The picture is the first of several films in which the comedy duo meets classic characters from Universal's horror film stable. In this film, they encounter Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange), and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.). Subsequent films pair the duo with the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Mummy. (The comedians interacted with the last of the Universal Studios monsters, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, on live television on the Colgate Comedy Hour in 1954.) This film is considered the swan song for the "Big Three" Universal horror monsters, none of whom had appeared in a Universal film since House of Dracula (1945).
In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed this film "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, and in September 2007, Reader's Digest selected the movie as one of the top 100 funniest films of all time. The film is number 56th on the list of the American Film Institute's "100 Funniest American Movies".
|Bud Abbott and Lou Costello meet Frankenstein|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Charles Barton|
|Produced by||Robert Arthur|
|Based on||Characters by|
|Music by||Frank Skinner|
|Cinematography||Charles Van Enger|
|Edited by||Frank Gross|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|June 15, 1948 (US)|
|Box office||$3.2 million|
Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) makes an urgent phone call from London to a Florida railway station where Chick Young (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur Grey (Lou Costello) work as baggage clerks. Talbot tries to impart to Wilbur the danger of a shipment due to arrive for "McDougal's House Of Horrors", a local wax museum. The crates purportedly contain the remains of Count Dracula (Béla Lugosi) and the Frankenstein monster (Glenn Strange). However, before Wilbur can understand, a full moon rises and Talbot transforms into a werewolf. He proceeds to destroy his hotel room while Wilbur is on the line. Wilbur thinks the call is a prank and hangs up. Meanwhile, the museum owner, McDougal (Frank Ferguson), has arrived to claim the shipments. When Wilbur badly mishandles the crates, McDougal demands that the boys deliver them to his museum so his insurance agent can inspect them.
Chick and Wilbur deliver the crates after hours. They open the first one and find Dracula's coffin. When Chick leaves the room to retrieve the second crate, Wilbur reads aloud the Dracula legend printed on an exhibit card. The coffin slowly creaks open. Wilbur is so frightened that his attempts to call Chick result in helpless sputtering. Before Chick returns with the second crate, Dracula climbs unnoticed out of his coffin and hides in the shadows. Wilbur claims that the coffin opened, but Chick shows him that it is in fact empty. While the boys open the second crate containing the Monster, Chick leaves the room to greet McDougal and the insurance agent. Dracula now hypnotizes Wilbur and reanimates the Monster. They both leave and by the time McDougal, the insurance agent, and Chick enter, both crates are empty. McDougal accuses the boys of theft and has them arrested.
That night, Dr. Sandra Mornay (Lenore Aubert) welcomes Dracula and the Monster to her island castle. Sandra, a gifted surgeon who has studied Dr. Frankenstein's notebooks, has seduced Wilbur as part of Dracula's plan to replace the Monster's brutish brain with a more pliable one—Wilbur's.
Wilbur and Chick are bailed out of jail. They assume that Sandra posted bond, but Joan Raymond (Jane Randolph), an undercover investigator for the insurance company, did so. Joan also feigns love for Wilbur, hoping that he will lead her to the missing "exhibits". Wilbur invites Joan to a masquerade ball that evening. Meanwhile, Lawrence Talbot has tracked Dracula and the Monster from Europe and has taken the apartment across the hall from Wilbur and Chick. Talbot asks Chick and Wilbur to help him find and destroy Dracula and the Monster. Wilbur believes, but Chick remains skeptical.
That night Wilbur, Chick and Joan go to Sandra's castle to pick her up for the ball. Wilbur answers a telephone call from Talbot, who informs them that they are in fact in the "House of Dracula". Wilbur reluctantly agrees to search the castle with Chick and soon stumbles upon a basement staircase that leads to a boat and dock. Chick insists they search for Dracula and the Monster to prove to Wilbur that they do not really exist. Behind a revolving door, Wilbur experiences a few close calls with the monsters; whenever he tries to get Chick's attention, the monsters have disappeared. Meanwhile, Joan discovers Dr. Frankenstein's notebook in Sandra's desk and Sandra finds Joan's insurance company employee ID in her purse.
As the men and women prepare to leave for the ball, a suavely dressed Dr. Lahos (a.k.a. Dracula) introduces himself to Joan and the boys. Also working at the castle is the naive Prof. Stevens (Charles Bradstreet), who questions some of the specialized equipment that has arrived. After Wilbur admits that he was in the basement, Sandra feigns a headache and tells Wilbur and the others that they will have to go to the ball without her. In private, Sandra admits to Dracula that Stevens' suspicions, Joan's credentials, and Wilbur's snooping in the basement have made her nervous enough to put the experiment on hold. Dracula asserts his will by hypnotizing her and biting her in the neck (in a continuity error, Dracula's reflection is visible in a mirror. Vampires do not have reflections, as stated in Dracula (1931)).
Everyone is now at the masquerade ball. Talbot arrives and confronts Dr. Lahos, who is in costume as Dracula. Lejos easily deflects Talbot's accusations and takes Joan to the dance floor. Sandra lures Wilbur to a quiet spot in the woods and attempts to bite him, but Chick and Larry approach and she flees. While Talbot, Chick and Wilbur search for Joan, Talbot transforms into the Wolf Man and stalks Wilbur. Wilbur escapes, but the Wolf Man attacks McDougal, who is also at the ball. Since Chick's costume includes a wolf mask, McDougal accuses Chick of attacking him out of revenge. Chick escapes and witnesses Dracula hypnotizing Wilbur. Chick is also hypnotized and rendered helpless, while Dracula and Sandra bring Wilbur and Joan back to the castle. The next morning, Chick and Talbot, both fugitives, meet up in the bayou. Talbot confesses to Chick that he is indeed the Wolf Man. Chick explains that Dracula has taken Wilbur and Joan to the island and they agree to work together to rescue them.
Wilbur is held in a pillory in the cellar. Sandra explains her plan to transplant his brain into the Monster. When she and Dracula leave him to prepare the Monster for the operation, Chick and Talbot sneak in to set Wilbur and Stevens free. Dracula and Sandra return to the cellar and find Wilbur missing; Dracula easily recalls Wilbur and he soon finds himself strapped to an operating table in the lab. The Monster is on an adjacent table, receiving electric shocks. As Sandra brings a scalpel to Wilbur's forehead, Talbot and Chick burst in. Talbot pulls Sandra away from Wilbur and Chick unintentionally knocks her out while fending off Dracula with a chair. Chick flees the lab, pursued by Dracula. Talbot is about to untie Wilbur when he once again transforms into the Wolf Man. Dracula returns to the lab and engages in a brief tug of war with the Wolf Man over Wilbur's gurney. Dracula flees and the Wolf Man gives chase. Chick returns to untie Wilbur just as the Monster, now at full power, breaks his restraints and climbs off his gurney. Sandra attempts to command him, but the Monster picks her up and tosses her out the lab window to her death. Chick and Wilbur escape the lab and run from room to room with the Monster following them.
Dracula, while fighting with the Wolf Man, attempts to escape by transforming into a bat. The Wolf Man leaps, catches the bat and tumbles off a balcony onto the rocks below. Presumably, both are killed. Joan abruptly wakes from her trance and is rescued by Stevens. The boys run out of the castle to the pier, with the Monster still in pursuit. They climb into a small rowboat, while Stevens and Joan arrive and set the pier ablaze. The Monster wheels around into the flames, succumbing as the pier collapses into the water.
Wilbur scolds Chick for not believing him. Chick insists that now that all of the monsters are dead, "there's nobody to frighten us anymore." They suddenly hear a disembodied voice (provided by an uncredited Vincent Price) and see a cigarette floating in the air. The voice says, "Oh, that's too bad. I was hoping to get in on the excitement. Allow me to introduce myself—I'm the Invisible Man!" The boys jump out of the boat and swim away while the Invisible Man laughs.
The film was re-released theatrically by Realart in 1956 on a co-bill with Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff.'
After being released several times on VHS in the 1980s and 1990s, the film was released four times on DVD. Originally released as a single DVD on August 29, 2000, it was re-released twice as part of two different Abbott and Costello collections, The Best of Abbott and Costello Volume Three, on August 3, 2004, and again on October 28, 2008 as part of Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection. The film's Blu-ray debut and DVD re-release was on September 4, 2012 as part of Universal's 100th Anniversary series. It was also included in Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Collection (2014) along with seven other Universal Frankenstein films. Because this movie includes characters and people featured in their own collections, it is part of the legacy collections of "Frankenstein", "Dracula", "The Wolf Man", and "The Best of Abbott and Costello". It was released again on Blu-ray, as a stand-alone title, on October 14, 2014.
According to Variety the film earned $2.2 million in rentals in the US in 1948.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 88% based on 25 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 7.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A zany horror spoof that plays up and then plays into the best of Universal horror cliches."
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (the film's poster title), or Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff (the onscreen title)—usually referred to as simply Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff—is a 1949 horror comedy film directed by Charles Barton starring Abbott and Costello and Boris Karloff.
In 1956 the film was re-released along with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.Blairstown Theater Festival
The Blairstown Theater Festival operated from December 2006 through November 2007 at historic Roy's Hall (also known as Roy's Theatre), a former silent movie theater built in 1913 at 30 Main Street in Blairstown, New Jersey.
On July 13, 2007, the company attracted considerable media attention when they presented three screenings of the classic horror film, Friday the 13th, which was shot in and around Blairstown in the fall of 1979. Roy's Hall appears in the film shortly after the opening credits.The company's January 2007 production of Letters from the Inside was selected by The Star-Ledger as one of the top five new plays of the 2006–2007 New Jersey theater season and actress Kelli Ambrose, who played Mandy in Letters from the Inside, was selected as one of the top five Best Leading Actresses in a Play.Among the other concerts and productions presented by the Blairstown Theater Festival were Nancy Anderson singing early Broadway songs backed by the Baroque Orchestra of North Jersey (Baroque to Broadway), the Still River Band in Concert, Malachy McCourt and Jarlath Conroy in A Couple of Blaguards, Betsy Palmer and Will Hutchins in A.R. Gurney's Love Letters, the New Jersey premiere of I Am Anne Frank, and concerts by cabaret performers KT Sullivan (Vienna to Weimar), John O'Neil ('So Kaye), the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble (Holiday Light), Cris Groenendaal (Music of the Night), Jana Robbins (One Hell of a Ride! The Songs of Cy Coleman) and jazz pianist Bill Mays and his Inventions Trio.The company also presented several film festivals with such classic titles as Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Seven Samurai, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, A Night at the Opera, The Court Jester, La Belle et la Bête, Black Orpheus, Mon Oncle, The Wages of Fear and La Strada.
The Blairstown Theater Festival was not able to continue past its first season for several reasons. Most significantly, Blairstown Township suddenly increased the real estate taxes on the building by more than 680% (from $1,031.55 to $7,032.30) and the landlord decided to sell the theatre.A CD featuring highlights from the Blairstown Theater Festival's season was released in February 2008.Frankenstein's monster
Frankenstein's monster, often erroneously referred to as "Frankenstein", is a fictional character who first appeared in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Shelley's title thus compares the monster's creator, Victor Frankenstein, to the mythological character Prometheus, who fashioned humans out of clay and gave them fire.
In Shelley's Gothic story, Victor Frankenstein builds the creature in his laboratory through an ambiguous method consisting of chemistry and alchemy. Shelley describes the monster as 8-foot-tall (2.4 m) and hideously ugly, but sensitive and emotional. The monster attempts to fit into human society but is shunned, which leads him to seek revenge against Frankenstein. According to the scholar Joseph Carroll, the monster occupies "a border territory between the characteristics that typically define protagonists and antagonists".Frankenstein's monster became iconic in popular culture, and has been featured in various forms of media, like films, television series, merchandise and video games. His most iconic version is his portrayal by Boris Karloff in the 1931 film Frankenstein.Frankenstein (film)
The horror novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley has inspired a number of films:
From the silent film era:
Life Without Soul (1915)
Il mostro di Frankenstein (1920)A film series by Universal Studios:
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
House of Frankenstein (1944)
House of Dracula (1945)
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)A film series by Hammer Film Productions:
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
The Evil of Frankenstein (1963)
Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)
The Horror of Frankenstein (1970)
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)Other adaptations of the novel:
Flesh for Frankenstein (1973)
Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)
Frankenstein Unbound (1990)
Frankenstein (1992 film) (1992)
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (film) (1994)
Frankenstein (US TV miniseries) (2004)
Frankenstein (2004 film) (2004)
Frankenstein (2007 film) (2007)
Frankenstein (2015 film) (2015)Adaptations loosely based on the novel:
Frankenstein 1970 (1958)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Bride (film) (1985)
I, Frankenstein (2014)
Victor Frankenstein (2015)
The Frankenstein Chronicles (2015 TV Series)House of Dracula
House of Dracula is a 1945 American monster crossover horror film released by Universal Pictures. It was a direct sequel to House of Frankenstein, and continued the theme of combining Universal's three most popular monsters: Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange), Count Dracula (John Carradine), and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.). The film, which was the seventh Universal film to feature Frankenstein's monster, as well as the fourth with Count Dracula and the Wolf Man, was a commercial success, but was one of the last Universal movies featuring Frankenstein's monster, vampires, and werewolves, with the exception of the comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), in which all three appear.Jane Randolph
Jane Randolph (born Jane Roemer, October 30, 1914– May 4, 2009), was an American film actress. She was born in Youngstown, Ohio and died in Gstaad, Switzerland, from complications of a broken hip.Larry Talbot
Lawrence Stewart "Larry" Talbot, also known as The Wolf Man, is a title character of the 1941 Universal film The Wolf Man and its sequels. He was portrayed by Lon Chaney Jr. In the 2010 remake of the film, he is portrayed by Academy Award-winner Benicio del Toro. The Wolf Man was part of the Universal Monsters ensemble.Lenore Aubert
Lenore Aubert (born Eleanore Maria Leisner, April 18, 1913 – July 31, 1993) was a model and Hollywood actress best known for her movie roles as exotic, mysterious women.Leslie I. Carey
Sound recordist Leslie I. Carey (August 3, 1895 – June 17, 1984) first hit Hollywood in 1938, where he embarked on the first of over 300 films. Some of these were A Double Life in 1947, The Naked City and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein in 1948, Winchester '73 in 1950, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Magnificent Obsession in 1954, Man Without a Star and This Island Earth in 1955, The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) and Operation Petticoat (1959). Also in the late 1950s, he worked extensively on the "Peter Gunn" TV series. Nominated six times for the Academy Awards, he won an Oscar in 1954 for The Glenn Miller Story.List of comedy films of the 1940s
This is a list of comedy films released in the 1940s.List of films featuring Frankenstein's monster
There is a body of films that feature Frankenstein's monster.Nothing but Trouble (1991 film)
Nothing but Trouble is a 1991 American horror comedy film directed by Dan Aykroyd in his directorial debut, and written by Aykroyd based on a story by Peter Aykroyd. Chevy Chase and Demi Moore star as yuppies who are taken to court for speeding in the bizarre, financially bankrupt small town of Valkenvania. Dan Aykroyd costars as the town's 106-year-old judge, Alvin Valkenheiser, who holds a personal grudge against financiers, and John Candy has a supporting role as Valkenheiser's grandson, chief of police Dennis Valkenheiser. The film's tone was compared by critics to films such as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Psycho, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as well as The Munsters. The film's humor was described as being derived from sketch comedy and gross-out humor.
Production commenced in 1990 under the title Git, which was changed in production to Valkenvania. Subsequently, prior to the film's release, Warner Bros. changed the title to Nothing but Trouble; director Dan Aykroyd, in a press statement released in December 1990, said that he preferred the Valkenvania title. The film was noted for its strongly negative reception, with criticism directed at its humor, screenplay, tone, and direction. Aykroyd would go on to receive a Worst Supporting Actor Razzie at the 12th Golden Raspberry Awards.Terror in the Aisles
Terror in the Aisles is a 1984 American documentary film about horror films featuring clips from Friday the 13th I and II, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween I and II, Jaws 1 and 2, Alien, John Carpenter's The Thing, The Shining and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and The Birds. The film is directed by Andrew J. Kuehn, and hosted by Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen. The original music score is composed by John Beal.The Ghost Breakers
The Ghost Breakers is a 1940 American horror comedy film directed by George Marshall and starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. The film was adapted by Walter DeLeon from the play The Ghost Breaker by Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard.Along with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and Hope and Goddard's own The Cat and the Canary, it is cited as a prime example of the classic Hollywood horror-comedy.The Ghost of Frankenstein
The Ghost of Frankenstein is a 1942 American horror film, and the fourth in a series of films produced by Universal Studios based upon characters in Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein. The film features Lon Chaney Jr. as the Monster, taking over from Boris Karloff, who played the role in the first three films of the series, and Bela Lugosi in his second and final appearance as the demented Ygor. The supporting cast features Lionel Atwill, Cedric Hardwicke, Ralph Bellamy and Evelyn Ankers.The House of Frankenstein (film)
House of Frankenstein is a 1944 American monster crossover horror film starring Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr., directed by Erle C. Kenton, written by Curt Siodmak, and produced by Universal Studios as a sequel to Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man and Son of Dracula the previous year. The cast includes a mad scientist (Karloff), the Wolf Man (Chaney), Count Dracula (John Carradine), a hunchback (J. Carrol Naish), and Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange). This "monster rally" approach would continue in the following film, House of Dracula, as well as the 1948 comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.The Invisible Man's Revenge
The Invisible Man's Revenge is a 1944 science fiction horror film directed by Ford Beebe and written by Bertram Millhauser. The picture stars John Carradine as a mad scientist who tests his experiment on Jon Hall. The supporting cast features Evelyn Ankers.
Revenge is the fifth film in the Invisible Man series, suggested by H. G. Wells' novel The Invisible Man.The Wolf Man (1941 film)
The Wolf Man is a 1941 American horror film written by Curt Siodmak and produced and directed by George Waggner. The film features Lon Chaney Jr. in the title role, and also features Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Patric Knowles, and Bela Lugosi; with Evelyn Ankers, and Maria Ouspenskaya in supporting roles. The title character has had a great deal of influence on Hollywood's depictions of the legend of the werewolf. The film is the second Universal Pictures werewolf film, preceded six years earlier by the less commercially successful Werewolf of London (1935).
Lon Chaney Jr. would reprise his classic role as "The Wolf Man" in four sequels, beginning with Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man in 1943.
Films directed by Charles Barton