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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) – Episode 44 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“I know you’ll think I’m crazy, but… in a half-an-hour the moon will rise and I’ll turn into a wolf.” “You and 20 million other guys!” Join this episode’s Grue Crew – Chad Hunt, Whitney Collazo, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as they chuckle and guffaw their way through the comedy classic, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 44 – Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Once director Charles Barton was on board, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello reluctantly signed on for the Universal International Pictures’ production of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The film features a trio of Universal classic monsters – Dracula, Frankenstein (the monster), and the Wolf Man – as played by Bela LugosiGlenn Strange, and Lon Chaney Jr. respectively. Although the three monsters are there, the story-line doesn’t fit anywhere in the Universal monster canon, reinforcing its place as somewhat of a novelty among the other films.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein’s plot features two baggage handlers, Chick (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur (Lou Costello), tasked with delivering two large, coffin-sized containers holding Frankenstein and Dracula to McDougal’s House of Horrors. Dracula is in league with Dr. Mornay (Lenore Aubert), a mad scientist of sorts. In the meantime, Lawrence Talbot is trying to prevent delivery of the crates. The cast is supported by Jane Randolph in her last credited role, and the ever-present Frank Ferguson. As the brilliant comic duo roam the castle, much hi-jinks ensue!

The Classic Era Grue Crew couldn’t stop gushing about Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Chad goes into depth on the life of Bud Abbott and reminds us that this film includes Bela Lugosi’s second and last role as Dracula and Lon Chaney Jr.’s last role as the Wolf Man.  An infatuation with Jane Randolph, first revealed in Episode 37 (Cat People, 1941), is reiterated by Joseph. Whitney identifies noticeable differences in Lon Chaney Jr.’s makeup between that used in this film and 1941’s The Wolf Man (Episode 39), and expresses her appreciation for a strong female role as a scientist. Several connections with 1925’s Phantom of the Opera (Episode 42) are pointed out by Jeff, including cameraman/director of photography Charles Van Enger. They all remarked on this film’s ability to still have them rolling in the aisles after decades of watching it. Yes, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is still funny and it’s a great “horror” film to watch as a family!

The Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue Crew plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule will be The Killer Shrews (1959), starring Roscoe P. Coltrane and Festus.

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the films we love. Send us an email or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcast, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you so much for listening!

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Cat People (1942) – Episode 37 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“They torment me. I wake in the night and the trail of their feet whispers in my brain. I have no peace. For they are in me.” Irena Dubrovna apparently has an icky feeling inside? Join Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Whitney Modesta Collazo as they come on little cat feet and sit looking over Cat People on silent haunches. Wait. Does that sound familiar? Anyway, listen to the Grue Crew scratch below the surface of this unmitigated classic!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 37 – Cat People (1942)

Cat People is the first film in RKO’s plan to release low budget horror films intended to compete with Universal’s output. The studio handed their new effort to first time producer Val Lewton, who had been recommended by David O. Selznick. Lewton enlisted first time screenwriter DeWitt Bodean to write the script and then surrounded himself with an excellent crew led by director Jacques Tourneur and cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca.

Cast as Irena Dubrovna, the film’s central character, Simone Simon’s mysterious and exotic look was key to the success of Cat PeopleKent Smith took the role of her soon-to-be husband, Oliver Reed, with Jane Randolphrounding out the love triangle as Alice Moore, ostensibly Reed’s work colleague. The four main characters are rounded out by Tom Conway as Dr. Judd, a psychiatrist brought in to treat Irena’s obsession with the legend of her family’s curse and her accompnaying fears of intimacy. An able supporting cast, led by Alan Napier as another of Reed’s work colleagues and Jack Holt as Reed’s boss, make solid contributions to the feel and atmosphere of Cat People.

This episode’s Grue Crew all marvel at Tourneur’s and Musuraca’s use of shadows and fog to foster the eerie atmosphere present throughout Cat People and how truly terrifying the film is despite most of the action being hidden in shadows and not explicitly shown. Whitney is impressed by the stress and vulnerability she felt during the swimming pool scene and points out the impact the set design has on creating the film’s mood. Chad emphasizes the sophistication of the film, its tight script, and the existence of the storytelling technique known as the “Lewton Bus.” He also points out three – count ‘em, three – more connections to the Batman TV series. We learn of Joseph’s unrequited love for Jane Randolph (Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, 1948). Jeff and Joseph remark on some of the similarities that Cat People has with film noir and Jeff gets lost in the supporting cast. Of course he did. Needless to say, they all pronounce Cat People to be a must see film!

We plan to release a new episode every other week. On the next episode in our very flexible schedule, we ‘ll be covering Die, Monster, Die! (1965), the film that tied for first place in our latest Patreon Poll.

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the films we love. Send us an email or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!