Most spoof films, from Scary Movie to Hot Shots, play out like a collection of sketches thrown together in an attempt to weave some semblance of a coherent plot from wildly different sources.
But this is not the case with classic Mel Brooks movies, and Young Frankenstein is definitely a classic.What sets apart Brooks' humorous take on the Universal horror films of the 30s and 40s is not just that it’s funny. It's the meticulous, loving manner in which Brooks captures the mood and Gothic black-and-white of these old classics.
Gene Wilder stars as Victor Frankenstein’s grandson, a scientist in his own right who has tried to live down the family name by changing the pronunciation. But he can't escape fate, and when the will of his grandfather arrives Wilder is off to Transylvania (but not before a hilarious experiment in voluntary and involuntary nerve impulses).
Once there Wilder predictably finds his grandfathers notes and undertakes the experiments himself, with the help of hunchback Marty Feldman and bimbo Teri Garr (who was pretty damn hot back in the day.) The result of Wilder stepping on the toes of nature is monster Peter Boyle.
The film parodies many of Universal’s classic bits: the angry mob, the mad scientist's labratory(some of the original props from the 30s are used) and, best of all, the blind hermit from Bride of Frankenstein (played by Gene Hackman.) But the film also has a cohesive storyline, not a patchwork of scenes from various movies shoved obtrusively together.
Though Brook’s humor seems somewhat tame today, this was 1974 and this was a big Hollywood studio production. Brooks' use of colorful language, risqué sex jokes and playing racial stereotypes for laughs were well ahead of their time.The film is full of classic scenes and great quotes. But to fully realize what a revolutionary comic director Mel Brooks was you only have to look at this one fact: Young Frankentein was made the same year as Blazing Saddles.