13. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Director: Charles Barton
Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney, Jr., Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange, Lenore Aubert, Jane Randolph, Frank Ferguson
For folks raised on black-and-white movies and classic comedy, what could be better than pairing Bud Abbott and Lou Costello with the icons of 1930s/’40s-era, Universal Pictures’ horror? A movie in which the Marx Brothers rescue Los Angeles from Godzilla’s reign of gigantic terror, perhaps?
No worries, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is more than adequate—to be precise, it’s an undisputed classic. Minus the O.G. Frankenstein’s monster, Boris Karloff (Frank is played by Glenn Strange here), Abbott and Costello’s horror-comedy hoot welcomes the venerable Bela Lugosi (star of 1931’s Dracula) and Lon Chaney, Jr. (he of the 1941 classic The Wolf Man) into the Jersey-bred duo’s world of harmless slapstick punchlines and intelligently written situational comedy.
Wisely, Lugosi, Chaney, and Strange never break from their serious-minded character traits, each of them treating Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein as they would any credible frightening monster movie sequel. Think about it: It’s not as if they were going to be able to out-funny Bud Abbott, comedy’s all-time greatest straight man, and Lou Costello, the king of sweet buffoonery.