Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

 
Classic comedy-horror for older kids and teens.
  • Review Date: April 13, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Classic
  • Release Year: 1948
  • Running Time: 83 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness

Frankenstein burns up, evil Sandra is thrown out of a window, and the Werewolf plunges off a cliff with Dracula, but all the violence is mitigated by comic Costello. Scenes of the Werewolf transforming, and of Dracula and the Werewolf menacing Wilbur may frighten younger viewers but amuse older ones.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie, which combines black and white 40s comedy with classic screen monsters, may not translate well for children used to eye-dazzling special effects, or for younger children, who may become frightened of these classic screen monsters menacing lovable Costello. Older kids will identify with frightened Costello and enjoy the monster hijinx. Teens may laugh with (or at) the comedians and the monsters.

What's the story?

In ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, Chick Young (Bud Abbbott) and Wilbur Grey (Lou Costello) are just two guys who deliver baggage. That is, until they transport the crates of Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein to MacDougal's House of Horrors. Dracula has a fiendish plan to reanimate Frankenstein and thus rule the world. His evil cohort Sandra lures Wilbur to their castle so she can implant his brain in Frankenstein (Glenn Strange). The Werewolf (Lon Chaney) tries to stop Dracula but not before Wilbur and Chick's hijinks almost lead them into real trouble.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Shot in black and white, without the slick special effects and the fast pace of more recent horror-comedy films, this Abbott and Costello classic may not please every child. Still, many will have fun watching the actors who first created the archetypal screen roles of Dracula, the Werewolf, and Frankenstein. The movie was the last serious role for each of the great actors, and the best of the Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters series. The vaudeville gags that launched Abbott and Costello into the limelight don't always weather well, but some of the routines adapted for Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein are still funny.

While Abbott laughs at the idea of Dracula, Costello shakes in fear when he hears Dracula's coffin lid creak open and sees a hand emerge. Throughout the movie, Costello continually sights Dracula, Frankenstein and the Werewolf, each of whom conveniently disappears whenever Abbott turns to look. The duo's chemistry (stern Abbott versus shaky Costello) can be seen mimicked in children's programming today, from Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie to Shaggy and Velma in Scooby Doo. In fact, after a string of successful Abbott and Costello hits, director Charles Barton went on to direct popular children's TV series such as The Munsters and Family Affair. As a special bonus, this video opens with the pair's famous "Who's on first?" routine.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the movie manages to be scary despite cheesy special effects. Also, can you think of other movies that combine humor and horror? Why does this formula work?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 14, 1948
DVD release date:August 29, 2000
Cast:Bud Abbott, Lon Chaney Jr., Lou Costello
Director:Charles Barton
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Classic
Run time:83 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein was written by

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byaurora April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

Classic Comedy with a slightly scary twist

This movie is great fun, but young children might find Frankenstein frightening.
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byschuymarch1 April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

Great movie

This is the best Abbot and Costello movie out of the three that I have seen.

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