While horror films had been very profitable for Universal,
the studio still showed a loss in the Depression years of 1932, 1933 and 1935.
With studio earnings lower than expected, Carl Laemmle was forced to take out a
loan of $750,000 to keep the studio open as Showboat(1936) was about to go into production. He agreed to repay
the loan on time or sell the studio for 5.5 million dollars. When Laemmle was
unable to repay the loan Standard Capital bought Universal and renamed it 'New
Universal Studios'. Showboat (1936) was released less than 2 months after Standard
Capital took control and was a huge box-office success.
Son of Frankenstein (1939) was the third film in Universal Studios' Frankenstein series and would be the last to feature Boris Karloff as the Monster. Universal decided to make the film an “A” list movie and had originally planned to film it in color. However test shooting revealed that the monster's make-up was not up to standard and the plan was abandoned.
Bela Lugosi As Ygor
Son of Frankenstein (1939) would mark the last time Boris Karloff would play the role of the monster in a feature film and it was also the last time that Universal produced an “A” production of a Frankenstein film. The film was a huge hit for Universal Studios and revitalized the horror genre, thus making Son of Frankenstein (1939) perhaps one of the most significant horror films of the decade. The two-year drought of horror films was now over and Universal studios and other motion picture studios opened the floodgates of the horror genre. Son of Frankenstein (1939) marked the end of an era and a beginning of a new one. The early 1940s would see new monsters and new stories brought to life in B- rated productions, none of which would ever compare to their predecessors.