Thursday, October 1, 2015

Young Frankenstein

There is of course already a post for the Universal Frankenstein, which can be found here, but Young Frankenstein deserves its own separate post.

Image result for FRANKENSTEIN (FILM)

Release Date: November 21, 1931 (Chuck Loridians and Chris Nigro place it in 1885.)
Series: Frankenstein (Universal)
The Story: Doctor Henry Frankenstein becomes obsessed with reanimating the dead, as is common with his family. He works on this with his hunchbacked assistant Fritz. Henry’s fiancee Elizabeth is concerned and she confides in her friend Victor, who convinces her to seek out advice from Doctor Waldman. Doctor Waldman ends up assisting Frankenstein, and they do indeed raise a creature. However, Fritz chose the wrong brain for the monster...the brain of a criminal. The creature at first seems docile but goes wild around fire. The scientists lock the creature up where Fritz sadistically tortured the creature. The Creature breaks free, strangles Waldman, and accidentally drowns a girl. (He was just playing with her and thought she would float). The Creature actually feels remorse for his mistake, but the villagers have turned into a mob. The Creature flees the city,and is found by his creator. The creature carries his “master” to the top of a windmill and throws him off. Frankenstein survives while the villagers burn the windmill and apparently destroy the monster. Henry and his new bride live happily ever after?

Notes: It should be noted that these are entirely different events than that from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein novel featuring Victor Frankenstein, which takes place almost a century earlier. I would argue though, and many stories seem to support this, that all these Frankensteins are from the same family, and most tend to be direct descendents of Victor. Horror expert Kevin Heim adds that “the Universal Frankensteins have a family castle in Vasaria / Visaria, which is in Transylvania or between Germany and Switzerland. The large number of Frankensteins active in roughly the same time frame would suggest that both locations are correct.” This film follows Dracula in the series and is followed next by the Bride of Frankenstein. This film has been remade in 1957 and 1970. The film has been referenced in non-crossover ways in such films as House of Wax, Bride of the Monster, and the Aztec Mummy. It has also been spoofed many times, including in Scooby-Doo Where are You!, Young Frankenstein, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.


Release Date: April 22, 1935 (Chuck Loridans and Chris Nigro place the events in 1886.)
Series: Frankenstein (Universal)
The Story: Following the events of Frankenstein, the monster has indeed survived and escaped. He has a series of misadventures where he tries to make friends but is ultimately rejected (like your basic Casper cartoon). Meanwhile, Henry still wants to uncover the secrets of life and death, and agrees to collaborate with Doctor Pretorius. Pretorius then goes off on his own initiative to dig up a grave and create the bride. He finds the Monster, or rather the monster finds him, and Pretorius reveals his plan, which makes the monster happy. Then Pretorius goes back to Frankenstein and says the plan is ready to go, at which point Henry must have completely forgotten the agreement as he refuses to participate. Pretorius doesn’t take no for an answer and has the monster kidnap Elizabeth. Now with no choice, Frankenstein helps and the bride is raised, who is repulsed by the Monster. Angry and depressed that even she rejected him, he allows Henry and Elizabeth to go free, then destroys the lab with the bride and Pretorius still inside.
Notes: The prelude to the film shows that these are the real stories told by Mary Shelley that one evening that became the novel Frankenstein. However, the prelude is shown as if the main story was fictional, thus we can say that we didn’t see Shelley of the Horror Universe, who told the story of the true Victor Frankenstein, but rather the Shelley of some alternate reality, one very much like the real universe, only a fictionalized version of the real universe. Many call this reality “Earth-Prime”, a term originated by DC Comics in the 1960s. For lack of a better name, I too shall use Earth-Prime. Even with the notion that Shelley wrote these events in her original version, that would mean that these events should have happened prior to 1818, unless she was seeing across realities and the future. I say she was indeed doing both. The reason for the late dating is that the next film, Son of Frankenstein, is in a modern setting, so that for their son to be the age he is in the film (mid-40s), the first two films would have to take place in the late 19th century. This film follows Frankenstein and is followed by Dracula’s Daughter. It was remade in 1985 and another remake is due out in 2015. It has had “non-cross” references in such films as Dr. Cyclops, Bride of the Monster, and Mad Monster Party. It has also been spoofed in such films and shows as Young Frankenstein, Frankenweenie, and a Pup Named Scooby-Doo.

Image result for THE BLACK CAT (FILM)

Release Date: 1934 (Contemporary Setting)
Series: The Black Cat
The Story: A lovely young couple find themselves victims to a mad scientist who worships Satan.
Notes: This film is very, very, very loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story of the same name. Since they are different enough, it’s okay that both are brought in. Poe’s version is in via League of Extraordinary Gentlemen while Rovin’s Return of the Wolf Man brings the film in. In further entries, I don’t make a distinction between the film and story when listing them as crosses. This film has been “non-cross” referenced in such films and shows as Young Frankenstein, the Fallen Vampire, and Masters of Horror. It is also spoofed in the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Scary Movie 2.

Release Date: January 13, 1939 (Contemporary Setting)
Series: Frankenstein (Universal)
The Story: Baron Wolf von Frankenstein returns to the family castle with his wife Elsa and son Peter to restore the family name. Wolf was the son of Henry and Elizabeth Frankenstein, and had lived his whole life in the United States. Wolf decides the best way to prove his father right is to duplicate the process of bringing the dead to life. He meets Ygor, a convict who offers to help in the experiments and by luck finds the body of Henry’s monster. They revive the monster, but the monster only obeys Ygor, and goes after the jurors who convicted him. When Wolf discovers this, he confronts and shoots Ygor, and then he and his friend the constable Krogh go about stopping the monster. However, the monster hears about Ygor’s death and kidnaps Peter, but doesn’t have the heart to harm him. The monster gets knocked into a molten sulphur pit, apparently destroyed.
Notes: This is evidence that the Frankenstein family is cursed to continue the same mistakes over and over again, thus allowing for several different versions of Frankenstein to be brought into the Horror Universe without contradiction. This film follows Dracula’s Daughter and is followed by The Wolf Man. This film is “non-cross” referenced in such films as The Mummy’s Tomb, Bride of the Monster, and Frankenweenie. It is also spoofed in Young Frankenstein and The Halloween that Almost Wasn’t.


Release Date: December 15, 1974 (Setting is 1948)
Series: Young Frankenstein
Horror Crosses: Frankenstein (Universal)
The Story: The son of the infamous mad scientist inherits the family castle, and soon finds himself trying to repeat the experiments.
Notes: The film is much better and funnier than my description. The film is intended to be both a parody and a sequel to the Universal Frankenstein series. This film uses the same exact laboratory equipment props that appeared in the original Universal film. This film was remade a year later as My Friend Frankenstein. It has been referenced either as fictional, as an homage, or spoofed in numerous films and television series.


Release Date: 2009 (Setting is Spring 1973)
Series: Patricia Wildman
Horror Crosses: The Thing; Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos; Young Frankenstein; The Vampyre; The Picture of Dorian Gray
Non-Horror Crosses: Too Numerous to List (See Notes)
The Story: Patricia Wildman is the daughter of the late Doctor Clark Wildman, better known to the world as Doc Savage. After the death of her husband, Patricia learns that she is heir to the estate in England known as Pemberly House, the very same house made famous from the novel by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. She travels there to claim her inheritance and finds herself being attacked by thugs and dealing with a legendary ghost, as well as strange distant relatives who all seem to have shady motives.
Notes: This book is part of a series of stories featuring Patricia Wildman, the daughter of Doc Savage. In the book, Patricia refers to her father’s adventure on an Antarctic expedition, a reference to the story Who Goes There, later made into the movie The Thing. She also speaks of one of his colleague’s Antarctic expeditions, as told in Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. Also, in the Pemberly Library is a copy of the book De Vermis Mysteriis from the Lovecraft mythos. Another book is “How I Did It” by Victor Frankenstein, originally from the film Young Frankenstein. And another is the Ruthvenian, named for Lord Ruthven, from the Vampyre. Pemberly House also has a painting by Basil Hallward, from the Picture of Dorian Gray.


Release Date: 2001 (Setting is March 14, 1974 - November 9, 1989)
Series: Star Trek
Horror Crosses: Stepford Wives; Young Frankenstein; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Frankenstein (novel)
Non-Horror Crosses: Avengers (TV), Six Million Dollar Man; The Pretender; Beauty and the Beast (80s TV); Bionic Woman; Star Trek: The Next Generation; Modesty Blaise; Knight Rider; The Equalizer
The Story: Gary Seven is a human agent of aliens with an interest in protecting Earth from itself and Roberta Lincoln is his human assistant. A secret project has been created to engineer supermen. One particular product, Khan Noonien Singh, rises above the rest, and makes an attempt at world conquest.
Notes: Gary Seven and Khan were both introduced in separate episodes of Star Trek, both having originated in the 20th century. Gary Seven’s appearance was meant to be a pilot for his own series which sadly never came to be. Khan was said to have conquered a quarter of the planet by the 1990s in the Eugenics Wars, an event that eventually of course never came to pass in the real world, so this is a wonderful story reconciling how it could have still happened without drastically altering the real world timeline from Star Trek’s history of our time period. In the story, Roberta refers to an encounter with robot housewives in Connecticut, a reference to the events of the Stepford Wives. One of the workers at the Eugenics Project is a sallow bug-eyed man called Mr. Eyegor. This is the same Igor (pronounced Eyegor) from Young Frankenstein. Another worker is Maggie Erickson, engaged to a man named Walsh, which means eventually she would take his name and become Maggie Walsh. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Maggie Walsh is the head of a project that creates super soldiers to capture demons, which she uses to create her ultimate super-soldier, Adam. There is also a reference to Frankenstein, as in the original version. Other crossovers in the book bring in the above mentioned non-horror crosses. One final issue to bring up is regarding future stories. There are several stories linked to the Horror Universe that take place in the future. Doctor Who is in and this story brings in Star Trek. Alien is another linked future. Plus, there are plenty of others. But DW, ST, and Alien are the main three. And they are all pretty different in portraying how events of the future unfold. (Most of the other stories can easily fit in one of those main three timelines). I like to think of a timeline as one in which at any point, there is always a now. Looking backwards, there’s only one history. But looking forward, there is an infinite number of possibilities and thus an infinite number of future timelines, all that branch off of the present day Horror Universe.

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