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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Frankenstein Films

Mary Shelley's 1818 novel, "Frankenstein: or The New Prometheus" was one of the first modern science fiction novels. Modern, in that it was science, not the supernatural, that created the monster. Her story is probably best remembered by the iconic image of the monster with flat-topped head, bolts in his neck and green skin. This images was created by Universal Studios makeup artist Jack Pierce. His monster was featured in seven Universal films from 1931 to 1948. Britain's Hammer Films took the concept and created seven of their own Frankenstein films. Though, their films were focused on the doctor more than the monster. Below are the films reviewed in this study: FrankenFEST.

 Edison's Frankenstein -- A 1910 silent movie short based on Shelley's book, featuring alchemy as the science.

Homunculus -- 1916 Silent film series in six parts. A chemically-created person, unable to love, antagonizes humanity because he cannot feel love.

1931: Frankenstein -- THE film that created the cultural icon. Boris Karloff stars as the monster.

Bride of Frankenstein -- The sequel in which the doctor creates a mate for his monster. The monster speaks, but the relationship is doomed.

Son of Frankenstein -- Basil Rathebone stars as a son of Henry. Karloff stars as the monster for the last time. Bela Lugosi plays the hunchback, Ygor.

Ghost of Frankenstein -- The ghost of Henry persuades his other son, Ludwig, to fix the monster and vindicate him.

Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man -- Dual sequel with two monsters who fight to an inconclusive end.

House of Frankenstein -- Plot mashup with the monster, Dracula, the Wolfman, a lovelorn hunchback and an evil doctor, played by Boris Karloff.

Three Frankenstein Miscellany Non-saga and indie films: Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and Frankenstein 1970. The latter starring Boris Karlof.

Curse of Frankenstein -- Hammer Films' start of a new saga. Peter Cushing stars as Victor Frankenstein. Christopher Lee plays his monster.

Revenge of Frankenstein -- The Baron escaped the guillotine and tries to help his hunchback friend get a new body.

Evil of Frankenstein -- Story retold and loosely akin to Universal's saga. Baron returns to old castle to find his flat-headed monster frozen in ice.

Frankenstein Creates Woman -- The Baron remakes the body of a crippled suicide victim into a hottie, then transfers in the "soul" of his dead assistant. The dual-personality Christina stalks and kills the three men who framed Hans for murder.

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed -- The Baron blackmails a young doctor to kidnap an insane brain-transplant doctor, to learn his secrets.


Randall Landers said...

I think you should add in HOUSE OF DRACULA because in that film the doctor is trying to cure Dracula's vampirism which later becomes quite a trope for horror films and even Dark Shadows.

Unknown said...

This list misses some of the more recent entries into the Frankenstein franchise. There wone interesting movie version called "Frankenstein: The True Story" where the monster was initially very handsome but physically deteriorates. Dr. Frankenstein abandon's the monster who then seeks revenge. It is much closer to the original book. There have also been several recent TV series based loosely on the Frankenstein mythos.