Four years after he was beaten to death by his dear old dad, Larry Talbot– sufferer of lycanthropy– is about to have his resting in peace disturbed. Two thieves break into the Talbot family crypt to steal valuable jewels supposedly buried with Larry. What they find is Larry looking as pink-in-the-cheeks as the day he died clutching a wreath of wolfsbane. A long dead, fresh-in-the-face corpse is quite a chilling thing to find in a creepy graveyard on a dark and spooky night (the production values look as good as Larry’s remains).
The thieves are on a mission, though, and have no time to be frightened, they just have to be frightened while they work. As if looting a crypt wasn’t mistake enough, the burglars toss the wolfsbane. This wouldn’t be too bad, probably, on an ordinary night, but this night, as luck would have it, is the night of a full moon. With the wolfsbane gone, and the moon so bright, Larry awakens, transforms into the Wolf Man and has a thief for a snack while the other runs like a bat out of hell.
Once daylight shines, Larry Talbot wakes on the street, unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed wearing the clothes he was buried in. He’s admitted to the hospital where his memories slowly return. That pesky full moon, though, sends a hairy Larry out to the streets where he kills a police officer.
Talbot’s physician, Dr. Mannering, has his patient restrained, thinking he’s off his nut. Mannering and the police inspector travel to Larry’s hometown of Llanwelly, where they discover Larry’s been dead for four years and maybe telling the truth about this whole werewolf business.
While the doctor is away, Larry escapes the hospital (a-hoo!). It takes some doing, but he eventually finds the only person he knows can help him: Maleva, the kind gypsy woman whose son, Bela, turned Larry into a werewolf and who Larry killed. Maleva doesn’t know what to do to cure him. Life’s never perfect.
She may not have the answers to his problems, but she has heard rumors of someone who might be able to provide a cure: Dr. Frankenstein! Larry and Maleva then travel to the small village of Vasaria where they discover that Henry Frankenstein is dead. They also learn that anybody seeking a Frankenstein is not welcome in Vasaria. Larry wolfs-out, a mob chases him after he de-lifes a woman and then discovers Frankenstein’s Monster in the ruins of the castle once his lycanthropic flare-up subsides.
As Larry is using the Monster to look for Frankenstein’s journals and tracks down Ludwig Frankenstein’s daughter, Elsa, to see what she knows, Dr. Mannering and the police are hot on the trail of Larry.
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man serves double duty as a sequel to both Ghost of Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. I think it’s a shame The Wolf Man never had a proper sequel, but this is better than nothing. It’s mostly a Wolf Man movie, and a good one, until the Monster comes on the scene. From that point on, it’s an exercise in goofiness.
Bela Lugosi was a blast as Ygor in the previous two Frankenstein films. He played the Monster in this movie. I will remember him playing the Monster for all the wrong reasons. I just don’t think he was Monster material; him clunking around reminded me of Phil Hartman’s portrayal of the Monster on Saturday Night Live. Contrasted with Chaney’s torment, it’s uneven.