Serial Thriller: The Ghost of Frankenstein

Autumn has fallen and it’s time once more to celebrate the primal, compulsive instinct of fear. Rainestorm finishes its horror trilogy and goes to the well one last time to highlight 31 days of spooky scares that season the eerie atmosphere of Halloween. In this week’s Serial Thriller, we focus on the classic Universal Frankenstein series.

Hex cast: 1942

'The Ghost of Frankenstein'

“And Ah say, YAY-YA! Ah will HE-YILL him!”

The charm: Things get a little more goofy from here. After a strong and memorable performance as the now iconic Ygor in the previous Frankenstein film, Bela Lugosi returns to wreak havoc once more, this time coaxing his new best friend, the monster, from the village of Frankenstein to the neighboring village of Vasaria, where yet another son of Frankenstein lives. He presumably has forsaken his lineage, however not to the point of changing his rather notorious and unique surname. Sir Cedric Hardwicke takes up the mantel of the power-mad doctor this time but the film really belongs to Lugosi. He’s clearly having a ball playing the sad but sinister Ygor. His puppeteering of events is a kick to watch as he tries to outmaneuver Ludwig Frankenstein, who has some new ideas on what to do with the monster’s still-abormal brain. Lon Chaney, Jr. takes over as the monster, the only time he would play the creature in a credited role for a motion picture, and he’s much better here than he is as Larry Talbot in The Wolf Man.

Focal point: The monster’s adorable desire to have the brain of a little girl transplanted with his own brain.

Entrancing trivia: This is the last film in the series in which the monster would make a solo appearance.

Speak the words: “He wants the brain of that child!”

Companion spell: Take your pick.

The curse: With the exception of the rather good Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, it’s pretty much downhill from here.