|Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man|
|Date of Release:||March 5, 1943|
|Followed by:||House of Frankenstein|
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is a 1943 American horror film directed by Roy William Neill. The film stars Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Wolf Man and Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's Monster. This was the first of a series of later called "monster rallies" combining characters from several film series. This film's script written by Curt Siodmak follows The Ghost of Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man. The film involves Larry Talbot who is brought back to life. Seeking a way to return to his death to escape his werewolf curse, he meets with gypsy Maleva (Maria Ouspenskaya) who advises him that the only way to stay dead is to confer with Dr. Frankenstein. The doctor is long dead but his equipment is in working condition, leading Talbot to seek the help of scientist Dr. Mannering (Patric Knowles) and Frankenstein descendant Baroness Elsa Frankenstein (Ilona Massey). Talbot then attempts to have his life sucked from his body and transferred into Frankenstein's monster (Bela Lugosi).
Developed under the title Wolf Man Meets Frankenstein, the film was originally developed with Lon Chaney Jr. to portray both Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolf Man, an idea that was halted before production began because of the physical toll it would take on the actor. The script was filmed with the monster originally having lines of dialogue which were later removed after a studio pre-screening for the film which led to the production staff laughing at Bela Lugosi's delivery of the lines. This led to Lugosi's dialogue being removed from the final film. The film was released to what the authors of the book Universal Horrors described as "lukewarm reviews". The film led to a series of what were later described as "monster rallies" involving having name-brand monsters interact with each other in films. Universal would follow this with The House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula.
Four years after the events of The Wolf Man and The Ghost of Frankenstein, two men break into the Talbot family crypt on the night of a full moon to open the grave of Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), seeking jewelry that was buried with him. During the robbery, the thieves remove the wolfsbane buried with Talbot, awakening him from death by the full moon shining on his uncovered body. Talbot reflexively grasps the arm of the grave robber with a fur-covered hand, as the other thief flees. Talbot is found by the police in Cardiff later that night, with a vicious head wound (administered by his father at the end of The Wolf Man), and taken to a hospital where he is treated by Dr. Mannering. Talbot slowly comes to understand his situation, but during the full moon, he transforms into the Wolf Man and kills a police constable. The next morning, Mannering realizes his patient had been roaming about, and tries to reason with him, though unable to accept Talbot's explanation of his curse. Dr. Mannering allows Inspector Owen to question Talbot, who becomes violently irate, then is overcome by orderlies and bound to his bed with leather straps. Not believing his story of being a werewolf, the doctor and detective travel to the village of Llanwelly to investigate Talbot and his story. While they are away, Talbot escapes from the hospital by biting through the restraints with his teeth. Seeking a cure for the curse that causes him to transform into a werewolf with every full moon, Talbot leaves Britain and seeks the gypsy woman Maleva, who has hearsay knowledge of Dr. Frankenstein and opines he may able to help Talbot. Together they travel to the village of Vasaria, where Talbot hopes to find the notes of Dr. Frankenstein in the remains of his estate, and permanently end his own life through scientific means. The townsfolk want no part of them or their desire to meet with the deceased Frankenstein, rudely ordering them to leave.
An upset Talbot transforms into the Wolf Man and kills a young woman, causing the villagers of Vasaria to raise a mob to chase him down. Fleeing toward the ruins of the Frankenstein castle, Talbot falls through the burned-out flooring and into the frozen cellars below. Talbot recovers from his animal state, and wanders around, discovering Frankenstein's Monster (portrayed by Lon Chaney Jr. in the preceding film, but now played by Bela Lugosi) trapped within an icy chamber; using a stone, Talbot breaks the ice and helps pull the now-revived creature free. Finding that the Monster is unable to locate the notes of the long-dead doctor, Talbot poses as a potential buyer of the Frankenstein estate in order to seek out Baroness Elsa Frankenstein (Ilona Massey) the daughter of Ludwig, hoping she knows their hiding place. She declines to assist Talbot, but the pair are invited to the "Festival of the New Wine" by the Burgomeister. During the festival, a performance of the life-affirming folk song Faro-la Faro-Li enrages Talbot as Dr. Mannering arrives. The doctor, having followed him across Europe, attempts to persuade Talbot to return to Wales before he has another spell. Talbot refuses to go with Mannering, and the Monster crashes the festival. With the Monster revealed, Elsa and Mannering agree to help the villagers rid themselves of Frankenstein's curse forever. The following morning, the couple, with Maleva in tow, meet with Talbot and the Monster at the ruins. Mannering is instantly fascinated by the Monster from a scientific perspective. The Baroness gives the notes to Talbot and the doctor. Mannering studies the notes and learns how to drain all life from both Talbot and the Monster, believing the laboratory can be repaired for the task.
In the meantime, the villagers are dismayed to see crates of scientific instruments arriving for Dr. Mannering. Ignorant of Mannering's plan to cure Talbot, the villagers fear another return of the Frankenstein Monster, and they grow suspicious. Vazec, the innkeeper, details a plan to destroy the dam overlooking the Frankenstein estate with dynamite and drown all within, in the hopes that this will put a final end to the attacks from both the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man. The Burgomeister dismisses the idea as nothing but a drunken notion, but Vazec is determined and puts his plan into action.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mannering begins his experimental procedure of using electricity to drain the life force from both Talbot and the Monster, but Mannering's scientific curiosity to see the monster at full strength overwhelms his logic, and to Elsa's horror, he decides to alter the machines to fully revive the monster. The experiment coincides on the night of a full moon, and Talbot transforms yet again as the Monster regains his strength (and eyesight); both escape their restraints. The Monster begins to carry Elsa away, but the Wolf Man attacks him, and she escapes from the castle with Mannering. The Wolf Man and the Monster then engage in a fight until they are both swept away in the flood that results when Vazec dynamites the dam.