HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Universal, 1944. Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, John Carradine, J. Carrol Naish, Elena Verdugo, Glenn Strange, Anne Gwynne, Peter Coe, Lionel Atwill, George Zucco, Sig Ruman. Screenplay by Edward T. Lowe, from a story by Curt Siodmak; Jack Pierce, makeup; Hans Salter, music; George Robinson, photography. Director: Erle C. Kenton. Shown at Cinecon 44, Hollywood CA, Aug-Sept 2008.


   This film is neither rare nor one of the great Universal horror films. It was scheduled for the convention appearance of Elena Verdugo, who played a gypsy girl, but is probably best remembered for her role as the office nurse on the long-running Dr. Welby TV series that starred Robert Young.

   However, the opportunity to see the cast that included almost all of the major (and minor) actors in the Universal horror films in a 35mm print was something of a treat. Karloff is a doctor who wants to revive the Frankenstein monster, Chaney reprises his famous role as the Wolfman, Carradine makes an honorable stab at Dracula, and Glenn Strange plays the Monster, with J. Carrol Naish as the hunchback assistant to Karloff who has promised to transplant his brain into a young, handsome body in return for his services.

   The film isn’t scary, but it’s handsomely produced, and Verdugo talked prettily about her career after the screening, although nothing particularly memorable came to light.