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frankenstein
SECRET ORIGINS OF FRANKENSTEIN - CHAPTER 13 OF 18
THE UNFRIENDLY GHOST!

"The Ghost of Frankenstein," first began haunting theaters in 1942, as World War ll raged in Europe. The film starred Lugosi as Ygor. True, Ygor had been fatally shot in the previous film, but "Ygor doesn't die that easily." No further explanation is given. Who needs one? Two murdered town council members are also back, and looking remarkably healthy for men whose necks the monster had previously snapped. It seems you just can't keep a good (or bad, as the case may be) man down. NEW THRILLS as the Monster stalks again!
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UNHOLY GHOST

"Ghost" opens with those darn angry villages attempting to blow up Castle Frankenstein once and for all -- but before they succeed, Ygor finds and frees the Monster from the now rock-hard sulfur pit, which had somehow preserved him instead of destroying him.

The Monster apparently had time to ditch his fleece vest and change into a basic black sweat-shirt before he was sulphur-ized. The picture below does NOT show a dummy. That's the STAR of this movie, being covered by make-up master Jack Pierce in a white clay-like substance called "Fuller's Earth.
"
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The "sulphurized" Monster as he appears in the movie...
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Rescued from the sulphur by Ygor (Bela Lugosi), the formerly all-black Monster, now a decidedly UNfriendly GHOST, is totally white -- as all well-dressed ghosts should be. Just ask Casper!
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WE PAUSE NOW FOR A BELA BREAK!
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WHO KNOWS WHAT EVIL LURKS?

There are many similarities between Dracula and pulp hero The Shadow. Both are creatures of the night, both wear flowing black capes. Was Shadow creator Walter Gibson inspired by Drac? When Gibson was a young camp counselor, he used to read Bram Stoker's "Dracula" to the campers as they sat around a fire at night! But Gibson wasn't influenced by the movie, at least not initially, because The Shadow pulp debuted three weeks BEFORE the premiere of Dracula (1931).

The Shadow encountered the living dead in "
The Vampire Killings," now available as part of Anthony Tollin's awesome Shadow pulp reprint series (cover pictured below).
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BELOW: This rare photo from the collection of William V. Rauscher shows Bela Lugosi in full Dracula costume, with magician Bill Neff, Ghost Breaker, reading Walter Gibson's Professional Magic For Amateurs.
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NOW BACK TO "GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN!"

The Monster is sick -- weak. But as Ygor leads the ghostly ghoul away...
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...something quite electrifying happens. Want to know what? Watch this 26 second clip. CLICK IT FAST AS LIGHTNING!
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In Eerie #2, a story titled "Frankenstein's Footsteps" by Archie Goodwin and Reed Crandall offered a more realistic view of what would have happened if lightning had actually struck the Monster...
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Back to the movie! Not satisfied with anything less than FULL power, Ygor recruits Ludwig Frankenstein (Cedric Hardwicke), yet another SON of the good doctor, and blackmails him into helping return the monster to his "strength of 100 men" glory days...
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The old boy cleans up well, doesn't he? But hey! That ain't Karloff!
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In Ghost of Frankenstein, it's Wolf Man Lon Chaney Jr. under Jack Pierce's make-up, resulting in a markedly different Monster face...
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In this go-round, the Monster is a dumb, scowling brute who has forgotten he could ever talk. Following the Uncanny one in the role of his lifetime was no easy task. Here's Lon Chaney getting acquainted with Lionel Atwill. What's up with his left eye? Is his wax eyelid melting shut?
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You think you can fill Karloff's boots? HAH!
Well, maybe. Let's see what the picture grosses.
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"Stick with me, baby. I'm going to conquer the world! Starting right here..."
(Evelyn Ankers and Lon Chaney Jr. in a publicity photo for Ghost.)
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PLUG AND PLAY BRAIN

Unsurprisingly enough, the attempt to give the monster a new brain quickly goes awry in this fast-paced film. Ludwig removes the monster's original "abnormal" brain, and replaces it with Ygor's brain!

Up to this point, the Monster hasn't said a word. But when he awakes, he speaks -- with Ygor's voice! But a complication soon arises as the Ygor-brained Monster loses his eyesight. He never gets his revenge on Ludwig, but in a story from EC's Haunt of Fear #3, things turn out quite a bit differently for the blind Monster...

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Ha ha! What a faker! Now, back to the movie. In the final scene, the Monster goes on a rampage and accidentally starts a fire which consumes him, or at least a stunt double, as seen below in a scene from the trailer that was not in the finished film.
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Despite lukewarm reviews, Ghost of Frankenstein was tremendously successful, breaking box-office records for horror films at the time. Maybe the critics didn't like the 67-minute horror-fest (the shortest in the series), but somebody out there did -- and they were obviously BURNING for more!
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