I recommend watching this as a double bill with 'Young Frankenstein'. Son of Frankenstein MUST SURELY have been the one Mel Brooks had in mind most when creating his hilarious horror homage - so there are lots of lovely matching moments to look out for; secret compartments, mad assistants, portraits of dead dads, locals with pitchforks, a wooden-armed policeman... to name but a few.
Not to mention some huge, impressive knockers!
Rathbone's turn as Wolf Frankenstein is terrific. Manic, over the top and bloody funny. Watch it and you'll begin to realise that Gene Wilder's performance in Young Frankenstein wasn't all that far-fetched.
And then there's Karloff and Lugosi...
Horror Tip #753: Never hire an assistant called Ygor, Igor or a derivative thereof. It'll end in trouble.
Lugosi has rarely been better in this role as Ygor, the devious, cunning, horrible, smelly (probably) assistant that has an uncanny hold over the monster. It's all in the pipes, you see.
Son of Frankenstein may not top the original 'Frankenstein' or 'Bride', but throw me into a pit of sulphur and call me Ygor if it isn't still great fun. Rathbone is a joy to watch as his deperation takes hold and things descend to something resembling high farce, what with him bolting around his castle with a one-armed policeman hot on his trail. Terrific stuff. Added to the sense of farce is the fact that when Wolf's wife is shouting his name, it sounds like she's shouting "Woof!". Well, it made me laugh anyway...
And it's done in a wonderful setting. The castle looks stunning, all deep shadows and crazy angles. Why, there's not a straight line in the place! Enough to drive anyone mad.
Finally, there's a cheering crowd at the train station, and a happy ending to enjoy - until the train pulls out the station and you think, "Hang on, why aren't they arresting him?". Best not to worry too much about it though. Just sit back enjoy Son of Frankenstein - and those impressive knockers!