Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is an American horror film released in 1943 by Universal Pictures and directed by Roy William Neill. It is the second film to feature Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Wolf Man and the fifth Frankenstein film in the Universal franchise. The plot centers around the resurrection of werewolf Larry Talbot and his quest to find a way to end his curse, or his life, once and for all. His journey brings him to the village of Vasaria where he discovers the frozen remains of the Frankenstein Monster. Although Talbot initially befriends the Monster, it is only a matter of time before the two are literally at each other's throats.
In Llanwelly village, two graverobbers break into the Talbot family tomb. They crack open the casket of Lawrence Talbot, believing that he had been buried with large sums of money. As the coffin lid rises, the light of the full moon shines through. Larry Talbot is resurrected as the Wolf Man. The Wolf Man pounces on top of one grave robber, Freddy Jolly, as the other manages to crawl out of the tomb through a window above the vault. The Wolf Man escapes and goes to nearby Cardiff where he kills a police constable.
The following morning, another police officer finds an unconscious Larry Talbot lying on the sidewalk. Noticing a severe laceration upon Talbot's head, he has him taken to Queen's Hospital. There, Doctor Frank Mannering treats the injury as best he can. Inspector Owen is present when Talbot awakens and they begin asking him questions. Talbot tells them that he is Larry Talbot of Llanwelly. Inspector Owen places a telephone call to the Llanwelly police dispatch office and learns that Lawrence Talbot died nearly four years ago. When Talbot hears the news, he is shocked. He insists that he is Lawrence Talbot, and even remembers killing the police constable. He confesses to the crime, but Mannering doesn’t quite believe his story.
Doctor Mannering and Inspector Owen travel to Llanwelly to get some answers. They go to the Talbot family crypt and find Larry's empty coffin. The interior of the coffin is lined with wolfbane. They then go to the police station and Mannering telephones Queen’s Hospital to check up on his patient. He learns that Larry Talbot has escaped.
Meanwhile, Larry returns to Llanwelly and seeks out Maleva, the old gypsy woman who once helped him in the past. Larry would rather die than live on with the curse of the werewolf, but now, he isn't sure if he can ever truly die. Maleva knows someone who might be able to help him; a doctor named Frankenstein.
Larry and Maleva take a horse carriage and travel to the village of Vasaria. He inquires about the Frankenstein family and learns that Doctor Frankenstein has died. Larry's desperate hope for a cure begins to dissolve, but he believes that he might be able to find Frankenstein's notes. He journeys to Castle Frankenstein and begins sifting through the ruins. While there, he discovers the frozen form of the Frankenstein Monster. Larry thaws the creature out, hoping that it might be able to help him. He befriends the Monster, but the creature is too slow-witted to be of any use to him. Larry then arranges a meeting with Baroness Elsa Frankenstein. He contacts her under the alias Mister Taylor with the pretense of showing interest in the purchase of the estate.
The Baroness Frankenstein returns to Vasaria and meets with Talbot. During their meeting, Larry reveals the truth about himself and asks Elsa if she could help him to find her father's notes. Elsa is reluctant to get involved in anything having to do with her family's legacy.
That evening, Elsa and Larry attend the Festival of the New Wine. During the celebration, a singer makes some pointed references to Larry being an animal and Talbot begins to get violent. Suddenly, Doctor Mannering arrives from England. He tells Larry that he believes his story now and wants to help him.
The three of them journey back into the ruins of Frankenstein Castle where they encounter the Frankenstein Monster. Talbot keeps the creature calm, but his presence intrigues Doctor Mannering. Mannering promises the Monster that he will do anything in his power to help him. Meanwhile, Elsa Frankenstein goes to a secret drawer and finds her father's notes.
Reading from the journal, they determine that both the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man are effectively immortal. However, if they could bleed off the electrical energy from the creature's body, they might succeed in destroying it. Talbot hopes that perhaps this same process might also work on him.
Over the course of several days, the three of them (along with Maleva) clean up the old laboratory. They bring in crates filled with new equipment and Mannering repairs the wiring that ran through the old machinery.
All of this activity causes great concern to the villagers of Vasaria. They remember all too well the nightmares that the Frankenstein family has caused in the past. At a pub meeting, a bartender named Vazec goes so far as to suggest blowing up the nearby dam and letting the ensuing flood waters destroy the castle and all those inside it. The mayor of Vasaria admonishes Vazec, declaring that he is drunk and doesn’t know what he's talking about. Otherwise, he would arrest him for conspiracy to endanger the community.
At the castle, Doctor Mannering gets all of the equipment in order. He straps the Frankenstein Monster and Larry Talbot to twin tables and hooks them up to a series of wires and electrodes. As he charges up the machines, Mannering has a change of heart. He cannot bring himself to destroy the Frankenstein Monster. He must see it at its full power. He amplifies the current running through the equipment and sparks begin flying as arcs of electricity pass from one conduit to another.
The sounds of the machinery awakens Baroness Frankenstein. She goes down into the lab whereupon she realizes what Mannering is attempting to do. In the hopes of stopping him, Elsa runs to the control panel and begins randomly throwing switches in an effort to shut everything down. This causes a power overload that causes one of the equipment panels to explode.
Complicating matters even further, the full moon rises in the night sky. Larry Talbot transforms into the Wolf Man just as the Frankenstein Monster breaks free of his straps. The Monster approaches Elsa who faints as she tries to get away. He picks her up, but the Wolf Man leaps upon his back, forcing the Monster to drop the Baroness. As the two creatures begin fighting against one another, the Baroness and Doctor Mannering flee the castle.
Outside, Vazec decides to go through with his threat. He places a roll of dynamite at the base of the nearby dam and lights it. The explosion causes the dam to collapse and millions of gallons of water flood the valley, destroying Frankenstein Castle. The Wolf Man and the Frankenstein Monster are presumably killed in the flood.
- Lon Chaney, Jr. as The Wolf Man
- Ilona Massey as Baroness Elsa Frankenstein
- Patric Knowles as Dr. Mannering
- Lionel Atwill as Mayor
- Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's Monster
- Maria Ouspenskaya as Maleva
- Dennis Hoey as Inspector Owen
- Don Barclay as Franzec
- Rex Evans as Vazec
- Dwight Frye as Rudi
- Harry Stubbs as Guno
- Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man has been made available on VHS, DVD and is a bonus feature film on the Wolf Man Legacy Collection DVD.
- This is the first Universal Pictures film to feature lead characters from two separate horror film franchises. This formula later inspired the 2003 crossover film, Freddy vs. Jason.
- The Wolf Man appeared last in his own 1941 film, The Wolf Man, while the Frankenstein Monster appeared last in Ghost of Frankenstein. They both appear next in the 1944 film, House of Frankenstein.
- This is the first appearance of Bela Lugosi in the role of the Frankenstein Monster. The casting choice is ironically appropriate since the Monster now houses the brain of Ygor as per Ghost of Frankenstein. In that film, Lugosi played the role of Ygor. Although it is not referenced in the final cut, the audience should be reminded that the Frankenstein Monster was blinded in the previous film, owing to Lugosi's stilted walk and stiff, outstretched arms. These physical mannerisms had not really been used in previous incarnations of the character, but have since become characteristic of audience's perceptions of the Frankenstein Monster.
- Second and final horror film for Hungarian actress Ilona Massey. She previously appeared in the 1942 movie The Invisible Agent. This is the second Frankenstein film to feature the character of Elsa Frankenstein. The character was previously played by Evelyn Ankers in Ghost of Frankenstein. Ankers also worked with Lon Chaney, Jr. in The Wolf Man.
- The original cut of the film included dialogue scenes of the Frankenstein Monster, speaking with Larry Talbot in the glacial cave beneath the castle.
- Patric Knowles, who plays the role of Doctor Frank Mannering in this film, also played the part of Chaney's romantic foil, Frank Andrews in The Wolf Man. This was Knowles' final horror film.
- Actor Dwight Frye plays a periphery character named Rudi. Dwight Frye is more widely known for perpetuating the "loyal henchman" archetype as demonstrated in his roles of Fritz in Frankenstein and as Renfield in Dracula. Frye, who had long suffered a congenital heart condition, passed away in 1946, only two years later. This was Frye's final genre film.
- The sound score from The Wolf Man, composed by Charles Previn, Hans J. Salter and Frank Skinner is revisited in this film and is often regarded as a de facto theme song for the Wolf Man.
- According to screenwriter Curt Siodmak, test audiences reacted poorly to the Frankenstein Monster's few speaking lines, owing largely to Bela Lugosi’s strong, Hungarian accent. As a result this footage was excised from the final cut, though there are still a few frames that show Lugosi’s mouth silently articulating. With these cuts, Lugosi's actual screen time as the monster lasts for only a few minutes. The majority of the scenes involving the Frankenstein Monster were filmed using stunt men.
- Final appearance of Maria Ouspenskaya as Maleva. Maleva previously appeared as the maternal figure to Larry Talbot in The Wolf Man.
- There are several inconsistencies in terms of continuity between this film and the next. In Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, the primary setting is known as Vasaria and is the location of Frankenstein Castle. It should be noted that this is the castle estate of Ludwig Frankenstein, not the Watchtower laboratory of Henry Frankenstein. In House of Frankenstein, the spelling of the village is changed to Visaria, but Castle Frankenstein has now been returned to its original location in Frankenstein Village. As per House of Frankenstein, it is a three day journey by carriage from Frankenstein Village to Visaria.