Monday, October 03, 2011

31 Days of Frankenstein: Hellzapoppin and the Ghost

Hellzapoppin' (1941)



Since this was produced by Universal, it's really a bona fide use of their version of the Monster, just not one that most people remember. Hellzapoppin' is a completely insane, everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink musical review based on a stage version by the same name. It's the kind of thing where everyone's doing a conga number and from out of nowhere a guy in a fur coat comes out to shoot at a bear in a fake tree. "Ha ha ha!" says the bear. "You missed me. You need glasses." Then one of the hunter's dogs says to the other one, "Can you imagine that? A talking bear!"

I searched for a YouTube clip of the Frankenstein part and couldn't find it, but IMDB says that towards the end of the movie, Frankenstein grabs Martha Raye and throws her onto the stage. From what I've seen of the rest of the film, the Monster probably comes from the same place as that hunter and his talking dogs: the writer's butt.

Just because it's awesome, here's the ending:



The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)



After Son of Frankenstein, Universal's Frankenstein movies went from A- to B-movie status. The first of them was Ghost of Frankenstein with Lon Chaney Jr taking Boris Karloff's place in the makeup. It's a difficult adjustment to make as a viewer, especially if watched right after Son. Karloff's gaunt Monster is terrifying; Chaney's thicker version looks as comical as the one in Hellzapoppin'.

That said, I do like Ghost quite a bit. As Ygor, Bela Lugosi is even more menacing in it than he was in Son. It's too bad he doesn't continue playing Ygor in the next film...

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