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House of Frankenstein

Entry updated 10 January 2022. Tagged: Film, TV.

1. Film (1944). See Frankenstein.

2. US tv mini-series (1997; vt House of Frankenstein 1997). Universal Television Entertainment for NBC-TV. Produced by Michael R Joyce. Directed by Peter Werner. Written by J B White. Cast includes Peter Crombie, Adrian Pasdar, Teri Polo, CCH Pounder and Greg Wise. 168 minutes. Colour.

In late 1990s Los Angeles (see California), police detective Vernon Coyle is investigating a series of bizarre murders whose victims have been either completely drained of blood or mutilated beyond recognition. Dr Shauna Kendall (Pounder) keeps informing him that Vampires and Werewolves are on the loose in the City, but he understandably dismisses her as a crank. One night shortly afterwards, Coyle and his lady friend Grace Dawkins (Polo) are attacked by a werewolf, who bites Grace and infects her with lycanthropy before escaping into the night.

Now convinced of the creatures' existence, Doyle is desperate to find Grace, since abducted by a cloaked figure who proves to be Crispin Grimes (Wise), a vampire in the Dracula mould. Evidence points to a nightclub named the House of Frankenstein as the source of the mayhem, which increases when the Frankenstein Monster appears on the scene. This creature, recovered from a state of Suspended Animation in the Arctic, was meant as an exhibit for Grimes's nightclub but was accidentally allowed to thaw and revive. Pursuing his own agenda, the Monster eventually helps defeat Grimes and the other Supernatural Creatures after Grace is cured through a medical procedure. The Monster sets the club ablaze after a battle with the other creatures; most of the vampires and werewolves including Grimes, perish in the flames. The ending indicates that Grimes survived the inferno, however, while the Monster goes his own way.

Possibly intended as a pilot for a never-launched Television series, this mini-series offers an interesting reboot of Universal's classic creatures of the 1930s and 1940s; it is perhaps surprising that the Mummy was not included. House of Frankenstein features somewhat more gore than typical television films of the period, but made little impact on viewers. The Frankenstein monster is closer in appearance and personality to Mary Shelley's version than the familiar Boris Karloff portrayal. [GSt]


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