Son of Frankenstein 1939 ★★★★

One doesn't easily forget, Herr Baron, an arm torn out by the roots.
-Inspector Krogh

I had never watched Son of Frankenstein because I figured it was just a cheap sequel and never looked into it further. This ended up being a huge surprise. It's not as ambitious as Bride of Frankenstein, but it's still a surprisingly excellent film that actually tells a great new story featuring Frankenstein's Monster and doesn't try to just copy the original or Bride.

The set designs, style and overall look of the movie continues the gothic surreal look of the last film. I would dare say that it might even pull off the sets even better, I know that's sacrilege but by no means am I saying it's a better film. I'm just glad that it seems none of the contractors in the town own any sort of level and are incapable of building anything that resembles something straight.

James Whale and Colin Clive aren't involved in this one, but to make up for the loss we get Bela Lugosi introducing the iconic character of Ygor (later spellings would be changed to Igor). The original Ygor is nothing like what the public perceives the character to be. Most people actually picture the hunchback Fritz from the first film. The original Ygor is no lab assistant and is in fact a central character of the story. It's also possibly Lugosi's greatest performance on film.

In the end you get a great original Frankenstein story that doesn't try to recreate the two previous films. Great set designs and production values. Two of the biggest horror icons, Karloff and Lugosi, in one film. A truly great and fun horror movie.


  • I loved this film. I thought it would suck and boy, was I wrong. I know this sounds crazy, but I actually enjoyed this a bit more than the original Frankenstein and probably on par with Bride. I just loved Bela Lugosi in this film so much, his monstrous chemistry with Karloff was amazing! Definitely a fantastic review, good job!

  • Oh completely. This is an overlooked gem of a film. The next one, Ghost of Frankenstein, nose dives in quality, but this one really holds up with Frankenstein and Bride. I'm hoping Universal releases this on Blu-ray.

  • Just watched it yesterday, an excellent film. I agree that, though it's not a better film than Bride of Frankenstein, the German Expressionistic sets here are the best the series ever got.

    As great as the chemistry between Lugosi and Karloff was, I would have mentioned Basil Rathbone as well. After losing Colin Clive I'd say Rathbone, the wonderful actor that he was, proved to be an excellent choice.

  • @Potyomkin: You are completely right and it's a bit shameful I did not mention Rathbone. Thanks for bringing it light. Might use this excuse to rewatch the first three Frankenstein films again.

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