Monday, September 28, 2015

Rankenstein: Ranking The Universal Frankenstein Films

Ah, the end of a big retrospective.  This wound up being bigger than anticipated, eh?  I had a lot of fun with this one.  Its one of my favorite horror franchises and movie monsters of all time.  Its always great to see the chances, jumps, tropes and many other things that were originating with this very series.  And its incredible the legacy that these films have left that is still going strong.  Go out looking at Halloween decorations (hell yes, tis the season) and you'll see its the image of Karloff from Whale's film that is THE definitive one.  

Now comes the time to put an order to all these films, which is not too tough of a task until we get to the very top.  Thanks for keeping up with this one and I hope you enjoyed all the "extra" little pieces and films that got thrown in with it.  I also hope you'll come along and enjoy the direction I'm going next.  Thanks again!

8. House of Dracula (1945)

While I didn't dislike watching any entry in this retrospective canon, this one just didn't hold up even close to the others.  The budgets had completely gone and they weren't even hiding it anymore it seemed.  The story for it was extremely tired at this time, too as it was the exact same idea that was introduced in Ghost of Frankenstein, done now for the 4th or 5th time.

7. House of Frankenstein (1944)

I originally thought I'd place this higher than Meets the Wolf Man, but upon further inspection, while this is pretty fun, I do think the former film delivered much better on its promise.  Feeling like 2 separate films, its a shame Dracula didn't get more involved with the main plot more than he was.  Karloff returning is a bonus and he's a joy to see as a mad scientist.

6. Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

A surprise that it falls so low on the list, I know.  But, if right now, I was to reach quickly and get a Frankenstein film to watch...this likely wouldn't be it.  While its fun and humor in it still works, the film is significantly longer than the others and moves at a more snail like pace.  I like the film well enough, but its not as easy to get through as it once was.

5. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

On the list of famous "lost films" or different cuts of films I would love to see, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man's original form is on there.  I'd like to know more about the monster in this film.  This one works more as a sequel to the Wolf Man.  The first half is a pretty creepy little straight sequel to The Wolf Man.  But, when they get the two monsters together its interesting and then it doesn't disappoint with a very groovy fight in the finale.

4. Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

This one is no masterpiece, but its just fine.  When getting to this one, the story is fresh and provides for a different and interesting experience.  However, this storyline of swapping a brain in the monster would haunt the series until it finished out (Even Abbott & Costello's film deal with that).  In this one though, its new and tells story that changes scenery and goes into territory not traveled while still maintaining some of the series' tropes.

3. Son of Frankenstein (1939)

I love this one, personally.  Its JUST shy of competing with the first two.  I really don't think the distance in quality is as far as some would make you think.  The story is different and works.  Its long, but never feels that way.  Bela Lugosi gives his finest performance in a Universal Monster film here (and maybe ever?) as Ygor, topping his iconic and more recognized performance as Count Dracula in the Todd Browning film.

2. Frankenstein (1931)

One of the most beautiful and perfect horror films ever made.  The only problem being that its follow up was just that much more unique and better than it to edge out.  The film really launched the monster movies into a big thing and carved a career for Boris Karloff.  I love love love love love this movie and hate to pick favorites or put them in order, but...

1. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

...yeah Bride edges it out.  The film embellishes more on the weird, the artistic and takes the story we all know and takes it in its most interesting direction.  It adds some more of the book for good measure too.  Its every bit as iconic as the first film.  We also get one of the coolest movie monsters ever, that came, went and saw one of the biggest legacies left for 4 minutes.  If someone were to argue the first is better, I won't disagree, some days it could be a coinflip for me.  But both parties would agree this is one of the greatest sequels ever put to film.  Its got everything you love about the first film, but adds much more stuff you love just the same.  

That's that...feel free to leave your personal rankings down in the comments.  Let the gates open and tell me what you think on the series and whatnot.  And, come back for next time

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