I’m not a big fan of the original Frankenstein. Sure, the monster’s make-up is undeniably iconic, but I find it too chatty, uneventful and a wobbly in its execution. The concept is there, but Mary Shelly’s original novel was stripped too close to the bone, and there just wasn’t enough to fill the (relatively short) running time to keep the audience interested. If they weren’t going to do a straight adaptation featuring the chatty mad monster and the unending tortured angst, they should have just gone off the wall with the concept – which they happily did in the sequel.
BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIM (also directed by the original’s James Whale) is a master-class in examining the humanity in horror without ever sacrificing any of the excitement. Whale electrifies the whole film, from the set up to and unavoidable climax, and never lets things die. This movie is ALL about the Monster (while the other was about his creation) without ever feeling exploitative or tiresome. Whale is a pure master craftsman with a screenplay credited to ELEVEN writers!?!
This may seem like an obvious choice, but it’s easy for most people to shrug off. It shouldn’t be put up high on a shelf and forgotten. It should be watched, it should be discussed. I’ve been guilty of skipping over the ‘classics’ (“Eh. I get the jist of it”) many times in the past, and I’m sure I’ll do it in the future, so heed my warning and WATCH IT NOW! IT’S A GOSH DARN CLASSIC!