Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein – the film’s poster title – or Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein – the onscreen title is a 1948 American comedy horror film directed by Charles Barton. It is the first of several films where the comedy duo meets classic characters from Universal’s horror film stable.
In this film, Abbott and Costello encounter Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolf Man, while subsequent films pair the duo with the Mummy, Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Invisible Man.
The film is considered the swan song for the “Big Three” Universal horror monsters – Count Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s monster – although it does not appear to fit within the loose continuity of the earlier films.
In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed this film “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. The 1948 film is usually recognized by film historians as the definitive end point to the American golden age of the monster mash and the classic Universal monster cycle.
“Lugosi’s makeup is appallingly over-applied, he looks more like a kewpie doll than a bloodsucking fiend (a shiny satin cape does nothing to alleviate the overall circus clown effect). The film does have some funny moments, most memorably Dracula’s cat-and-mouse game with Costello as he prepares to emerge from his box, and later, the hilarious closeup of the eyes of one of the vampire’s victims (Lenore Aubert) revealing flapping bats instead of pupils.” David J. Skal, V is for Vampire
Cast and characters:
- Bud Abbott as Chick Young
- Lou Costello as Wilbur Grey
- Lon Chaney, Jr. as Lawrence Talbot / The Wolf Man
- Béla Lugosi as Count Dracula, masquerading under the guise of Doctor Lejos
- Glenn Strange as Frankenstein’s monster
- Lenore Aubert as Dr Sandra Mornay
- Jane Randolph as Joan Raymond
- Frank Ferguson as Mr. McDougal
- Charles Bradstreet as Prof. Stevens
- Vincent Price as the voice of Invisible Man [uncredited cameo]