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A sign featuring Igor with a beautiful woman

Igor (or sometimes Ygor) is the traditional stock character or cliché hunch-backed assistant or butler to many types of villain, such as Count Dracula or a mad scientist, familiar from many horror movies and horror movie parodies, the Frankenstein series and Van Helsing[1] films in particular.

Contents

Origins

An early representation of Igor in film is the uncredited, hunch-backed dwarf laboratory assistant to mad scientist/alchemist Rotwang in the 1927 film Metropolis; later Dwight Frye's hunch-backed lab assistant in the first film of the Frankenstein series (1931), 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 an insane broken-necked blacksmith who reanimates the Monster as an instrument of vengeance against the townspeople who attempted to hang him for graverobbing. In the 1933 horror classic 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 a henchman of the curator (played by a young Charles Bronson) rather than the curator himself. While not a hunchback, the "Igor" character in House of Wax is deaf and mute and is portrayed as an unconditionally devoted servant.

Mel Brooks's 1974 parody of the genre, Young Frankenstein, put a comedic spin on the character with a hunchbacked assistant (played by Marty Feldman) who claimed his name was pronounced "Eye-gor" in response to Frankenstein claiming his name was pronounced "Fronkensteen". In 2004 Igor returned to the screen in Universal Studios' big-budget monster movie Van Helsing.

The 2008 animated comedy feature Igor gave the character central prominence as a twist on the traditional mad scientist story.[2]

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In other media

In Terry Pratchett's humorous fantasy novels, the Überwald region of the Discworld (which resembles a collection of horror clichés) is home to a tribe of hunch-backed lab assistants with speech impediments; every single male is named Igor, while the females are all named Igorina. They have a habit of passing on parts of their body to their family members when they die and are valued in rural areas where accidents with axes happen frequently. The Igors have now branched out into working in city-states such as Ankh-Morpork as medics and general lackeys for scientists, with the We R Igors (A Spare Hand Where Needed) agency renting them out. Their most noticeable behavioural trait, apart from always lisping and limping even if they do not actually have the requisite impediments, is an uncanny ability to appear silently right behind someone mere seconds after being called for, and opening doors to visitors in a similarly short interval after they knock. When questioned about either of these traits, the usual response is "It'th a knack".[3]

In Brian Aldiss' novel Frankenstein Unbound, Doctor Frankenstein's helper, named Yet, is comparable to Igor. The main difference is that Yet is taller and stronger.

Igor is mentioned in the song "Monster Mash" and can be heard saying "Mash Good!" at the end.

In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the character of Riff Raff (Richard O'Brien) is a hunch-backed servant of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), who is seen serving as a lab assistant in the doctor's attempts to create life.

In The Nightmare Before Christmas, the town's resident mad scientist, Dr. Finkelstein, has a hunchbacked assistant called Igor who acts rather canine, working for "Bone Biscuits".[4]

The cartoon series Count Duckula features the titular character's family retainer, 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 Hugo's House of Horrors, the assistant to the mad scientist is named Igor.

He also appears in one Superman comic book story written by Jean-Marc Lofficier and drawn by José Ladrönn, called "Transilvane", which appeared in Legends of the DC Universe #22–23. In the story, Dabney Donovan, a mad scientist has created a whole world based on old horror movie characters. He is the servant of Count Dragorin, who is leader of the Vampires, and operates machinery for him.

A hunchbacked graverobber named Igor is a recurring character in The Far Side comics.

In the Canadian sketch show The Hilarious House of Frightenstein Igor is the burly, bumbling, green-skinned assistant of Count Frightenstein played by Fishka Rais. His taglines are "Yes Master" and "I'd rather not get involved".

In the 1970s PBS children's show The Electric Company, Jim Boyd and later Luis Avalos played disheveled lab assistants named "Igor".

Count Dracula had Igor as his butler for the first time in ABC's 1979 holiday telefilm The Halloween That Almost Wasn't (aka The Night Dracula Saved the World).

Igor appears in the movie Inspector Gadget during a meeting of those recovering from having been minions to various villains

In the video game Quest for Glory IV Igor is the lab assistant to Dr. Cranium and the local gravekeeper.

Emmanuel Sunshine Logroño played Igor occasionally in a comedy sketch along Jacobo Morales when Los Rayos Gamma, Puerto Rico's political parody troupe, had their own television program.

Igor appears in Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Killer Tomatoes Strike Back and Killer Tomatoes Eat France. In these three films, he is portrayed as a Yuppie assistant to Prof. Mortimer Gangreen who longs to be a news anchor. In all three films, he is portrayed by Steve Lundquist.

In the film Death Race (2008), Machine Gun Joe (Tyrese Gibson) calls the main character (Jason Statham) "Igor" because he is "about the ugliest motherfucker out in this prison".

In the Persona video game series, Igor is a recurring character who assists the main characters by helping them create new Personas.

In the Crash Bandicoot series, there is a character named Dr. N. Gin, who acts as an Igor to Dr. Cortex. He enjoys his job, despite being abused by Cortex (this may be because of his apparent lack of self-esteem).

Igor appears in the 2008 film Igor.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Page Title". Writingstudio.co.za. http://www.writingstudio.co.za/page462.html. Retrieved 2009-08-28.  
  2. ^ "Igor (2008) – Plot summary". Imdb.com. 2009-05-01. http://imdb.com/title/tt0465502/plotsummary. Retrieved 2009-08-28.  
  3. ^ "Against the Trumpets – a Monstrous Regiment fansite". Hyel.thedanamark.net. http://hyel.thedanamark.net/trumpets/dwinfo/dictionary/igors.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-28.  
  4. ^ http://www.scifiscripts.com/cartoon/nightmare.txt

External links


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