by Paul McComas and Greg Starrett
May 2013, $8.99
Reviewed by Neil Baker
This is the first collaborative novella by Paul McComas, award-winning author and editor of six previous titles, and Greg Starrett, for whom this is a literary debut.
Fit for a Frankenstein is the solution to a mild inconsistency to be found in the fourth entry in Universal’s classic Frankenstein series, released in 1942. Early in the film, Ygor and the monster leave the original village in a disheveled state, but shortly arrive in Vasaria cleaned up and sporting new threads. This novella fills in the gaps and explains where the monster got such an impressive suit from.
It is obvious that McComas and Starrett share a profound love for the glorious films that make up the Universal horror film back catalogue, and this shines through their effervescent writing laced with inside-jokes and subtle nods to the originals. Comparisons to the classic Young Frankenstein are unavoidable, but the authors take a different direction to Brooks, stitching together a grisly mass of groan-worthy puns and a smattering of Benny Hill-type bawdiness, resulting in a novella that can stand on its own size 14 feet.
Bela Lugosi’s occasionally impenetrable accent is deftly depicted with an excessive use of the letters ‘v’ and ‘z’ to wonderful effect and it requires just a few paragraphs to fully embrace the rhythm of his dialogue. Ygor is a hunchback of singular determination and devious thoughts, and the authors have fleshed him out perfectly, likewise with the supporting characters who sport a surprising amount of back story considering their scant appearances. Jammed full of literary easter eggs for horror fans, particular highlights include a confused conversation worthy of Abbot and Costello and a wonderful dream sequence wherein Ygor sees the past and future fates of the monster from the creature’s point of view, predicting the brain transplant to come.
If I have one complaint it is that the story is over far too soon, and I would relish a full novelization of this and other Frankenstein films told from Ygor’s point of view.