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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 films in particular.
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) became associated with the name "Igor," 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 and twisted backed blacksmith who reanimates the Monster as an instrument of vengeance against the townspeople who attempted to hang him for graverobbing. He is shot accidentally, but somehow survives and appears in the next film, where his brain is placed in the Monster's body before it is brought back. 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 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 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.
In other media
Film and television
In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the character of Riff Raff is a hunch-backed servant of Dr. Frank N. Furter, who is seen serving as a lab assistant in the doctor's attempts to create life.
In the 1970s PBS children's show The Electric Company, Jim Boyd and later Luis Avalos played disheveled lab assistants named "Igor" to a character known simply as "The Mad Scientist" played by Morgan Freeman.
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).
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".
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 tall, blond, good-looking and well-dressed Yuppie assistant to Prof. Mortimer Gangreen who longs to be a TV news anchor. In all three films, he is portrayed by Steve Lundquist. The character also appeared in the cartoon voiced by Cam Clarke.
The cartoon series Count Duckula features the titular character's faithful old 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.
Igor starred in a computer-animated self-titled Igor (film), where he takes over for his deceased master at being a mad scientist so he can fulfill his dream of being the most famous scientist in the world.
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.
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 video game Quest for Glory IV Igor is the lab assistant to Dr. Cranium and the local gravekeeper.
In the Persona video game series, Igor is a recurring character who assists the main characters by helping them create new Personas.
The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season was the first to use the name Igor for a named storm.
In an interactive action game called Braindead 13 a hunchbacked, heavily armed, imp-like character, with hooks for hands, based on the Igor archetype, named Fritz, works as the central antagonist of the player, as per the orders of a disembodied mad scientist's brain.
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