The story of Frankenstein is only the beginning of a longer tale, as Mary Shelley continues her story it is revealed that Henry Frankenstein and the monster have survived the windmill fire. The towns people are in a frenzy pursuing the monster across the countryside while a Dr. Pretorius mischievously plots and toils to get Henry into continuing his work. Eventually Dr. Pretorius teams up with the monster so a bride may be formed. Will the monster have his wish made true or will it be a match made in hell?
The Bride of Frankenstein is the 1935 classic horror film and sequel to 1931’s Frankenstein. It was directed by James Whale and features Boris Karloff returning to his role as the monster. Colin Clive returns to his role as Henry Frankenstein. The film also features Elsa Lanchester as the monsters bride and Ernest Thesiger plays the role of Dr. Pretorius. The movie grossed nearly two million at the box office. It received both critical acclaim and staunched views from censors across the globe. Some scenes were believed to be too extreme and had to be cut. But the film has gone down in history as one of the greatest horror films of its age for its dark aesthetics, wonderful cinematography, brilliant musical score and performances.
Bride of Frankenstein begins with a homage to the books author Mary Shelley. Unlike the first film which has a cautionary warning to the audience by Edward Van Sloan. This one breaks down the first film and alludes to the story being more than having a message of scientific morality.
Following the events from the first movie, Henry Frankenstein has refrained his pursuit in creating life. The monster is believed to have perished in the fire but while making sure the body was destroyed in the wreckage. The parents of the drowned girl discover the monster and he kills them both. Literally the night of the fire, Frankenstein is met with a Dr. Pretorius who wants to continue Frankenstein’s work. We then follow the monster as it makes it’s way through the countryside. Being chased by the villagers and killing at random. Eventually the monster meets Dr. Pretorius and they team up to force Henry to revive his work. The monster kidnaps Henry’s wife as ransom for his own monster wife from Frankenstein. The doctor reluctantly obliges. What ensues is a sad ad heartbreaking unfolding.
Bride of Frankenstein is a much different film than it’s predecessor. It’s sad and much more painful than the first film. It’s also goofier than the first. Dr. Pretorius is this flamboyant character that reeks of insanity. He has this scene where he reveals his own experiments to Henry. Small people held in glass containers that are dressed like Henry the 8th and an queen. You can tell he plays with them and is mad beyond mad. But the scene is kind of quirky. The guy also enjoys taking lunch breaks in a tomb and makes alters out of human bones. What the hell is with this guy!?
Una O’Connor as Minnie is just like her character Jenny Hall in 1933’s The Invisible Man. She screams and is in a constant state of neurosis but it makes her the comic relief. Let’s all laugh at the crazy woman freaking out over the monster! To me I think Minnie represents the devil. She exaggerates everything going on and gets the towns people into a frenzy with her screaming. She mocks the monster and gets him into an uproarious rage. When the monster is chasing the townsfolk, she distracts a guy which in turn gets him hurt by the monster. She did it on purpose because she loves seeing pain and chaos! Someone needs to burn that hag at the stake!
But like I said, the movie is extremely sad and gut wrenching. By this point we already know that the monster really isn’t bad at heart. He’s hurt and in a constant state of fear. At one point he sees his reflection in a pool of water and yells in rage at seeing himself. His hideous scared face, which he knows it terrifying is something know one will accept. But he clamors for being good and in every attempt is met with rage and hate. Which continues the theme of the mob becoming the monster. But nothing works for him. He’s doing what the doctor intended in the first film by learning and becoming a civilized creation! But still not getting any respect.
I guess there is a message of acceptance and finding your inner beauty which is terrible because the monster never finds it. His life sucks! No wonder he kills himself at the end. Even when his bride is made and he attempts to connect with her, she too denies him and fears him like everyone else! GIVE THE GUY A BREAK! Nothing a little moisturizer can’t fix. Gosh, even when women are reanimated monsters, they’re still judgmental! Probably knew he didn’t have a job with no car and wasn’t good with kids so that’s why she hates him! The skin will heal over time lady he just needs a few weeks for the scars to go away. I don’t get it, why is Frankenstein so ugly and monstrous yet the Bride looks like a babe?
So at this point the monster has had enough. He realizes that “sometimes, dead is better” just like Jud Crandall says in Pet Sematary! He destroys himself, his bride and Dr. Pretorius while crying in pain. Ending the movie in such a tragic way that it’s no wonder people cry for this film. It’s a tragedy what befalls this creature.
Yes I Know
Bride of Frankenstein is a great film and is considered to be “the best of all the Golden Age horror, even one of the greatest films of all time.” With it’s charmingly eerie settings, alluring set designs, use of shadow, amazing acting and brilliant musical score; it’s no wonder it’s so highly acclaimed. It set a standard for classical monster films and encouraged other monster movie sequels. Including a third installment in 1939 titled Son of Frankenstein. Thus completing what I believe to be the very first trilogy ever made.
Boris Karloff is amazing as Frankenstein and has a much more ambitious role as the monster. He finally gets to speak and show signs of emotion. The monster tugs at your heart strings because he’s sincerely good, yet will never be accepted. He wants friends and find enemies. He wants love and is hated. The emotion that Karloff displays exemplifies the heart break the monster experiences and it’s moving. You just want to give the monster a hug and go bowling or watch football together.
To me, the monster represents goodness and innocence. Something we’re all born with. These are fragile windows of the inner being that can be shattered or manipulated. The movie implies through Dr. Frankenstein and villagers that we should be nurturing and compassionate. Not spiteful or hostile. Without do so, a person can become bitter and lost. Dr. Pretorius shows that manipulating something intended to be good can cause great harm and eventually be ones own downfall.
With all this considered Bride of Frankenstein is a marvel. Although not my favorite of the classic monster films; it will always be a treasure among the collection. So please watch Bride of Frankenstein for the tenth day of Horror Movie Marathon.