Igor (character)

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Igor, or sometimes Ygor, is a stock character assistant to many types of Gothic villains, such as Count Dracula or Dr. Victor Frankenstein, familiar from many horror movies and horror movie parodies. Although Dr. Frankenstein had a hunchback 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.

Origins[edit]

Dwight Frye's hunch-backed 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". The sequels 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 hunch backed 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. Not a hunchback, the character is deaf and mute, and is portrayed as an unconditionally devoted servant.

In other media[edit]

Pop music[edit]

Film and television[edit]

  • 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 (a prequel to Mad Monster Party?) voiced by Allen Swift imitating Peter Lorre. He is the assistant of Baron Henry von Frankenstein, and covets the mate 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 "Fronkunsteen").
  • In The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), the character of Riff Raff (Richard O'Brien) is a hunch-backed servant of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry). He serves as a lab assistant in the Doctor's attempts to create life.
  • Count Dracula had a butler named Igor in ABC's 1979 holiday telefilm The Halloween That Almost Wasn't (aka 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 Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Halloween Town's resident mad scientist Dr. Finkelstein has a hunchbacked assistant called Igor who acts rather canine working for "Bone Biscuits." He helps Dr. Finklestein into creating the skeletal reindeer for Jack Skellington in his plot to improvise Christmas.[1] The character is voiced by an uncredited Joe Ranft in the film and by Rob Paulsen in The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge.
  • 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.
  • Igor makes a cameo appearance in an episode of the fairy tale television series Once Upon a Time portrayed by Yurij Kis. Once again, he's Dr. Frankenstein's assistant and helps him to reanimate his brother Gerhardt into the infamous monster.
  • Daniel Radcliffe plays Igor in an adaptation of Frankenstein by Paul McGuigan.[2][3] In this version, Igor is initially an unnamed hunchback clown at a circus with an interest in anatomy, resulting in him being a self-taught physician whose skills capture the attention of Victor Frankstein during a visit. Seeing the hunchback's poor treatment by the rest of the circus after seeing him treat injured acrobat Lorelai, Victor frees the hunchback 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 after she acquires a wealthy patron, regarding Victor as a friend despite Victor's various lies. 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.

Print[edit]

  • In Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, the Überwald region is home to a tribe of hunchbacked lab assistants with speech impediments; every male is named Igor, while the females are all named "Igorina".[4]
  • 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 hunchbacked character named Igor is a recurring character in The Far Side comics, in typical mad scientist or other horror situations.

Video games[edit]

  • In the video game Quest for Glory IV, Igor is the local gravekeeper and the lab assistant to Dr. Cranium.
  • In the Persona video game series, Igor is a recurring character who assists the main characters by helping them create new Personas.
  • In the 1986 video game Castlevania, Igor and Frankenstein's Monster are the boss characters in the fourth group of stages.
  • In the 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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.scifiscripts.com/cartoon/nightmare.txt
  2. ^ Hello Igor... Daniel Radcliffe gets into character on the set of the brand new Frankenstein movie, The Daily Mail
  3. ^ "Daniel Radcliffe Talks 'Frankenstein' and Igor". ScreenCrush. 
  4. ^ "Against the Trumpets – a Monstrous Regiment fansite". Hyel.thedanamark.net. Archived from the original on February 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 

External links[edit]