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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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The Wolf Man (1941) – Episode 39 – Decades Of Horror: The Classic Era

“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” Of course, that poem is in reference to the Universal Classic Monster film, The Wolf Man! Join Chad Hunt, Whitney Collazo, and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Jacob Allen, as they take a midnight stroll with Larry Talbot through the fog-shrouded woods on a moonlit night. Be sure to bring your walking cane, the one with the silver wolf’s head! You will most certainly need it.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 39 – The Wolf Man (1941)

This episode’s Grue Crew loves The Wolf Man so much, they recorded this podcast twice! Whether beset by electromagic gremlins or cursed directly from film by Maleva, the first recording didn’t take, so they all went back for seconds. And you thought they’d been goofing off.

The Wolf Man might embody Universal’s most original monster. Based on an original screenplay by Curt Siodmakand directed by George Waggner, the film started much of the werewolf mythology still used in film today. The solid cast, sporting seven Oscar nominations among them, is led by Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, and includes Claude Rains as his father, Evelyn Ankers as the female lead Gwen, Ralph Bellamy as Colonel Montford, Patric Knowles as Gwen’s boyfriend, Warren William as Dr. Boyd, and Fay Helm as Gwen’s friend. To top it off, the cast is blessed with Maria Ouspenskaya as Maleva and the inimitable Bela Lugosi as her son, Bela. The supernatural elements of the story or rendered entirely believable by the work of Jack Pierce, makeup artist extraordinaire.

Your Grue Crew marvels at the many facets through which Larry Talbot’s affliction can be viewed. Siodmak was surely thinking of the persecution he fled in Nazi Germany, but the story can be seen as a metaphor for a multitude of other conflicts common to most individuals’ lives, thereby explaining the film’s resonance with so many viewers.

Whitney proudly admits to being inspired by Jack Pierce’s makeup art. Claude Rains is only 17 years older than Lon Chaney Jr., who plays his son, and Jeff wonders how old Daddy Talbot must have been when his oldest son was born. Jacob is awed by the direction and organization it must have taken to complete the film in a short amount of time especially while working around the lengthy makeup process. When it comes to The Wolf Man, Chad is all about the mythic stature of Maria Ouspenskaya. As you may have guessed, their recommendation, assuming you’ve already seen this film, is see it again and again! Now!

We plan to release a new episode every other week. On the next episode in our very flexible schedule, we‘ll be covering Mario Bava’s Black Sunday (1960).

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 for listening!

 

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Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971) – Episode 24 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Yesterday they were cold and dead. Today they’re hot and bothered!” – the tagline for the Al Adamson 1971 cult classic Dracula vs Frankenstein immediately sets up the unique tone and goofy splendor that this one-of-kind film possesses. There is literally no other film like it – and there should never be one.  The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 24 – Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971)

Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971) is a quirky combination of three separate films, starting off as a sequel to Al Adamson’s hit biker film Satan’s Sadists then morphing into The Blood Seekers before adding the titular monsters for Dracula vs Frankenstein. The result is spectacular in its awfulness, a must-see film. The film stars horror favorite J. Carrol Naish and icon Lon Chaney Jr. in their final horror film roles as Dr. Frankenstein and the Mad Zombie. Dracula and Frankenstein are played by Zandor Vorkov and John Bloom – the monster is also credited to Shelly Weiss who donned the make-up for the final scene. Bill Mulligan returns to guess-host along side Doc and the Black Saint as they take a fascinating look back as Dracula vs Frankenstein.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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