Frankenstein (Universal film series)

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Frankenstein is the title of several horror film series loosely based on the 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, centered on a monster created by the character Dr. Victor Frankenstein.

Original series (1931–1948)[edit]

The original series of films consisted of eight installments, which starred iconic horror actors such as Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr. and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein's Monster. The series of films is part of the larger Universal Classic Monsters series.

Year Film Frankenstein's Monster actor
1931 Frankenstein Boris Karloff
1935 The Bride of Frankenstein
1939 Son of Frankenstein
1942 The Ghost of Frankenstein Lon Chaney Jr.
1943 Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man Bela Lugosi, Eddie Parker & Gil Perkins
1944 The House of Frankenstein Glenn Strange
1945 House of Dracula
1948 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Glenn Strange and Lon Chaney Jr.

Dark Universe and proposed reboot[edit]

Directed by
Produced by
Screenplay by
Music by
Edited by
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
1931–1948; 2004
Running time
609 minutes
CountryUnited States

Universal Pictures has sought to remake Bride of Frankenstein on several occasions.[1] While the novel Frankenstein has been adapted to film many times, Bride of Frankenstein's closest remake was the non-Universal film The Bride (1985), starring Sting, Clancy Brown, and Jennifer Beals.[2] In 1991, the studio sought to remake the film for cable television, and Martin Scorsese expressed interest in directing.[1]

In the first decade of the 21st century, Universal paired with Imagine Entertainment and contracted Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who wrote the screenplay for American Splendor, to write a remake. The screenwriters set the story in contemporary New York. Jacob Estes was also involved with the project at one point and wrote a draft.[2] In June 2009, Universal and Imagine entered discussions with director Neil Burger and his writing partner Dirk Wittenborn,[2] and producer Brian Grazer was assigned to oversee the development of the remake.[3]

In December 2015, Variety reported that David Koepp will write the script.[4] In May 2017, Universal Pictures announced their shared universe film series of rebooted, modern-day interpretations of their classic Universal Monsters titled, Dark Universe. The film series began with the 2017 film The Mummy, and was expected to continue with Bride of Frankenstein on February 14, 2019 with Bill Condon directing the film,[5] but Universal and Condon have decided to postpone this movie.[6] By October 2017, it was reported that pre-production had begun when the creative team and studio decided to postpone the release in order to further work on the script with intentions being to improve the story.[7] Deadline reported that Javier Bardem and Angelina Jolie are still attached to the movie as Frankenstein's monster and the film's reluctant bride, respectively.[8] The same month Condon stated that should Jolie decide to leave the project, he would be interested in seeing Gal Gadot play the titular character.[9] But on November 8, 2017, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan moved on to other projects, leaving the future of the Dark Universe in doubt.[10]

In January 2018, it was reported that Condon was assembling a production team, consisting of cinematographer Tobias A. Schliessler, production designer Sarah Greenwood, composer Carter Burwell, and costume designer Jacqueline Durran.[11]

In November 2019, Condon reflected on the proposed Bride of Frankenstein remake not entering production.[12] He stated: "That was a heartbreaker, really [...] the simplest way to say it is that I think The Mummy, and not to say anything against the movie, but the fact that that hadn't worked for them and it was the beginning of this whole reinvention of their monsters gave them cold feet at the end of the day. Because David Koepp was writing the script, I thought it was unbelievably good, and we were on the verge of making a really beautiful movie, I thought. So that was a shame."[13][14] He also noted his uncertainty regarding his ability to publicly discuss the project "because [Koepp], I think, is still involved in figuring out the new approach [...] The movie that we started was devised as a great big movie, and at the end of the day, probably these movies should be smaller."[13][14]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Frankenstein 100% (46 reviews)[15] 91 (13 reviews)[16]
The Bride of Frankenstein 100% (44 reviews)[17] N/A
Son of Frankenstein 91% (23 reviews)[18] N/A
The Ghost of Frankenstein 75% (12 reviews)[19] N/A
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man 25% (12 reviews)[20] N/A
The House of Frankenstein 55% (11 reviews)[21] N/A
House of Dracula 56% (9 reviews)[22] N/A
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein 89% (27 reviews)[23] N/A
Van Helsing 24% (226 reviews)[24] 35 (38 reviews)[25]
  • Frankenstein (1931)
    This iconic horror film follows the obsessed scientist Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) as he attempts to create life by assembling a creature from body parts of the deceased. Aided by his loyal misshapen assistant, Fritz (Dwight Frye), Frankenstein succeeds in animating his monster (Boris Karloff), but, confused and traumatized, it escapes into the countryside and begins to wreak havoc. Frankenstein searches for the elusive being, and eventually must confront his tormented creation.
  • The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
    After recovering from injuries sustained in the mob attack upon himself and his creation, Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) falls under the control of his former mentor, Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), who insists the now-chastened doctor must resume his experiments in creating new life. Meanwhile, the Monster (Boris Karloff) remains on the run from those who wish to destroy him, without understanding that his intentions are generally good despite his lack of socialization and self-control.
  • Son of Frankenstein (1939)
    Baron Wolf von Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone) is determined to prove the legitimacy of his father's scientific work, thus rescuing the family name from disgrace. With the help of Ygor (Bela Lugosi), a grave robber, Wolf successfully reanimates the monster (Boris Karloff) his father originally brought back from the dead. But when several villagers are killed mysteriously, Wolf must find the culprit in order to vindicate his creation, or face the possibility that he may be responsible.
  • Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
    Lawrence Stewart Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) is plagued by a physical oddity that turns him into a crazed werewolf after sundown. His desire to rid himself of this ailment leads him to the castle owned by mad scientist Dr. Frankenstein. Frankenstein, it turns out, is now dead, yet Talbot believes that the scientist's daughter, Baroness Elsa Frankenstein (Ilona Massey), can help him. However, his quest to right himself puts him on a collision course with Frankenstein's monster (Bela Lugosi).
  • The House of Frankenstein (1944)
    After escaping from prison, the evil Dr. Niemann (Boris Karloff) and his hunchbacked assistant, Daniel (J. Carrol Naish), plot their revenge against those who imprisoned them. For this, they recruit the powerful Wolf Man (Lon Chaney), Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange) and even Dracula himself (John Carradine). Niemann pursues those who wrong him, sending each monster out to do his dirty work. But his control on the monsters is weak at best and may prove to be his downfall.
  • House of Dracula (1945)
    This monster movie focuses on the iconic vampire, Count Dracula (John Carradine), and Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney), better known as the Wolf Man. Both beings of the night are tired of their supernatural afflictions, so they seek out Dr. Franz Edelmann (Onslow Stevens) for cures for their respective curses. While trying to aid the imposing creatures, Edelmann himself develops a transformative condition, adding to the many ghouls lurking around the foreboding landscape.
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
    In the first of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's horror vehicles for Universal Pictures, the inimitable comic duo star as railway baggage handlers in northern Florida. When a pair of crates belonging to a house of horrors museum are mishandled by Wilbur (Lou Costello), the museum's director, Mr. MacDougal (Frank Ferguson), demands that they deliver them personally so that they can be inspected for insurance purposes, but Lou's friend Chick (Bud Abbott) has grave suspicions, after receiving a phone call from Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) warning him of their contents (Bela Lugosi and Glenn Strange).
  • Van Helsing (2004)
    Famed monster slayer Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is dispatched to Transylvania to assist the last of the Valerious bloodline in defeating Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh). Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale) reveals that Dracula has formed an unholy alliance with Dr. Frankenstein's monster (Shuler Hensley) and is hell-bent on exacting a centuries-old curse on her family. Together Anna and Van Helsing set out to destroy their common enemy, but uncover some unsettling secrets along the way.

On February 11, 2020, Amy Pascal stated in an interview with Variety that she and John Krasinski would be interested in green-lighting a reimagining of Bride of Frankenstein, and expressed hope that Koepp and Sam Raimi would take part in the project.[26]

Feature films[edit]

Number Title Release date Director Continuity
1 Frankenstein November 21, 1931 James Whale Universal Classic Monsters
2 The Bride of Frankenstein April 19, 1935
3 Son of Frankenstein January 13, 1939 Rowland V. Lee
4 The Ghost of Frankenstein March 13, 1942 Erle C. Kenton
5 Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man March 5, 1943 Roy William Neill
6 The House of Frankenstein December 15, 1944 Erle C. Kenton
7 House of Dracula December 7, 1945
8 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein June 15, 1948 Charles Barton
A Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein September 28, 1999 Kathi Castillo Stand-alone films
B Van Helsing May 7, 2004 Stephen Sommers
9 The Bride of Frankenstein TBA Bill Condon Reboot

Cast and characters[edit]

List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.
  • A P indicates the character was shown in a photograph and/or mentioned.
  • A U indicates a uncredited role.
  • A V indicates a voice-only role.
  • A C indicates a cameo appearance.
  • A L indicates an appearance wherein an actor's facial features were digitally imprinted upon another actor's face.
  • A Y indicates an appearance as a younger version of a pre-existing character.
  • An A indicates an appearance through archival footage, audio or stills.
Character Universal Classic Monsters Stand-alone films Remake
Frankenstein The Bride of Frankenstein Son of Frankenstein The Ghost of Frankenstein Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man The House of Frankenstein House of Dracula Abbott and Costello Meet
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Van Helsing House of the Wolf Man The Bride of Frankenstein
1931 1935 1939 1942 1943 1944 1945 1948 1999 2004 2009 TBA
Frankenstein's Monster Boris Karloff Lon Chaney Jr. Bela Lugosi
Eddie Parker & Gil Perkins
Glenn Strange Glenn Strange
Lon Chaney Jr.
Frank Welker Shuler Hensley Craig Dabbs Javier Bardem
The Hunchback
Fritz / Karl / Ygor / Daniel / Nina / Barlow
Dwight Frye Perry Ivins Dwight FryeU J. Carrol Naish Jane "Poni" Adams   Kevin J. O'Connor John McGarr TBA
Bela Lugosi
The Bride of Frankenstein's Monster   Elsa Lanchester   Angelina Jolie
Count Vladislaus Dracula   John CarradineU   John Carradine Bela Lugosi   Richard Roxburgh Michael R. Thomas  
Lawrence Stewart Talbot
Larry, The Wolf Man

Velkan Valerious
  Lon Chaney Jr.   Will Kemp Billy Bussey  
Dr. Franzec "Franz" Edelmann   Don Barclay   Onslow Stevens  
Sir Geoffrey Radcliffe
The Invisible Man
  Vincent PriceUVC  
Alvin Seville   Ross Bagdasarian Jr.  
Gabriel Van Helsing   Hugh Jackman  
The First Bride of Dracula
  Silvia Colloca  
The Second Bride of Dracula
  Elena Anaya  
The Third Bride of Dracula
  Josie Maran  
Recurring Supporting Characters
Dr. Henry Frankenstein Colin Clive Mentioned Cedric Hardwicke Mentioned Michael Bell Samuel West Mentioned TBA
Ludwig Hans
Ewald Neumüller
Michael Mark Reginald Barlow
Ted Billings
Michael Mark   Michael Mark  
Herr Vogel
The Burgomaster
Lionel Belmore E. E. Clive Lawrence Grant  
Elizabeth Frankenstein (née Lavenza) Mae Clarke Valerie Hobson  
Baron Frankenstein Frederick Kerr Mentioned  
Little Maria Marilyn Harris  
Victor Moritz John Boles  
Dr. Waldman Edward Van Sloan  
Doctor Septimus Pretorius   Ernest Thesiger  
Ludwig Hans' Wife, Mother of Maria
Mrs. Neumüller
Mentioned Mary Gordon Caroline Frances Cooke  
The Baroness Elsa Frankenstein   Josephine Hutchinson Evelyn Ankers Ilona Massey  
Inspector Krogh
Dr. Theodore Bohmer
Inspector Arnz
Police Inspector Holtz
  Lionel Atwill  
Other Characters
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley   Elsa Lanchester  
Lord Byron   Gavin Gordon  
Percy Bysshe Shelley   Douglas Walton  
Minnie   Una O'Connor  
Frankenstein's Butler   Lucien Prival  
Hermit   O. P. Heggie  
The Shepherdess   Anne Darling  
Uncle Glutz   J. Gunnis Davis  
Peasant   Walter BrennanU  
Baron Wolf von Frankenstein   Basil Rathbone  
Peter von Frankenstein   Donnie Dunagan  
Amelia   Emma Dunn  
Thomas Benson   Edgar Norton  
Emil Lang   Lionel Belmore  
Burgher #1   Gustav von Seyffertitz  
Burgher #2   Lorimer Johnston  
Burgher #3   Tom Ricketts  
Gendarme at Gate   Ward BondU  
Bearded Gendarme   Harry CordingU  
Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein   Cedric Hardwicke Mentioned  
Erik Ernst   Ralph Bellamy  
Cloestine Hussman   Janet Ann Gallow  
Dr. Kettering   Barton Yarborough  
Martha   Doris Lloyd  
Chief Constable   Leyland Hodgson  
Hussman   Olaf Hytten  
Magistrate   Holmes Herbert  
Frone   Harry CordingU  
Mayor   Lawrence GrantU  
Villager at Hearing   Harry TenbrookU  
Madame Maleva
The Gypsy Fortune Teller
  Maria Ouspenskaya  
Dr. Mannering   Patric Knowles  
Inspector Owen   Dennis Hoey  
Vazec   Rex Evans  
Rudi   Dwight Frye  
Guno   Harry Stubbs  
Dr. Mannering's Nurse   Doris Lloyd  
Dr. Gustav Niemann   Boris Karloff  
Ilonka   Elena Verdugo  
Rita Hussman   Anne Gwynne  
Karl Hussman   Peter Coe  
Bürgermeister Hussman   Sig Ruman  
Bruno Lampini   George Zucco  
Fejos   William Edmunds  
Tobermann   Charles F. Miller  
Müller   Philip Van Zandt  
Hertz   Julius Tannen  
Meier   Hans Herbert  
Born   Dick Dickinson  
Milizia Morelle   Martha O'Driscoll  
Ziegfried   Ludwig Stössel  
Steinmuhl   Skelton Knaggs  
Villager   Harry LamontU  
Chick Young   Bud Abbott  
Wilbur Grey   Lou Costello  
Dr. Sandra Mornay   Lenore Aubert  
Joan Raymond   Jane Randolph  
Mr. McDougal   Frank Ferguson  
Professor Stevens   Charles Bradstreet  
Simon Seville   Ross Bagdasarian Jr.  
Theodore Seville   Janice Karman  
Anna Valerious   Kate Beckinsale  
Carl   David Wenham  
Cardinal Jinette   Alun Armstrong  
Top Hat
The Grave Digger
  Tom Fisher  
Dr. Bela Reinhardt   Ron Chaney  
Reed Chapel   Dustin Fitzsimons  
Conrad Sullivan   Jeremie Loncka  
Mary Chapel   Sara Raftery  
Elmira Cray   Cheryl Rodes  
Archibald Whitlock   Jim Thalman  
Vadoma   Saba Moor-Doucette  


Crew/detail Film
Universal Classic Monsters Remake
Frankenstein The Bride of Frankenstein Son of Frankenstein The Ghost of Frankenstein Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man The House of Frankenstein House of Dracula Abbott and Costello Meet
The Bride of Frankenstein
1931 1935 1939 1942 1943 1944 1945 1948 TBA
Director(s) James Whale Rowland V. Lee Erle C. Kenton Roy William Neill Erle C. Kenton Charles Barton Bill Condon
Producer(s) Carl Laemmle, Jr. George Waggner Paul Malvern Robert Arthur Amy Pascal
John Krasinski
Writer(s) Screenplay:
Francis Edward Faragoh, Garrett Fort, Robert Florey (uncredited) & John Russell (uncredited)
William Hurlbut
Wyllis Cooper Screenplay:
W. Scott Darling
Curt Siodmak Edward T. Lowe Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo & Gertrude Purcell David Koepp
John L. Balderston (Adaptation) and Richard Schayer (Scenario Editor)
William Hurlbut & John L. Balderston
Eric Taylor
Composer(s) Bernhard Kaun Franz Waxman Frank Skinner Hans J. Salter Hans J. Salter
Paul Dessau
William Lava Frank Skinner Carter Burwell
Editor(s) Clarence Kolster
Maurice Pivar
Ted J. Kent Edward Curtiss Philip Cahn Russell F. Schoengarth Frank Gross TBA
Cinematographer Arthur Edeson John J. Mescall George Robinson Woody Bredell
Milton R. Krasner
George Robinson Charles Van Enger Tobias A. Schliessler
Production companies Universal Pictures
Runtime 71 minutes 75 minutes 99 minutes 68 minutes 75 minutes 71 minutes 67 minutes 83 minutes TBA
Release date November 21, 1931 April 19, 1935 January 13, 1939 March 13, 1942 March 5, 1943 December 15, 1944 December 7, 1945 June 15, 1948

Derivative works[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Klady, Leonard (November 8, 1991). "Hopeful Bride". Entertainment Weekly (91).
  2. ^ a b c Zeitchik, Steven (June 18, 2009). "'Bride of Frankenstein' to live again". The Hollywood Reporter. Reuters.
  3. ^ Hart, Hugh (June 17, 2009). "Born-Again Bride of Frankenstein in Works". Wired News. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  4. ^ Kroll, Justin (December 17, 2015). "'Bride of Frankenstein' Reboot to Be Written by David Koepp". Variety.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Bill Condon's ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ Postponed,
  7. ^ "'Bride Of Frankenstein' Now Undated; Blumhouse Title To Fill Valentine's Day 2019 Slot".
  8. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (2017-10-05). "'Bride Of Frankenstein' Back To Lab As London Pre-Production Postponed; Javier Bardem & Angelina Jolie Expected To Wait". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Kit, Borys; Couch, Aaron (November 8, 2017). "Universal's "Monsterverse" in Peril as Top Producers Exit (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  11. ^ Marc, Christopher (January 15, 2018). "Bill Condon's "Bride of Frankenstein' Assembles a Production Team - When Will It Shoot? - Omega Underground". Archived from the original on February 20, 2018. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  12. ^ "Interview: Bill Condon, Director of The Good Liar". Curzon. November 10, 2019. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Weintraub, Steve (Interviewer); Condon, Bill (Interviewee) (November 13, 2019). The Good Liar: Director Bill Condon Interview. Collider Interviews on YouTube. Event occurs at 20:19. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  14. ^ a b Jackson, Matthew (November 15, 2019). "Director Bill Condon says it was a 'heartbreaker' to lose Bride of Frankenstein reboot". Syfy Wire. Syfy. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  15. ^ "Frankenstein (1931)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  16. ^ "Frankenstein (1931) Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on December 16, 2014.
  17. ^ "The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  18. ^ "Son of Frankenstein (1939)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  19. ^ "The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  20. ^ "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  21. ^ "House of Frankenstein (1944)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  22. ^ "House of Dracula (1945)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  23. ^ "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  24. ^ "Van Helsing (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  25. ^ "Van Helsing (2004) Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on November 5, 2019.
  26. ^ Donnelly, Matt (February 11, 2020). "Hollywood Still Trying to Put a Ring on Universal's 'Bride of Frankenstein' (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved February 13, 2020.