Why do I adore Frankenstein’s Monster so much? Because I identify with him. The Monster is misunderstood. Everyone runs from him when he’s simply trying to communicate the best way he can. Sure, his presence can be seen as overwhelming, but he’s seriously a gentle soul trying to make it in this world, and he just wants a friend like him. He breaks my heart because I understand him — more than anyone knows.
I own multiple versions of the story, including the 1910 Edison’s Frankenstein and the classic Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein (side note: I cannot hear “Puttin’ on the Ritz” without mimicking the film); however, I’ve always been drawn to the 1931 Carl Laemmle production of Frankenstein.
I honestly don’t know when I first saw director James Whale’s masterpiece starring Boris Karloff. Hell, I don’t know when I first read Mary Shelley’s novel. But there was always that element of misunderstanding with the Monster and humans that I identified with. Obviously, if you’ve read my articles, you see I’m not your average 34-year-old woman. Somehow I have increasingly gained a connection to Karloff’s portrayal of the creature that Mary Shelley created long ago at Villa Diodati.
I’d love to write an academic article on the depth of Frankenstein. The ideas Mary Shelley presented in her novel, like man playing god with the coming of age of science, are just perfect for picking apart but, as we know, I never really delve into that in these articles! I do want to state, though, that the intelligence of the novel transferred into the Universal films is incredibly admirable. I do believe that if the films were made today, they would be dumbed down and the gore amplified just because audiences no longer want to think whilst watching a film. They don’t want to know that Henry Frankenstein’s classic cry of “It’s alive!” was followed by “In the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!” — and that this line that was cut from the film and not restored until 1999.
So, back to why I love these movies so much. As stated, the Monster tries to communicate the best way he can, and people don’t even bother to try and understand. They simply see him as a negative presence. I’m not going to have a pity party, but I’ve never been a cookie cutter girl. I’ve always done my own thing — plus I used to be overweight — and people sometimes are very harsh against both of those, so the combo was never a good thing. Much like the Monster and the blind old man (DeLacey in the novel) bonding immediately and having a beautiful friendship, I’ve clung to anyone who remotely gets me. Sometimes all it takes is one person to understand and see sincerity and goodness despite what may be presented on the surface.
Of course, the blind old man is brought into the film story in the sequel, Bride of Frankenstein, and the scenes between the two are an absolute joy. Their initial meeting breaks my heart. The scene is seriously gorgeous and I am really sad that I cannot find a clip to include here, so do yourself a favor and get a copy of the movie — DVD or Netflix or whatever — and watch starting around the 35 minute mark. Make sure you have tissues. The fact that the Monster cannot communicate and yet the old blind man takes him in with love immediately is truly beautiful.
However, their friendship is cut short quickly as indifference rears its ugly head once more.
The idea of immediate hate is grossly exaggerated in the climactic final moments of Bride of Frankenstein. The Bride is finally unveiled (she only has a few minutes of screen time, though with all of the pop culture references you would think she’d be the star of the film), she sees her mate and screams. And even still, the Monster goes to her, taking her hand, and gently strokes it. Immediately she rejects him with a look like “How dare you touch me!” Despite her being created in the same manner specifically for him, she reacts in the same way everyone else has to this point.
Of course, The Bride hasn’t had the time to look at herself, and maybe that’s the message: many of us don’t take the time to seriously delve into who we truly are before we pass judgment on others.
Maybe that’s why the Monster is so beautiful because he had a true friend, the blind old man, to show him.
So, naturally, I’ve built a large collection of goodies — some purchased, some made — for this character and the film’s revolving around him. Here we go!
In Bride of Frankenstein, Dr. Septimus Pretorius shows Henry Frankenstein his own creations. Miniature people in jars. I have started replicating these! I am very proud of them. Soon I will have the complete set…
…The Queen, The King, The Arch Bishop, The Devil, The Mermaid (an experiment with seaweed), The Ballerina and, only seen briefly from the back, The Baby.
My Universal Monsters lunchbox features the Bride and Monster! Note her red hair!! YES, the Bride was a redhead! Elsa Lanchester’s own ginger locks were weaved in to create that crazy do, so whenever you see the Bride with black hair — it is WRONG. Most just assumed it was dark due to the black and white film. Well, now you know better! :)
T-SHIRTS! Yes, both a Bride shirt and a Monster shirt.
I have plenty of books! The Frankenstein book is the best as it contains stills from the entire movie and all of the dialogue. TRULY AWESOME!
Of course, my most prized Frankenstein’s Monster possession is this painting by artist James Hance. I was lucky enough to receive this as a gift from James back in June. It captures my guy in all his perfection. I am truly blessed to have him. :)