Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Blu-ray Review

Meeting of the Minds

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello represent two types of people reacting to Universal’s monster movies. Lou is the fearful, jump-out-his-seat theater patron who takes the frights seriously. Bud then is the skeptic, the eye roller who find this entire premise utterly absurd.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is the franchise at its most mainstream. For fans, it has monsters, and for the only time, Wolf Man, Dracula, and Frankenstein appear on screen in the same frame. That’s special. So is Lugosi, playing Dracula for the second and final time. Those who don’t care get a romance as Lou swoons over multiple women. It’s goofy, light-hearted, and a bit sexist when placed under modern standards, but too innocent for offense.

Debate rages as to whether Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is part of monster canon. It’s not, and better as such. As expected, this spoof has a blast with the creatures. Abbott and Costello enter into a haunted house movie with the plot of House of Frankenstein playing behind them. That makes the various reactions and playful meetings a joy.

Lou’s physicality and Bud’s growing agitation keep up the laughs

To do what it wants (and needs) to do, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein can’t lose energy. Appropriately, it doesn’t. Lou’s physicality and Bud’s growing agitation keep up the laughs. Reduced to a punchline, the monsters tumble around the sets. Lon Chaney takes pratfalls as the Wolf Man, wacky and gentle as to not produce a body count. All of the scares take that path – considerate for the kids who want to see some monster action but without the violence.

Although a disconnected finale to an entire era of horror cinema, this is also a fine entry point, especially for the younger set. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein’s enthusiasm, use of tropes, lore exposition, and brighter tone brings the monsters to an entertaining forefront. While hardly the horror classic of the early ‘30s, having fun is an easy draw. If Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein doesn’t generate laughs or old timey frights, then the rest won’t either.

Video

While grain is intact on this transfer, the encode has trouble resolving it. Notable banding is cast across the actor’s faces in close-ups. That’s cause for a reduction in detail, and a distraction. From afar, walls display harsh lines between shades of gray.

The slimmest damage exists on the print; it’s no bother. This modern and high-resolution scan exhibits clarity and sharpness. Behind the banding problem (a persistent issue) sits a pleasing example of current mastering.

By design, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein lack the density of other Universal horrors. Lighter tone means lighter cinematography with little reliance on dark shadows. Black is rarely used, but gray scale still stands out.

Audio

Routine, but that’s fine in this case. The DTS-HD track keeps a pleasing level of fidelity. A bright, chipper score maintains solid highs and lows sans any distortion.

Dialog is processed cleanly, with the lone exception of Lugosi’s lines as he enters the costume party. There, his lines sound hollow and thin, unlike the rest of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Extras

Film historian Gregory W. Mank knows his material as he chats in a commentary track. A fun feature titled Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters looks at the various pairings between comedians and creatures. Two promos for Universal’s 100th anniversary sort of relate to the film.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
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Movie

Abbott and Costello do indeed meet Frankenstein but also Dracula and the Wolf Man in this goofy send-up of the monster series.

The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 20 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 15,000+ already in our library), 50+ exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.