Igor, or sometimes Ygor, is a stock character lab assistant to many types of Gothic villains, (especially mad scientists) such as Count Dracula or Dr. Victor Frankenstein, familiar from many horror movies and horror movie parodies. Although Dr. Frankenstein had a hunchbacked assistant in the 1931 film Frankenstein, his name was Fritz; in the original Mary Shelley novel, Dr. Frankenstein has no lab assistant nor does a character named Igor appear.
Dwight Frye's hunchbacked lab assistant in the first film of the Frankenstein series (1931) is the main source for the "Igor" of public imagination, though this character was actually named Fritz. Fritz did not originate from the Frankenstein novel, and instead originated from the earliest recorded play adaptation, Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein, where he was played by Robert Keeley.
The sequel films Son of Frankenstein (1939) and The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) featured a character named Ygor, played by Bela Lugosi. This character, however, is neither a hunchback nor a lab assistant, but a blacksmith with a broken neck and twisted back. He reanimates the monster as an instrument of vengeance against the townspeople who attempted to hang him for grave-robbing. He survives a near-fatal gunshot and appears in the next film, in which his brain is placed in the monster's body.
Universal Pictures would actively cement the idea of the hunchbacked assistant to the "mad scientist" in the Frankenstein film series' House of Frankenstein (1944) with J. Carrol Naish playing a hunchbacked lab assistant named Daniel.
In the 1933 horror film Mystery of the Wax Museum, Ivan Igor is the name of the mad wax-museum curator. The film was remade as House of Wax in 1953, but the name Igor was given to the curator's henchman (played by a young Charles Bronson) rather than the curator himself. This character is deaf and mute, rather than a hunchback.
In other media
- The 1960s novelty song "Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers mentions Igor: "The scene was rockin', all were digging the sounds / Igor on chains, backed by his baying hounds". Igor is heard muttering "Mmm, Mash good!" at the end of the song.
- The Alice Cooper album Love it to Death features the song "Ballad of Dwight Frye", which is loosely based on Fritz's character.
Film and television
- In the 1946 Three Stooges short "A Bird in the Head", a mad scientist has a gorilla named Igor as well as an assistant named Nico who regularly uses the phrase, "Yes, master."
- The 1970s PBS children's show The Electric Company featured a disheveled lab assistant named Igor (played by Jim Boyd and later by Luis Avalos) who served a character known simply as "The Mad Scientist" (played by Morgan Freeman).
- In the 1971 Canadian sketch show The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, Igor is the burly, bumbling, green-skinned assistant of Count Frightenstein played by Fishka Rais. His catchphrases are "Yes, master" and "I'd rather not get involved".
- Igor is featured in Mad Mad Mad Monsters (the prequel to Mad Monster Party?) voiced by Allen Swift imitating Peter Lorre. He is the assistant of Baron Henry von Frankenstein, and covets the bride that Frankenstein creates for the monster.
- Mel Brooks's 1974 parody Young Frankenstein included a hunchbacked assistant played by Marty Feldman who claimed his name is pronounced "Eye-gor" (in response to Frankenstein's claim that his name is pronounced "Fronkunschteen").
- In The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), the character of Riff Raff (Richard O'Brien) is a hunchbacked servant of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry). He serves as a lab assistant in the doctor's attempts to create life.
- The 1976 Doctor Who story The Brain of Morbius, heavily styled after the 1931 Frankenstein film, included an Igor figure in Condo, lumbering deformed servant to Doctor Solon, who collects body parts from crashed spaceships so that his master can build a new body for the disembodied brain of the titular villain Morbius, a renegade Time Lord.
- in the 1970s Canadian sketch comedy series SCTV, in their "Monster Chiller Horror Theater" segments, the mad scientist Dr. Tongue (John Candy) had a servile, hunchbacked and deformed assistant named "Bruno" (Eugene Levy) who played to this trope.
- Count Dracula had a butler named Igor in ABC's 1979 holiday telefilm The Halloween That Almost Wasn't (a.k.a. The Night Dracula Saved the World).
- An Igor appears in Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Killer Tomatoes Strike Back, and Killer Tomatoes Eat France. He is portrayed as a tall, blond, good-looking Yuppie assistant to Prof. Mortimer Gangreen, portrayed by Steve Lundquist. The character also appeared in the cartoon series voiced by Cam Clarke.
- The cartoon series Count Duckula features the titular character's faithful old family retainer named Igor who is portrayed as an anthropomorphic vulture (hence the hunchback). Igor is a traditionalist and often schemes to convert his vegetarian master to a diet of blood as was the case with Duckula's previous incarnations.
- In the Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode, Count Koopula, King Koopa's most loyal henchman, Mouser, was portrayed as a hunchback and called himself "Mousigor" as a homage to the original Igor.
- In The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Halloween Town's resident mad scientist Dr. Finkelstein has a hunchbacked assistant called Igor who acts rather like a canine and works for "Bone Biscuits." He helps Dr. Finklestein into creating the skeletal reindeer for Jack Skellington in his plot to improvise Christmas. The character is voiced by an uncredited Joe Ranft in the film and by Rob Paulsen in The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge.
- In the Beast Wars: Transformers episode Feral Scream, part 1, Waspinator act as an Igor while Megatron creates the Transmetal 2 clone of Dinobot to force Rampage to obey him.
- The 2004 movie Van Helsing included a deformed character named Igor, played by Kevin J. O'Connor. In the film, he is the former assistant of Victor Frankenstein and the current assistant of Count Dracula. He is a spiteful, hate-filled man who takes pleasure in harming others, but he is intimidated into helping Gabriel Van Helsing and his allies to acquire a werewolf cure to use for Van Helsing.
- Igor appears in the animated series Frankenhole, a cartoon show which is a modern update of the Frankenstein mythos.
- In Igor (2008), the main character of the film (voiced by John Cusack) is the former assistant of a now-deceased mad scientist. He takes over his master's research and dreams of becoming the most famous scientist in the world.
- Daniel Radcliffe plays Igor in the film Victor Frankenstein by Paul McGuigan. In this version, Igor is initially an unnamed hunchbacked clown at a circus and a self-taught physician whose skills capture Victor Frankstein's attention after he helps him treat injured acrobat Lorelai. Seeing the hunchback's poor treatment by the rest of the circus, Victor frees him and takes him to his flat, draining the cyst that is the cause of his posture, providing him with a brace to help his posture adjust, and giving him the name 'Igor Straussmann' after his currently absent flatmate. Igor goes on to assist Victor in his experiments to create life while falling in love with Lorelai. He regards Victor as a friend despite Victor's various lies (Including the revelation that the original Igor actually died from a drug overdose and Victor has been keeping him on ice to use his organs as part of his experiments). At the film's conclusion, after Igor helps Victor destroy the original creation when it proves to lack the true spark of life, Frankenstein departs to leave Igor to create a new life for himself with Lorelai.
- Igor appears in the 2012 animation series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in the fifth season episode "The Frankenstein Experiment" (voiced by Grant Moninger), as Victor von Frankenstein's lab assistant. Disgruntled by his master's impatient treatment of him, Igor betrays him and his new friends, the Turtles, to their enemy Savanti Romero, but gets tossed out of a tower window for his reward.
- In Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, the Überwald region is home to a tribe of hunchbacked lab assistants with speech impediments, to the point that an Igor without an impediment is considered to be an embarrassment; every male is named Igor, while the females are all named Igorina, and are known for literally passing down body parts when their ancestors are deceased.
- The comic book story "Transilvane" (Legends of the DC Universe #22–23, written by Jean-Marc Lofficier and drawn by José Ladrönn) depicts Dabney Donovan, a mad scientist who has created a whole world based on old horror movie characters. In that world, Igor is the servant of the vampire leader, Count Dragorin.
- A hunchback named Igor is a recurring character in The Far Side comics, in typical mad scientist or other horror situations.
- In the computer game Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness, Igor is the local gravekeeper and the lab assistant to Dr. Cranium. He happens to be allergic to avocado.
- In the Persona video game series, Igor is a recurring character who assists the main characters by helping them create new Personas, powerful beings based on both their own personalities and figures from mythology and folklore.
- In the 1986 video game Castlevania, Igor and Frankenstein's Monster are the boss characters in the fourth group of stages.
- In episode 2 of the 2015 video game Life Is Strange, the main protagonist Max Caulfield refers to the character by saying "Bring me the brain, Igor!" when inspecting the beakers on the counter in the science lab.
- Behrendt, Stephen C. (2012). "A Hideous Bit of Morbidity": An Anthology of Horror Criticism from the Enlightenment to World War I. McFarland. p. 97. ISBN 978-0786469093.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was adapted for the stage many times, and the first of these interpretations was Richard Brinsley Peake's Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein (1823), which dramatized key scenes from the novel and added Frankenstein's assistant, Fritz, to the mix.
- Doe, John (August 2001). "Cast and Characters - Romantic Circles". Romantic Circles. RC. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-07-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Hello Igor... Daniel Radcliffe gets into character on the set of the brand new Frankenstein movie, The Daily Mail
- "Daniel Radcliffe Talks 'Frankenstein' and Igor". ScreenCrush.
- "Against the Trumpets – a Monstrous Regiment fansite". Hyel.thedanamark.net. Archived from the original on February 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-28.