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Film / Young Frankenstein

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"Life! Life! Do you hear me?! Give my creation LIIIIIIIFE!!!"

Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder's Affectionate Parody of the classic Universal Horror pictures of the 1930s. Released in 1974, it was shot in black and white using laboratory props from the original Frankenstein and stars a cast of comedic actors all at the very height of their talents.

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Wilder) — "That's Fronkensteen!" — is the grandson of the infamous mad scientist, who is determined to distance himself from the family legacy. After learning he has inherited the family estate in Transylvania, he takes leave of his uptight fiancée Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn) and travels to inspect the property. There, he encounters a household staff that includes hunchbacked servant Igor (Marty Feldman), who insists on having his name pronounced "Eye-gor" and has a hump that is always changing position from scene to scene; nubile blonde assistant Inga (Teri Garr); and mirthless housekeeper Frau Blücher (*NEIGH*) (Cloris Leachman). Upon discovering his grandfather's laboratory and private journals, Frederick becomes similarly obsessed with the idea of re-animating the dead, and with Igor's assistance he snatches the corpse of a recently-hanged criminal; he then tasks Igor with stealing the preserved brain of "scientist and saint" Hans Delbrück, but an accident leads to the brain's destruction and forces Igor to substitute an abnormal brain, without Frederick's knowledge. When the creature (Peter Boyle) is animated he proves to be uncontrollably violent. And then Frau Blücher, (*NEIGH*) who was Victor Frankenstein's lover, sets him free...

Young Frankenstein was adapted into a Broadway musical in 2007.

And, since it keeps coming up, "Blücher" (*NEIGH*) is not the German word for "glue"; it's just a common misconception.

The Market-Based Title for the film in Italy, France and Germany, Frankenstein Jr., is Not to Be Confused with the actual Frankenstein Jr.


  • Acting Unnatural: Igor begins to shamelessly flirt with Frankenstein's fiancee Elizabeth while she's confused and unsettled. Then Frankenstein walks up.
    Igor (whispers to Elizabeth): Say nothing. Act casual. (leans against wagon and aimlessly looks around)
  • Affectionate Parody: As noted, 1930s horror movies. Heavy emphasis on "affectionate," too, as the film plays just as many of the genre's plot points and aesthetics with sincerity as it does with mockery, and great effort was taken to replicate the filmmaking style and even limitations that James Whale's film featured.
  • Alliterative Name: Frederick Frankenstein, of course.
  • Amusing Injuries: Fredrick gets two: one when he accidentally sticks a scalpel in his leg during a lecture and again when he attempts to block the revolving bookcase door with his body.
  • And Call Him "George": The Monster encounters a little girl who ends up bossing him around and making him play with her. The result is of course a lot more humorous than the equivalent scene in the original movie.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: It's only in their first scene together that Elizabeth says "Not on the lips," to Freddy, and the reason is that she doesn't want her makeup smudged. She doesn't seem to want to be touched anywhere, lest she mess up her hair, her nails, her dress, etc. In the end she and Frederick say goodbye by shaking elbows. She even flinches when he blows her a kiss. And right after all that... the train rolls past and she's enveloped in a billowing cloud of black smoke and delicate Elizabeth hacks her lungs out.
  • Artificial Limbs: Inspector Kemp's wooden arm. Igor's hump could qualify, since it may not even be real.
  • Aside Comment: When his attempt to re-animate the dead body apparently fails, Dr. Frankenstein makes a speech about how "science...teaches us to accept our failures as well as our successes with quiet dignity and grace." A few moments later he goes into a rage and tries to strangle the dead body. As Inga and Igor restrain him, Igor turns to the camera and sarcastically says "Quiet dignity and grace."
  • Aside Glance: By Igor several times, and a couple of times by the Monster.
  • Asshole Victim: The only character killed in the film is the policeman who torments the Monster while he's chained up and helpless. It's almost a relief when the Monster throttles him a moment later.note 
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: For a brief moment it looks like Kemp is trying to calm down the angry mob.
    Kemp: A riot is an ugly thing. Und, I think that it's just about time that we had one!!
  • Berserk Button: Mentioning Frederick's relation to a famous cuckoo is not a good idea. He's also not tolerant of mistakes, like putting in "Abby Normal's" brain.
    Frankenstein: Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven-and-half-foot-long... fifty-four-inch-wide... GORILLA?!? (proceeds to throttle Igor)
  • Betty and Veronica: Inga (Betty) is a humble local who demonstrates plenty of sexual and romantic chemistry with Frederick, while Elizabeth (Veronica) is a snooty heiress with no meaningful intimacy.
  • Big Electric Switch: Multiple examples on the laboratory equipment and walls, including one that just turns on the lights.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Upon finding the Monster's enormous Schwanzstüke, there's "Ah, sweet mystery of life, at last I've found yooou!"
  • Big "WHAT?!": Played with. Inspector Kemp's announcement that Frederick is following in his ancestor's footsteps produces a big "What?!" reaction from his audience, but it turns out they're asking him to repeat himself because his accent is so thick they couldn't make out what he said.
  • Bilingual Bonus: As Frederick travels to Transylvania, there are two sets of arguing couples, one on each of both trains we see. The two couples that argue have exactly the same conversation, the first in English, the second in German.
    "(Harry/Hans), he was at it again last night."
    "What do you want me to do about it?"
    "Every day?!?"
    "Let him, let him!"
  • Black Comedy Rape: Elizabeth gets raped by the Monster. Then it turns out she enjoys his enormous Schwanzstüke and happily has more sex with him.
    "All right— seven always has been my lucky number!"
  • Blatant Lies: Frederick says to Igor "I will NOT be angry" ...and after the former admits that he supplied an abnormal brain, immediately tries to strangle him.
  • Blind and the Beast: The film parodies the blind-man scene in Bride of Frankenstein. Look carefully at this blind man, though: that's Gene Hackman before he was an a-lister. Gene plays it utterly straight. Even with the comedy gags, this one is still a touching scene.
  • Blind Mistake: The blind man does a lot of harm to the Monster in his attempt to offer some hospitality. First he pours scalding-hot soup in the Monster's lap, then he smashes the Monster's mug full of wine (which he's appropriately peeved by), and finally he lights the Monster's thumb on fire.
  • Bluffing the Authorities: There's a scene where a cop happens upon Dr Frankenstein and Igor in the middle of grave robbing. They cover up the bodies in their cart, but one arm sticks out awkwardly, so Frankenstein has to lean against the cart just right to convince the cop it's his arm, and even provides a handshake with the corpse arm.
  • Boob-Based Gag: Subverted. Dr. Frankenstein is carrying Inga out of the wagon when they arrive at the castle, and says "What knockers!", to which Inga replies with a flattered "Thank you, doctor." He was talking about the actual huge knockers on the doors which Igor has just used.
  • Bookcase Passage: Subverted when Frederick tries to open a secret door by moving a likely-looking book. He then inadvertently learns it's actually triggered by a candle-holder. Keeping the door open proves a debacle until the candle is quickly replaced and removed to rotate the shelf halfway.
    Inga: Put ze candle back!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Igor in general displays the least conformity to the sincere side of the film and often serves as a wink to the audience. The most clear example may be in the "quiet dignity and grace" scene where he points out the irony of the statement in an aside to the camera.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Marty Feldman imitates Groucho Marx's accent to deliver the punchline of the "take the bags" joke.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The prison guard when he discovers that the Monster is afraid of fire. Here's a piece of advice: If you're going to taunt a 7-foot tall, super-strong monster with anger issues, don't do so within arm's reach.
  • The Cameo: Gene Hackman as the blind man.
  • The Chew Toy: For a dangerous hulking creature, the Monster has a quite a lot of painful things happen to him, especially (and unintentionally) at the hands of the blind hermit.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Completely deliberate to blend laughs with the bombastic acting that could feature in older films.
  • Cobweb Jungle: In the passage leading to Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory and the laboratory itself.
  • Composite Character: Igor's role in the story is based primarily on Fritz from Frankenstein (1931), but his name is a reference to Ygor from Son of Frankenstein as is his master only being a descendant of the original Dr. Frankenstein.
  • Creator Cameo: He never appears on screen (directly), but Brooks provides off-screen voices in three places. According to Brooks, this was one of Wilder's requests – that Brooks not appear onscreen in order to preserve the immersion of the film.
    • He does the howl of the "werewolf" as Frederick, Igor and Inga travel to the castle.
    • He provides the flashback voice of the original Dr. Frankenstein, as the main trio looks over the dusty equipment.
    • He ad-libbed the That Poor Cat screech when Frederick accidentally throws a dart out the window.
    • Brooks also 'appears' as one of the gargoyles of the castle, which was modeled after him.
  • Creating Life Is Bad: Completely averted. The problem is that Igor got "Abby Normal"'s brain for the Monster, not that bringing him to life was inherently wrong, and the story perhaps inadvertently follows readings of Shelley's book that Frankenstein's error was in rejecting his creature, not in creating it.
  • Creepy Changing Painting: A scowling portrait of Victor Frankenstein is highly visible in Fredrick's room. When Frederick finds his grandfather's instructions and decides to continue his work, a lightning-illuminated close-up shows the portrait looking very pleased with a toothy grin.
  • Creepy Housekeeper: Frau Blücher (*NEIGH!*) is the quintessential creepy housekeeper: as you may notice, every time her name is mentioned, horses rear in fear. Also, in regards to Victor Frankenstein: "He... vas... my... BOYFRIEND!"
  • Cue the Rain: You know how people tell you to keep going until you hit Rock Bottom? Well, this film demonstrates why.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: The well-intentioned Monster's speech is unrefined due to his brain deformity. "PUH'IN ON DA REEEEEEEETZ!"
  • Dead Man's Chest: Frankenstein and Igor are trying to hide a body in a wagon, but the arm is still sticking out when someone comes along. Frankenstein places himself in such a way as to pretend the arm is his, and Hilarity Ensues.
    "You're chilled to the bone!"
    • And in a more Visual Pun, the film opens with a (very) dead skeleton clutching a chest.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Elizabeth isn't exactly cold, but she utterly lacks intimacy and displays a snooty attitude to others. Her defrosting is more a case of getting hit with a blowtorch- sex with the Monster quickly makes her a more relaxed and passionate person.
  • Delayed "Oh, Crap!": The Monster, having been convinced not to fear fire by the blind man, smiles and nods approvingly at the flame at first, until he realizes that the blind man lit his thumb instead of the cigar.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: To better parody the original Frankenstein films. (This was so important to the filmmakers that they took the project to 20th Century Fox after originally conscripted studio Columbia Pictures balked at the prospect of it being in black-and-white.)
    • "In black and white! No offense." — Mel Brooks, narrating the film's trailer.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Frederick accepts his initial failure with quiet dignity and grace. Well, he actually beats the Monster's body, says he does not want to live, and calls for his mother.
  • Dr. Frankenstein: Frederick Frankenstein is grandson of Victor. He ends up following in his grandfather's footsteps of reanimating the dead after finding his grandfather's journals.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Averted — during the Walk This Way scene, Igor shows Frederick what he means. It doesn't ruin the joke at all, though. Supposedly, this gag was the inspiration for the Aerosmith song of the same name.
    • In point of fact, it worked so well, it's something of a Running Gag for Mel Brooks. It shows up in most (if not all) of his subsequent films. The walk is different, but the joke is always the same.
  • Double Take:
    • After Frederick "walks Igor's way", he stops and gives a look as it sinks in that he was just successfully convinced to do so.
    • After Igor's seeming teleportation from the castle roof to Frederick's side, Frederick does a look back up at the roof and, in his confusion, can only ask Igor if he managed to tie off the kites.
  • Dumbwaiter Ride: Igor's explanation for how he got to Victor's secret laboratory is that he used the dumbwaiter.
  • Einstein Hair: Frederick has pretty wild curly hair, and it gets blown around to good effect during the thunderstorm in the reanimation scene.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Kemp has one. The funny thing is how he chooses to wear a useless monocle over it.
  • Expy:
    • Inspector Kemp is one for Inspector Krogh from the Son of Frankenstein.
    • Frau Blücher (*NEIGH*) was specifically meant to be a Teutonic version of the imposing Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca, and has the same mole under her lip.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Igor managed to miss that the brain he had to quickly replace the requested brain with was labeled "Abnormal". If that wasn't enough, the sign also read "Do not use this brain!" Even after the Monster strangles Frederick at the sight of fire, Igor seems oblivious to the cause, recounting that he put "Abby Normal"'s brain into the Monster seemingly without a shred of guilt or fear. Frederick then very loudly spells out to him what he actually did and gives Igor a throttling of his own.
  • Fake Arm Disarm: Played for laughs with Inspector Kemp, who loses his wooden arm when the monster accidentally pulls it off with a friendly handshake.
    [Holds and regards his arm for a second, then dramatically points to the door with it] "To the lumberyard!"
  • Fate of the Frankensteins: Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, Dr. Victor's grandson, is initially ashamed of his grandfather's claim to fame; having become a famous surgeon in England, he states that he works on serious science instead of chasing superstitions, describes his grandfather as a cuckoo, and insists that his surname is actually pronounced "Fronkensteen". However, after being left the family's ancestral castle per his great-grandfather's will, he returns to Transylvania, becomes increasingly drawn to the idea of creating life from lifeless matter, and ultimately chooses to embrace his family legacy and continue his experiments anyway.
  • Fictional Document: How I Did It by Victor Frankenstein.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: The first sign that the creature has been successfully reanimated, after Frederick and his friends have all given up hope and gone away, is a close-up of its hand as the fingers begin to twitch.
  • Foreign Cuss Word:
    • "He would have an enormous Schwanzstücke!"
    • "Wuff!"
  • Frankenstein's Monster: This one has his head attached with zippers instead of bolts. It's also indicated to be a single corpse of a very big man with a different brain installed instead of a full Mix-and-Match Man constructed to size.
  • Fresh Clue: When the main trio follow mysterious violin music into a secret room, they find a cigar smoldering in an ashtray.
  • Freudian Slip: Frederick introduces his fiancee Elizabeth to Inga as his "financier", then hastily corrects himself— first to the still-slipping "financee" and then successfully to "fiancee".
  • Funny Background Event: Most scenes with Igor have him mugging or doing something strange in the background.
  • Gag Penis: The Monster's enormous Schwanzstüke, mentioned three times.
  • Generation Xerox: The basis of the film's premise. Frederick Frankenstein is a physician trying to distance himself from his grandfather's shadow, down to pronouncing his surname differently... but then he finds Victor's secret lab and journals and decides to continue the family legacy and make his own Artificial Zombie. His assistant Igor is also the Identical Grandson of the hunchback who helped make the first monster.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Frederick's great-grandfather's work was DOO-DOO!
  • Grave Clouds: Parodied when Dr. Frankenstein and Igor are digging up a body. After a most unfortunate comment by Igor ("Could be worse...Could be raining"), it starts to rain.
  • Grave Robbing: Dittos for how they got the corpse.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: How I Did It by Victor Frankenstein.
  • Groin Attack: Frederick does this to a volunteer to demonstrate the effect of shutting down a group of nerves. (Temporarily. Poor fellow.)
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Inga proves a healthy supportive partner to the rather volatile Frederick.
  • Hair-Trigger Sound Effect: (*Beat*) Blücher! *NEIGH* *grins*
  • Heir Club for Men: Double Subversion. In a deleted scene from the film, we see the official reading of the Baron's will, which Frederick cannot attend. In the will, the Baron leaves everything to two cousins (one male, one female), a niece, a nephew, and a "bosom friend" and her daughter, in equal shares - unless, in the unlikely event that his great-grandson Frederick (only 10 at the time of the will's creation) chooses to go into medicine, and becomes a respected expert in his field of study (thus why Victor Frankenstein was passed over). Needless to say, the attending members of the family are not pleased to discover that the reason Frederick is absent is his prior obligation to give a lecture called "Functional Areas of the Cerebrum with Relation to the Skull."
    • Played straight however, in that the Baron gives everything to Frederick, without thinking to bequeath anything to his granddaughter, Frederick's mother.
  • High-Class Glass: Kemp's monocle is memorably paired with an eyepatch. That he wears over the same eye.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After what seems to be the failed attempt at resurrecting the dead, Frederick states that it is better to accept both loss and success with "quiet dignity and grace," then promptly loses his shit and takes out his frustration on the monster, choking and hitting the corpse all while screaming incoherently; all of this is lampshaded by Igor who just repeats Frederick's "quiet dignity and grace" line.
  • I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: "Iff I could just giff you a little peace!" (Frankenstein moans.)
  • I Want My Mommy!: Frederick calls for mama in his breakdown after the failure at reanimation. Later, after Frederick explains to Inga and Igor that they shouldn't let him out of the room with the monster, no matter what he says, he closes the door then immediately reconsiders, capping it off with MOMMY!
  • Identical Grandson: The Frankensteins— a portrait of Victor looks very much like Frederick. Also Igor as well, probably.
  • The Igor: Heavily, heavily parodied by Marty Feldman. So much that he's the Trope Namer.
  • Imagined Innuendo: This exchange at the lab:
    Frankenstein: Elevate me.
    Inga: Now? Right here?
    Frederick: Yes, yes, raise the platform.
    Inga (embarrassed): Oh, ze platform, oh, zat, ja, ja, yes...
  • In the Blood: "Destiny! Destiny! No escaping death for me!" The song "Transylvanian Lullaby" is also described as being in the family blood.
    • Also something of a subversion; Frederick is doing just fine escaping the family tradition (aside from a hamtastic moment in his lecture on neurobiology) until his great-grandfather's will and then his "servant" Frau Blücher (*NEIGH*) railroad him into it.
  • Inheritance Backlash: This is how the movie starts out. Fredrick Frankenstein is the chosen inheritor of his great-grandfather, and in order to satisfy the will, he must travel to Transylvania and visit the family castle at least once, which ultimately forces him to face his family legacy. This plot element may be difficult to glean, however, as the scenes laying out the details were all deleted from the final film.
  • Instant Sedation: The unnamed sedative that Inga uses on the monster knocks it out within seconds. But first Frederick has to instruct her to use it through charades because he's being throttled by the monster.
  • Insufferable Genius: Frederick has his moments.
  • Intimate Healing: Played for Laughs. At one point Frankenstein feels really bad and Inga keeps saying things like "If only there was something I could do to ease your mental torment". Cut to the two of them in bed together.
  • Iris Out: There is an Iris In effect when Elizabeth wakes up in the cave.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Deliberately, this being a Mel Brooks film. The movie takes place in Transylvania (located in Romania), but the townsfolk generally have bad German or Cockney accents. Kemp's is so terrible that his own countrymen have trouble understanding him.
  • Lampshade Hanging: After the horses Running Gag is established, Igor stays around, listening intently, and says, "... Blücher." (*NEIGH*) Then grins with satisfaction.
  • Large Ham:
    • Gene Wilder as Frederick Frankenstein.
    • Marty Feldman as Igor could also count, as he's clearly having fun as Igor.
    • Kenneth Mars as Inspector Kemp.
  • Leitmotif: "Transylvanian Lullaby", a Frankenstein family song, serves as the film's main theme and a repeated plot device to lure people by following the tune.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Frederick to Igor upon learning about "Abby Normal"'s brain.
    Frederick: Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven-and-half-foot-long.. fifty-four-inch-wide.. GORILLA?!?
  • Lighter and Softer: Things go much better for everyone involved than in any other version of the Frankenstein story. Most notably, the Monster does not accidentally kill the little girl, and Dr. Frankenstein learns to take responsibility for his creation and give him love and guidance, and this care ends up saving his life. In this version of the story, the only person killed by the Monster is a sadist jailer tormenting him.
  • Literal Metaphor: When Inga asks Dr. Frankenstein if he'd like a roll in the hay, she's offering a literal roll in the hay of the hay cart they're riding in.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Elizabeth's white streaks and hairdo after being abducted by the Monster. Also a homage to Bride of Frankenstein, naturally.
  • Mad Scientist: Frederick eventually lives up to this trope fully as part of his Character Development-with one critical difference from his forebears— he recognizes the consequences of his actions and actually attempts to mitigate them, and unlike previous Frankensteins in media, takes investment in his creation's well-being.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: Frederick finds the old grandad's laboratory hidden in the castle.
  • The Madness Place: Frederick enters this state after reading Victor's instructive book, and while creating his monster, though it fizzles out after the experiment seems to fail. A deleted scene shows it can be induced by the family lullaby.
  • Match Cut: The film fades from a planning sketch of the Monster swinging back and forth on a nail to the huge corpse the characters will use to make the Monster swinging from a noose.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Frau Blücher (*NEIGH*) is able to calm the Monster down by playing the violin. Later, it is used to lure him to capture.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Frederick screams "What have I done?" when the enraged Monster first breaks free. On the DVD commentary, Brooks says this was to keep the film in the structure of classic Yiddish theater, where act two always ends with either "What have I done?" or "She's pregnant!"
  • Mythology Gag: The book "How I Did It". In the original Frankenstein novel, we never do hear any details of just how the monster was brought to life. All the stuff with the lightning and stolen brains was added in later adaptations. Some of the lines he reads from the book are taken directly from the novel, however.
    • A subtle one occurs when Frederick announces that he and his creature will make the greatest contribution to science "since the creation of fire". The full title of the original book was Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, Prometheus being the Greek Titan who brought fire to mankind.
    • When the laboratory is first shown several of Henry Frankenstein's lines from Frankenstein (1931) are heard. Appropriate since the lab equipment is reused from that film.
    • When the Monster and the little girl are dropping petals down a well, it's an homage to a similar scene by the river from the first Frankenstein film, which was actually pretty obscure at the time of this film's making due to being a scene cut for several decades due to censors.
    • After having sex with the Monster, Elizabeth ends up with white streaks in her hair, similar to Bride of Frankenstein. At the end of the film, after they get married, she comes into the bedroom with her hair done up like the Bride and emulating her hisses from her initial waking in the film, although here they serve as foreplay.
    • Inspector Kemp's prosthetic arm, which the Monster accidentally pulls off at the film's end, is a reference to Inspector Krogh from Son of Frankenstein, who also had a prosthetic arm due to Frankenstein's Monster ripping off his real arm when he was a child.
    • The dart scene with Inspector Kemp is likewise an homage to a scene of Inspector Krogh playing darts in Son of Frankenstein.
    • The idea of using brain transplants to make the Monster more intelligent are fundamentally taken from The Ghost of Frankenstein.
    • The scene where the policeman torments a chained Monster with fire, only to be killed when he provokes the Monster too far, is based on the death of Fritz from Frankenstein (1931).
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Just saying "Frau Blücher" (*NEIGH*) causes horses to rear up in fright. Just the name; the woman's actual presence doesn't bother them at all.
  • Neck Lift: The Monster, to the police officer tormenting him.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Inspector Kemp's introduction, where he tries to establish how tough he is by setting his fingertips on fire, lighting a cigar with them, then dipping his fingers in a glass of water. The illusion is ruined by the fact that he can't move his arm on its own and it makes creaking noises, making it abundantly clear that it's a prosthetic.
  • No Matter How Much I Beg: Frederick locks himself in a room with the Monster to try to talk to him, and demands that he not be released. Inga and Igor almost release him, but Frau Blücher (*NEIGH*) stops them.
    • "..I was joking! Don't you know a joke when you hear one?! HA-HA-HA-HA!!"
    • "MOMMY!!"
  • Nonverbal Miscommunication: A game of charades while Frankenstein is being strangled ends up with Igor and Inga thinking he's trying to say "sedagive". Inga realizes he means "sedative" and the Monster is sedated, and Frankenstein furiously shouts ''"SEDAGIVE?!?!" upon being released.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Most of the villagers in Transylvania. (Strangely, one exception is a young boy.) It gets to the point where Inspector Kemp's authentic-sounding accent is barely intelligible.
  • Nuclear Candle: Subtly parodied with candelabra-bearing Frau Blücher's (*NEIGH*) comment "Stay close to the candles, the staircase can be treacherous." None of the candles are in fact lit.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: During final preparations to reanimate the monster, Igor is up on the roof. He demonstrates the ability to move instantly between places when the camera isn't on him.
    Frederick: Now tie off the kites and hurry down as fast as you can.
    Igor: What's the hurry?
    Frederick: There's a possibility of electrocution! Do you understand?
    Igor: [looks down through the skylight]
    Frederick: I say: There's a possibility of electrocution! Do you understand?!
    Igor: [now stepping in from offscreen next to Frederick] I understand, I understand! Why are you shouting?
    [Frederick looks back up at the skylight and does a double take]
    Frederick: Did you...Did you tie off the kites?
    Igor: Of course.
  • On One Condition: A deleted scene (kept intact in the novelization) explains how Frederick inherited the estate of his very distant and disliked great-grandfather: said Baron Frankenstein had left his estate to his much closer relatives, naming each of them specifically, to be divided up evenly, unless Frederick had of his own choosing become a doctor and achieved some esteem in his field. As this had indeed happened, all the money and property went to him. The idea was that the Baron wanted to give his inheritance to someone who would have some chance of erasing the stain on his family name. Frederick also had to meet the terms before the day Baron Frankenstein would become one hundred years old. Said Baron Frankenstein left instructions that his will was not to be read until then.
  • Parlor Games: Charades are used to inefficiently get Inga and Igor to sedate the Monster currently strangling Frederick. Igor also attempts to use them when Frederick strangles him before Kemp's arrival interrupts the group.
  • Parody Assistance: Props were recycled from the 1931 version of Frankenstein. Done not to save money but as an homage to the original film. It actually cost them quite a bit to use them.
  • Passed-Over Inheritance: Baron Frankenstein had closer relations than a distant great-grandson but they got nothing because he felt Frederick redeemed the family name by becoming a respected doctor.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Igor whacks one piece of machinery that doesn't turn off with the rest and it complies.
  • Personality Swap: Done partially and deliberately, with the Monster receiving part of Frankenstein's brain to become more functional. Frederick's end of the trade, however, isn't personality-based.
  • Pig Latin: "Ixnay on the ottenray!"
  • Plot-Triggering Book: Frederick Frankenstein is led by mysterious music to his late grandfather's private library at the end of the first act, where he finds his grandfather's book, How I Did It. It describes how Victor Frankenstein brought his creature to life, and inspires Frederick to do the same.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    Kemp: Und now, let us all go back to my place for a little spongecake, und a little vine, und - (his wooden arm pops off) -shit!
  • Pretentious Pronunciation:
    • An extended gag with Frederick and Igor.
    Igor: Dr. Frankenstein…
    Frankenstein: Fronken-steen.
    Igor: You're putting me on.
    Frankenstein: No, it's pronounced Fronkensteen.
    Igor: Do you also say Froderick?
    Frankenstein: No… Frederick.
    Igor: Well, why isn't it Froderick Fronkensteen?
    Frankenstein: It isn't. It's Frederick Fronkensteen.
    Igor: I see.
    Frankenstein: You must be Igor (pronounces it as Ee-gor).
    Igor: No, it's pronounced EYE-gor.
    Frankenstein: But they told me it was EE-gor.
    Igor: Well, they were wrong then, weren't they?
    • Frederick reverses himself, proudly taking on the traditional pronunciation for himself when he makes a breakthrough in showing love for his monster.
  • Pretty in Mink: Socialite Elizabeth has a few furs. Inga gets to wear a silver fox cape during the ill-fated presentation of the monster.
  • Produce Pelting: During Frederick and the Monster's performance. Definitely a parody of the trope, as the posh, well-to-do looking men pull the rotten cabbages straight out of their dress suits.
  • Pronouncing My Name for You: For the first third or so of the film, Frederick Frankenstein consistently corrects people's pronunciation of his surname: "Fraun-kon-shteen." Igor decides to be "Eye-gor" and calls Frederick "Froderick". Eventually, Frankenstein accepts the common pronunciation, while Igor sticks with Eye-gor.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Numerous examples, such as when Frederick tells the Monster, "You are not evil. You. Are. GOOD!"
  • Punny Name: Either out of misunderstanding or to lighten the blow of which brain Igor gave to Frederick for the Monster, he claims the donor was "Abby someone... Abby Normal".
  • Rabble Rouser:
    • At a town meeting one of the townspeople tries to stir up a lynch mob against the newest Baron Frankenstein.
      Townsman: He's a Frankenstein! And they're all alike. It's in their blood. They can't 'elp it. All those scientists, they're all alike. They say they're working for us. What they really want is to rule the world!
    • Later on, Inspector Kemp (an authority figure who had earlier argued against violence) changes his mind.
      Kemp: A riot is an ugly thing. Und I think that it is just about time that we had one!
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Inspector Kemp tells the worried and borderline riotous villagers that they can't go and lynch Frederick on suspicion alone. Of course, once there is evidence that Frederick has been making monsters, Kemp leads the lynch mob himself.
  • Reluctant Monster: The Monster, even more than the original.
  • Repeat After Me: "Walk this way." And the line inspired Aerosmith's song.
  • Retraux: Brooks went through a lot of effort to make the film look as close to a 1930s production as possible. The most obvious aspect of this is being black and white. Brooks initially worked with Columbia Studios as the production company, but soon took the film to Fox because Columbia insisted on filming in colour.
  • Reverse Polarity: Apparently this is the ultimate secret to raising the dead. Either that or Victor just documented that he plugged his equipment in backwards at first; the scene isn't clear.
  • Robbing the Dead: In the first scene, a ledger is taken from the coffin of the late Beaufort von Frankenstein. A deleted scene shows this is actually part of reading his will, which he made unnecessarily complicated just to mess with people.
  • Rock Bottom: Frederick Frankenstein and Igor are digging up a grave.
    Frankenstein: What a filthy job!
    Igor: Could be worse.
    Frankenstein: How?
    Igor: Could be raining.
    (Thunderclap. Torrents of rain.)
  • Roll in the Hay: Inga invites Frankenstein "to roll in ze hay" with her. She means it literally, since they're riding in a hay wagon and she thinks rolling around in it is fun.
  • Romantic False Lead: Surely not Elizabeth? You know, the woman who won't even let her fiancee kiss her and is absent during several key moments.
  • Running Gag:
  • Scary Stitches: Spoofed with the Monster, who uses zippers instead.
  • The Scottish Trope: "Blücher!" ''*NEIGH!*''
  • Schrödinger's Canon: Although it's well-researched, the film is still a goofy parody and doesn't make very serious attempts to place itself in continuity with the earlier, canonical Frankenstein films. It's mentioned that Frankenstein incidents have occurred in numbers, alluding to the Universal films' events all having happened in this one's universe, and it's implied that the original scientist was screwed out of the inheritance Frederick got because his pursuit of mad science destroyed his scientific reputation. All the same, the precedessor scientist is named "Victor" like in the book, rather than "Henry" as in the films, and several scenes and characters in this film directly parody scenes and characters from the real Frankenstein franchise, which wouldn't make much sense if they'd already existed before.
  • Science Is Bad: Subverted. Fredrick wants to avoid really new fields out of fear of becoming the latest example of this in his lineage, but unlike his namesake actually treats the monster with respect, care, and eventually puts himself at risk to repair his brain, leading the monster to become a functional, friendly member of society.
  • Secret Room: Frederick and Inga find out that there's a hidden room in the mansion, but struggle to get into it.
  • Seesaw Catapult: While wandering the countryside, the monster meets a little girl and plays with her. They get on a teeter-totter and when the monster sits down on it, the little girl is flung through the air and miraculously lands on the bed in her bedroom, to the relief of her parents who have both started to panic about her safety.
  • Shaming the Mob:
    • The Monster himself does it, with a speech mostly cribbed out of Shelley's original book.
    • Subverted when Inspector Kemp steps in front of an angry mob to calm them down: "A riot is an ugly thing. And I think it's just about time that we had one!"
  • Sherlock Scan: Within moments of Blücher (*NEIGH!*) showing Frederick his grandfather's library, Frederick calls her out for hiding the real library, as all the books in this one are too general for Frankenstein's specific practice.
  • Shoe Shine, Mister?: When Frederick's train pulls in, he asks a shoeshine boy, "Pardon me boy, is this the Transylvania Station?" The boy replies "Ja, ja. Track 29. Oh, can I give you a shine?" This is a Shout-Out to the 1941 song "Chattanooga Choo Choo".
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: As noted with Mythology Gag, the film is astonishingly knowledgeable about the original film. For instance, the little girl scene at the time was almost unknown because it had been removed from the original cut of the film, and only restored in The '80s.
  • Silly Will: The aged Baron Beaufort von Frankenstein leaves instructions that his estate shall be given to his distant great-grandson rather than shared among a cadre of mooching relatives if said great-grandson has become a respected doctor of his own accord. One of the relatives tries to pass this clause off as insanity but the executor reminded her that civilization is based on law. The scene was removed from the final film.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: First, Frederick and Inga. Later, Elizabeth and the Monster.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The somber musical score is squarely at odds with the screwball tone of the film, yet somehow works perfectly well. Mel intentionally kept the fact that the film was a comedy secret from the composer, resulting in serious music to a seriously funny movie.
  • Spooky Animal Sounds: Parodied alongside other horror movie tropes. As Frederick, Inga and Igor cross the forest to reach the Frankenstein castle, a wolf howls in the distant night. Inga, afraid, asks if it's a werewolf. Igor, thinking she's asking where the wolf is, points in its direction.
    Inga: Werewolf?
    Igor: There wolf. There castle.
  • Stand-In Portrait: Igor pretends to be one of the heads in the lab ("freshly dead") in order to surprise Inga and Frankenstein.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Igor. It's never explained how he got down so easily and quickly from the top of the lab to Frederick's side.
  • Stealth Sequel: Perhaps. A throwaway line amongst the villagers suggest they've dealt with Frankenstein's family "for years", implying events similar to the original Universal films may have occurred. One of the elders claims he still has nightmares from 5 times before; evidently at least that many of the 8 classic Universal Frankenstein pics actually happened, take your pick which ones.
  • Sting: "Call it a... hunch! Ba-dump tsch!"
  • Stock Sound Effects: Castle Thunder, repeatedly throughout the movie.
    • Also a Shout-Out, given that the stock thunder sound effect used in movies for decades was created for the original Frankenstein.
  • Take a Third Option: When Frederick finally embraces his grandfather's legacy, he symbolically stops pronouncing his surname wrong — but instead of pronouncing it the way everyone else does, he pronounces it in the authentic German manner, perhaps symbolizing that he will embrace the legacy on his own terms.
  • Tempting Fate: Igor claiming rain could make the grave-digging worse.
  • That Poor Cat: Hit with a dart.
    • Bonus points for being a Throw It In! moment Mel Brooks improvised while shooting the scene.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Parodied; as the monster tries to climb up the castle wall, Frederick keeps Igor and Inga from helping him, saying "He wants to do it himself!" The monster's expression screams "No I don't, help me!"
  • Thunder Equals Downpour: The rain Igor calls down is preceded by a thunderclap.
  • Title Drop: It's hard to catch thanks to Kemp's accent slurring the sentence, but it's there:
    Inspector Kemp: Und... ve had better cunfeeeerm de fect that yung Fronkenshtein ish indeed... vallowing in his grandfadder's footshtops! (What??)
  • Torches and Pitchforks: "A riot is an ugly thing. Und, I think that it's just about time that we had vun!!"
    • Also an Ironic Echo, since he'd earlier solemnly cautioned the townspeople about the dangers of a riot. ... Well, as solemnly as he could with that accent.
    • They turn out to be an incredibly reasonable example. When they storm the laboratory only to be confronted by the newly intelligent Monster, they... accept him with open arms and then leave without incident.
  • Too Unhappy to Be Hungry: While Igor and Inga are enjoying their dinner, Frederick is so crestfallen by the (seemingly) failed experiment that he just stares at the meal in front of him. Which leads to this exchange:
    Inga: Why look. You haven't even touched your food.
    Frederick: (slaps the food a few times) There. Now I touched it. Happy?!
    • Though his appetite does come back when it's time for dessert.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: Frederick has a hard time since his fiancee is so "delicate" and won't risk him ruining her outfit. At the end of it, it's all for naught as she ends up hacking her lungs out from the train smoke.
  • Tuckerisation:
    • The Gasthaus (guest house) at the beginning of the riot scene is Gasthaus Gruskoff, named after producer Michael Gruskoff.
    • The name on the third brain when Igor makes his selection is that of the movie's assistant property master, Charles Sertin.
  • The Unintelligible:
    • Inspector Kemp borders on this, even with his fellow countrymen. (See Title Drop above.)
    • The Monster also qualifies before Frederick gives him some of his intelligence.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Schwanzstucker", which is semi-accurate Yiddish; "schwanz" is indeed a word used to refer to the male member.
  • Video Will: Frederick Frankenstein's great-grandfather left a recorded message in an actual record. Turns into Broken Record, where, after the news of their not getting any inheritance has been relayed, the will gets stuck on the unfortunate phrase - "Up yours... Up yours... Up yours..."
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: While most of the movie's antagonists are played as silly, one policeman who torments the Monster with his fear of fire is notably played very seriously. (It's implied that he does it For the Evulz.) This is jarring compared to the light-heartedness of the rest of the film, though it helps to establish him as an Asshole Victim.
  • The Von Trope Family: Frederick's great-grandfather, Baron von Frankenstein.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Elizabeth faints when the monster kidnaps her (we only hear her scream from offscreen, but then see the monster carrying her in classic horror movie style) and is visually upset when she wakes up in a cave.
  • Walk This Way: Igor convinces Frederick to follow him down a set of stairs copying his gait and using his cane. Frederick's expression makes it clear that he can't believe he was convinced to do that.
  • Wham Line: Frankenstein is almost finished giving half of his mind to the monster when the rioters burst in to kill him. It looks like he was a minute too late...
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: At the beginning and end of the movie.
    • A very subtle gag - if you count them, the clock actually strikes thirteen!
  • With Catlike Tread: Leading the villagers as they creep through the forest, Kemp lifts his prosthetic arm to his lips so he can say "Shhhhh!"- then puts it back down, making a loud ratcheting noise each time.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The film is specifically a parody of Son of Frankenstein more than any other movie. The inspector with the wooden arm and the part where he talks with Frankenstein while playing darts are a direct lift.
  • Wipe: Some scene transitions happen via left-to-right linear wipe.
  • X-Ray Sparks: The Monster's creation.
  • You Just Had to Say It: A silent one occurs following the "could be raining" exchange when Frederick turns to stare at Igor...
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: Between the good doctor and Inspector Kemp:
    Inspector Kemp: Then I may give the villagers your complete assurance that you have no interest whatsoever in continuing your grandfather's work?
    Monster: (in background) MMMMMMM!
    Inspector Kemp: May I take that for a yes?
    Frederick: ...Mmm.

...Blücher! (*NEIGH*)


Video Example(s):


Peter Boyle's Monster

Young Frankenstein spoofs the Universal films and the monster has his head attached with zippers instead of bolts. It also pulls a Subverted Trope on the mythos because it's one of the only tellings where Frankenstein...or rather, "Fronk-en-steen" comes to realize he alone needs to take responsibility for his creation, guiding and protecting him. Therefore, it's also one of the only tellings that has a happy ending.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / FrankensteinsMonster

Media sources: