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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Movie #29: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

"I've had this brain for thirty years. It hasn't done me any good!"

Hey, yesterday, October 2, was what would have been Bud Abbott's 115th birthday! Happy belated birthday, Bud!


  • Rating: Approved (Under the Hays Code, films were simply approved or disapproved based on whether they were deemed "moral" or "immoral.")

  • Minimum Recommended Age: 7 (Common Sense Media: "On for ages 7 and up")

  • Quality Rating: 75.5% (Common Sense Media: 4 stars, Rotten Tomatoes rating: 7.1)

  • Number of Lists Recommend: 2

  • Sex/Violence/Profanity: None, except perhaps the untimely demises of the monsters (but we know they'll probably survive). Frankenstein's monster does throw someone through a window and tries to kill someone.

  • Running Time: 83 minutes

  • What does it have to do with Halloween? Nothing


From IMDB:
The world of freight handlers Wilbur Grey and Chick Young is turned upside down when the remains of Frankenstein's monster and Dracula arrive from Europe to be used in a house of horrors. Dracula awakens and escapes with the weakened monster, who he plans to re-energize with a new brain. Larry Talbot (the Wolfman) arrives from London in an attempt to thwart Dracula. Dracula's reluctant aide is the beautiful Dr. Sandra Mornay. Her reluctance is dispatched by Dracula's bite. Dracula and Sandra abduct Wilbur for his brain and recharge the monster in preparation for the operation. Chick and Talbot attempt to find and free Wilbur, but when the full moon rises all hell breaks loose with the Wolfman, Dracula, and Frankenstein all running rampant.

Watch Out For

Common Sense Media: "Younger children...may become frightened of these classic screen monsters menacing lovable Costello"

Talk About It

From Common Sense Media:
Families can talk about how the movie manages to be scary despite cheesy special effects. Also, can you think of other movies that combine humor and horror? Why does this formula work?

Also See

Young Frankenstein, Fright Night, The Monster Squad, Mad Monster Pary?, Little Shop of Horrors, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scooby-Doo, Daffy Duck's Quackbusters

Of Note

  • Frankensteinia has an excellent in-depth history and review of this film, as does Turner Classic Movies
  • 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
  • Readers' Digest lists this film as one its Top 100+ Funniest Movies of All Time
  • The animation sequences of Dracula-as-a-bat and Dracula-changing-from-bat-to-Dracula were done by Universal-International's animator, Walter Lantz (of Woody Woodpecker fame).
  • Boris Karloff was never approached to play the monster, but as a favor to Universal, he agreed to do publicity work for this film as long as he didn't have to see the film.
  • In a 2006 episode of Iconoclasts on the Sundance Channel, Quentin Tarantino cited the film as his favorite childhood movie because "when it was supposed to be funny, it was really funny, and when it was supposed to be scary, it was really scary."
  • Ranks #9 on AMC TV's Ten Best Comedy-Horror Movies list


Special: Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters! (The Making of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein)


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