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Ceris' 31 Days of Horror Challenge: Young Frankenstein

I won’t lie, I was VERY sceptical about this film and the original Frankenstein was sooo boring – but I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Several years after living down his family reputation, Frankenstein inherits his grandfather's castle, where he discovers a book full of his granddad's experiments and starts reworking on them.

Dr Frederick Frankenstein, a lecturer at a medical school in America, isn’t a fan of anyone who brings up his grandfather Victor Frankenstein, the infamous mad scientist, going as far as telling people his name is pronounce ‘Fronkensteen’ – I do love the way Gene Wilder says this! His day get worse when a solicitor tells him he has inherited his family’s estate in Transylvania – pretty clear he isn’t too impressed with that. Despite his despair at inheriting a huge castle – I’d give anything for someone to give me a castle, even one in Transylvania – he travels to the country and is met by Igor – a small hunchbacked man with bug-eyes, played by the late great Marty Feldman – who served Frederick’s great-grandfather, Baron Beaufort von Frankenstein. He also meets the beautiful assistant named Inga. Igor, not one to miss out on changing his name like Freddie, insists that his name is pronounced ‘Eyegor’ – feels slightly like a piss take.

He eventually arrives at the castle, and it’s time to meet someone else – this time the slightly terrifying housekeeper, Frau Blucher. Freddie finds the entrance to his grandfather Victor’s laboratory and reads through his journals – some may say this is his first mistake. In some unknown universe, he decides that he is going to resume his grandfather’s crazy experiments of re-animating the dead. Igor comes into his own – at least as best as he can – and he helps Fred to steal the corpse of a recently executed criminal, and they start the experiment on the rather larger corpse. Igor is sent to steal the brain of deceased scientist/genius Hans Delbruck, but Igor gets startled by none other than his own reflection – in fairness who wouldn’t – and drops and ruins Delbruck’s brain. Thinking on his feet, he takes a different brain, labelled ‘Abonormal’ but fails to tell Freddie boy, who transplants it into the corpse, thinking it’s the famed scientist. The whole Abby-someone, Abby Normal scene was just fantastic.

Frederick brings the creature to life, using the same method of his grandfather, electrical charges during a storm. It’s all going swimmingly until Igor decides to light a match and the creature shits himself and tries to strangle his creator, but they manage to sedate him. Unaware of the chaos ongoing in the castle, the townspeople start talking about how they think it’s a bad idea Frederick is carrying on the Frankenstein legacy of bring the dead back to life – kind of. We next meet Inspector Kemp, a one-eyed, one-armed policeman, with a thick German accent no one can understand him. Kemp tells everyone he will visit the doctor and demand that Freddie Frankenstein doesn’t create another monster – too late sorry!

Freddie heads back to the lab and finds sneaky Frau Blucher setting the monster free, but she tells him that the creature’s love of her violin playing, and further expands – much to the delight of Freddie I can only assume – about her romantic relationship with his grandfather. A blown switch ruins the mood, as the monster looses his shit and escapes the castle – nice on Blucher.

On his stroll through the countryside, the monster comes across a young girl and a blind hermit – Adam tells me this is in reference to the 1931 Frankenstein. Fred isn’t about the let there be a repeat of his grandfather’s mistakes and recaptures the monster and locks himself in a room with it. He chats to the monster about how he can guide him to success and embrace with Frankenstein name, which seems to calm the monster’s rage. Freddie seems to have full control of the monster, going as far as to put on a show for the townspeople of ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ – Adam quite often sounds like the monster first thing in the morning.

With everything going so well, something has to ruin the moment, and right on que a stage light explodes, and the monster once again shits himself and interrupts the performance. The townspeople are a fan of the unplanned interruption and start to boo and throw veg at the poor guy, who understandably isn’t too happy about it and charges into the audience and ends up captured and chained up by the police. Back at the castle, Freddie is very upset, but Inga cheers him up – if you know what I mean.

The monster manages to escape prison – not hard for a guy of his stature, but it just so happens to be the night Elizabeth, Frederick’s fiancée, arrives for a visit and she gets kidnapped by the fleeing monster. Turns out size really is everything and she falls in love with him. The townspeople are on the hunt for the monster, and Frederick plays the violin to lure him home, which works and he recaptures him. The mob storms the lab just as Freddie give the monster some of his intelligence, which leads the monster to reason with the unruly gang. Elizabeth, who has changed her hair into something familiar, marries the monster. Inga and Freddie are in bed together, she asks him what her new husband got in return during the transfer process, but Frederick just growls and embraces her, just as she starts to sing the refrain ‘Ah Sweet Mystery of Life’.

I MUCH preferred this Frankenstein to the original, it was much funnier and easier to follow. I would happily watch this one again. Just more pure brilliance and comedic gold from Mel Brooks. I think I preferred this to Dracula Dead and Loving it.


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