Willis O’Brien’s Frankenstein

I’ve long been familiar with this sketch by Willis O’Brien (famed animator of the 1933 King Kong):

King Kong vs Frankenstein

But I only stumbled upon this one yesterday while looking for something else:

Frankenstein sketch


These are both conceptual sketches by Willis O’Brien. O’Brien conceived a script (in the 1960s) that he called “King Kong vs Frankenstein”, planned as a second “sequel” to his original 1933 film. It was never made, though in the end, as “King Kong vs Prometheus”, it was sold to Toho Studios in Japan, who re-conceived the project as Kingu Kongu tai Gojira [King Kong vs Godzilla] (1962; dir. Ishiro Honda) — and then again, sans Kong, as Furankenshutain tai chitei kaiju Baragon [Frankenstein vs the Subterranean Monster Baragon] (1965; dir. Ishiro Honda) aka Frankenstein Conquers the World (US, 1966).

Of course, O’Brien felt betrayed by what Toho did to his script, though I believe he died before actually seeing King Kong vs Godzilla itself. If he’d had a chance to see the original Japanese version (as distinct from the appalling US re-edit), maybe he would have gotten the joke … I doubt it, though. O’Brien was committed to stop-motion SFX and his “King Kong vs Frankenstein” would have had both monsters animated using this technique, rather than the trademark suitmation of Toho Studios. (Interestingly, director Ishiro Honda was considering using stop-motion for his “King Kong vs Godzilla”, but it would have been too expensive for Toho’s available infra-structure.)

Oh well. That’s another great Willis O’Brien project that we’ll never see; compare the Backbrain War Eagles article.

This entry was posted in Film, Giant Monsters, Where's the Film?. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Willis O’Brien’s Frankenstein

  1. Marcus Thigpen says:

    man this image is awsome.

  2. Traie says:

    Thought this might be of interest:


    and more here

    http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kadomiumtank (May require some scrolling and looking)

    And thanks for the article, I had no idea what this was

  3. Night-Gaunt49 says:

    Now imagine after the death of Kong his huge broken body is sent away. And a certain Herbert West, Ph D, MD obtains it to repair then reanimate with new versions of his reanimation serum? And he has is most magnificent creation a huge humanoid and they do battle? (They were both to be used in large scale battle against an enemy like say the Germans in the near future.)

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