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Film / The Ghost of Frankenstein

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"...and then they will put my brain into your body!" "What?"

"Your father was Frankenstein, but your mother was the lightnink!"

The Ghost of Frankenstein is the fourth movie in Universal Horror's Frankenstein series, directed by Erle C. Kenton and released in 1942.

Following the events of Son of Frankenstein, we find that Ygor (Bela Lugosi) survived being shot and is still residing in the Castle Frankenstein. When the angry local villagers blow up the castle to get rid of the so-called "Frankenstein curse", the Monster (Lon Chaney Jr.) is accidentally freed from the sulfur pit where it fell in the last film.

Ygor then decides to take the Monster to meet Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein (Cedric Hardwicke), previously-unmentioned son of the original Dr. Frankenstein, and persuade him to restore the Monster's strength.

This was the last of the studio's original Frankenstein films, with subsequent movies featuring the Monster (starting with Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man) being Monster Mashes.

The Ghost of Frankenstein brings us these all new thrills:

  • Alliterative Name: Erik Ernst, the lawyer of Vasaria and Elsa Frankenstein's boyfriend.
  • Axe Before Entering: As Erik locks the door behind him, the Monster soon break through it.
  • Back from the Dead: Ygor survived being shot in the last film, and the Monster returns from being plunged into a sulfur pit.
  • Blackmail: Ygor threatens Ludwig to reveal Frankenstein's reputation to the citizens of Vasaria if he won't help the Monster.
  • Brains and Brawn: Ygor's the brains and Guess Who is the Brawn. In the end they become both, but it doesn't go exactly as planned.
  • Breaking the Bonds: The Monster is captured by the villagers of Vasaria and is brought to loal court for the two deaths he caused. Once Ludwig comes to see him and denies recognizing him, the Monster gets angry and breaks the chains that are tying him down.
  • Cue the Sun: As Ludwig Frankenstein's mansion burns behind them, Elsa and Erik walk away from its horrors to greet the sunrise. The end.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite Ygor's homicidal hatred of the rest of the world, he does genuinely care about the Monster and considers him his only friend.
  • Flashback with the Other Darrin: Clips of the first movie are shown at one point, with Colin Clive in his proper place, but close-ups of Boris Karloff were re-filmed with Lon Chaney.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Doctor Bohmer is insanely jealous of his former student Ludwig's success. Ygor uses this to convince Bohmer to put his brain inside the body of the Monster.
  • Happy Ending Override: The ending of the previous film had Wolf's doing away with Ygor and the monster improve his family name with the village of Frankenstein enough to get applause at his sendoff. This movie opens with the villagers again in an uproar over their village being seen as cursed by the outside world, alongside revealing that both Ygor and the monster actually survived their supposed deaths.
  • The Hero Dies: Ludwig dies when his lab is destroyed.
  • High-Voltage Death: The Ygor-Monster, enraged that Bohmer "tricked" him, throws him aside, and he hits a piece of lab equipment that malfunctions, frying him with electricity and causing a chain reaction which sets the establishment ablaze.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: This happens to both the ambitious Doctor Bohmer and Ygor. Ygor gets his brain transplanted into the Monster, only to go blind because he has a different blood type from the original intended transplantee; and a raging Ygor-Monster then hurls Bohmer into the machinery, electrocuting him.
  • Immortality Immorality: Ygor wants to have his brain put into the Monster so he can live forever. He gets his wish and then everything goes sour. First he goes blind, and then he gets burned alive in the laboratory. And it only gets worse if you remember that the Monster never gets a new brain in the series but is reduced in intellect to a lumbering brute. Which means that Ygor was trapped inside an inarticulate monster's body forever.
  • Killed Off for Real: Although the body lives on, as of the end of the film Ygor's brain is now in the Monster's skull, meaning the original Monster as seen since Frankenstein (1931) is now dead.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: After the Monster is freed from the sulphur pit, he is struck by lightning - right in the electrodes. This revitalizes him.
  • Lightning Reveal: The Monster's shadow is cast on a wall when lightning strikes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Monster is released from the petrified sulfur pit when the angry villagers destroy Castle Frankenstein early in the film.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: Just when he's about to destroy the sedated Monster, the late Dr. Frankenstein's ghost appears to Ludwig and convinces him to let the monster live and give it another set of brains.
  • Screaming Woman: Elsa lets out a few ear-piercers when confronted by the monster for the first time.
  • Secret Path: A secret cell lies under a piece of heavy equipment in Ludwig's lab, where he keeps the Monster hidden from the law.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Ludwig keeps the monster under control this way.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Ludwig's lab blows up when the blinded monster starts thrashing around.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Dr. Bohmer used to be Ludwig's teacher, but after his failed attempt at a brain transplant disgraced him, the tables were eventually turned and he is now his formers student's assistant. He is quite resentful for this, and is eager to comply with Ygor when he promises him better things in exchange for help.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The villagers of Vasaria come to conclusion that the Monster must be hiding in Ludwig's mansion, and a mob with torches in hand forms to pay a visit.
  • Trivial Title: The Ghost is on screen for about sixty seconds.
  • Ɯberwald: Following the lead of previous movies, it's set in a nonspecific pseudo-Germanic country where lederhosen and babushka-clad peasant villagers exist alongside 40's style suits and American accents.
  • The Voiceless: The Monster until the brainswitch.
  • Voices Are Mental: Even with his brain in the Monster's body, Ygor keeps his voice.
  • We Can Rule Together: Ygor uses this to convince Dr. Bohmer to put his brain into the Monster's body, promising him that if he helps him, he'll give anything he wants once Ygor rules.
  • Wham Line: As things look dire and Ygor relishes in his new, powerful body, he suddenly stops and his face turns sour.
    Ygor-Monster: Bohmer. Bohmer! I can't see!
  • The X of Y: The film's title.
  • Zombie Gait: The Monster gains his signature flailing gait with stretched arms, due to his newly received blindness. Despite the fact he regains his sight in a later film, the gait remains an aspect of the Universal version of the Monster hereafter.