When James Whale's FRANKENSTEIN opened up the doors of horror at Universal Pictures, the bosses there walked happily through those doors and created a series of films that remain intriguing today. I'm in the middle (at Halloween time) of watching a number of these movies, and though the acting is a bit arch and the storytelling a tad stretched, the energy behind the films is viscerally potent and very entertaining. Over the last two evenings, I've screened SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, with Basil Rathbone chewing up whatever scenery Universal could throw at him as the son of Henry ("Heinrich" on the grave) Frankenstein, who created the Monster that will not die. Last night, it was GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN, in which stodgy Sir Cedric Hardwicke, clearly counting the zeroes on his paycheck, trundled through the story of yet another iteration of the Monster, while Ralph Bellamy kept finding it impossible to locate Lon Chaney's Monster even when it walked down the main street and entered houses through the front doors. Regardless, thoroughly engaging and fun to watch. Also fun to see which straws were drawn when the casting sessions were held. Would the Monster be Karloff again, or Chaney, or Lugosi? Would Lugosi, in the wake of his iconic DRACULA, continue to play (and play extremely well) the misshapen Igor? Which British leading man would be hired to fall breathlessly into the thrall of the "It's Alive" mentality established by Colin Clive in the original? And how many townspeople killed in previous Frankie movies would appear bearing torches in the town in the next one? Great stuff. Always ready to toss a Universal Monster DVD into the player and await the silly little bi-plane (or whatever it is) circling the silver globe at the opening.