr. Mannering. And by the end, the townsfolk sit out on this film's climax and only one of them takes action.
  • Transformation Sequence: Larry's transformation into the Wolf Man.
  • Travel Montage: Shown when Larry travels to Vasaria with Maleva.
  • Überwald: Vasaria is, as usually the case in the series, a mythical Eastern Europe setting.
  • Versus Title: Of the "X Meets Y" variety.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We last see Maleva just before the final scenes which result in the destruction of the whole structure and the escape of the doctor and Baroness, but we never learn what her final fate is. The behind-the-scenes explanation was that actress Maria Ouspenskaya was hospitalized after a horse and buggy turned a corner a bit too quickly, causing the buggy to topple over with her and Chaney still on it. A Werewolf Remembers The Testament Of Lawrence Stewart Talbot revealed what happened to her...
  • Wrench Whack: Dr. Mannering tries to defend Elsa with a wrench from the Monster, but he gets swatted aside and loses consciouness.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Larry travels across Europe, hearing of a brilliant scientist who could help him, but by the time he gets to the Doctor's castle, he's long since deceased. Talbot's persistent, though, and manages to find both Frankenstein's notes, and a scientist willing to use them. Then the scientist decides to re-power the monster For Science!, and it all goes to Hell.
  • Zombie Gait: This film is the Trope Codifier for the stretched-arms walk for the Frankenstein's Monster.
    • This is actually an artifact from the film's original script, which had the Monster blinded (a holdover from the end of The Ghost of Frankenstein). While this was discarded in editing, it makes Lugosi's awkward lumbering much more understandable in context. However, in popular culture this aspect of the character became synonymous, with the next actor to play the part, Glenn Strange, incorporating aspects of it.