Splatter Time Fun Fest 2010 rolls along with yet another horror classic. But, let me tell you one thing, Frankenstein’s Monster may have jumped the gun at the end of this one, I mean, his wife did appear to have a great rack, perhaps he should have considered therapy first, just a thought!
Screenplay By: William Hurlbut & Edmund Pearson
Directed By: James Whale
There isn’t a lot to differentiate the themes and story found in Bride Of Frankenstein from the themes and story found in Frankenstein. They both tackle the same areas, but Bride Of Frankenstein tackles said areas in a more refined way. I don’t mean refined in some sort of elitist way, rather that Bride Of Frankenstein is a better made film. It flows better from beginning to end, it has a rhythm and a pace to it that is much more amiable than what I experienced in Frankenstein. Don’t get me wrong, man I say that phrase a lot, Frankenstein was a great movie, but it was a bit clunky and it had problems sustaining its storytelling and narrative momentum. Bride Of Frankenstein has no such problem, James Whale shows an improved hand behind the wheel of this production, moving the film at a brisk pace and ultimately involving the viewer more easily in what is taking place on screen as a result.
So, with the themes being virtually identical that leaves Bride Of Frankenstein as movie with nothing to offer in this category, correct? If you answered yes, then I am reaching across the interwebs and slapping you in the face right now. Are you okay, I tried not to slap hard, but seriously, if you answered yes then you deserved to be slapped. While it may cover much the same territory as Frankenstein, Bride Of Frankenstein is more interesting in its presentation of said themes, as discussed above, but it also presents more of a damning message about humanity than Frankenstein did. Bride Of Frankenstein moves beyond the idea of simple mob mentality and into the idea of humanity being monstrous, and how even someone as innocent as Frankenstein’s Monster can be corrupted by our vices. The movie is actually quite funny in that regard, and a sign of the times it was made in, as drinking and smoking are the things that ultimately lead to the corruption of the monster. But, if one looks beyond the ties to prohibition you can see the people in the film influencing Frankenstein’s Monster. His actions grow increasingly more hostile, and as he gains more human traits he becomes more of the monster that people have already labeled him as. Frankenstein’s Monster would do wonders for the criminal labeling theory, I can tell you that much.
One minor aspect of Bride Of Frankenstein that captured my fancy was the opening segment. It is very cultured, very over the top in its representation of British aristocracy. But, I found it fascinating how that plays out against the rest of the film. By putting Mary Shelley in that scene it’s as if she is being questioned for he knowledge of humanity. She is the one who is telling this damning tale of humanity, but she herself appears to be as far removed from humanity as one can get. She is insulated, she is an aristocrat, she knows not of the lives led by the people she writes about, and what could she ever hope to know of a monster in her pampered life? It’s a small bit, but it made an impact on me and followed me throughout the film. I found myself constantly going back and comparing the actions that we were seeing on screen from the common folk to the way the aristocracy would put a damning spin on their actions from their insulated tower. If you take it even further, you could look at it another way and say that Shelley, and ultimately Whale, is blaming the aristocracy for all the problems in the film. The tower that created Frankenstein’s Monster and now creates Frankenstein’s Bride can be viewed as a representation of the tower that the aristocracy sits in as they create these monstrous traits in the common folk beneath them.
Viewed in the light of what most people traditionally think of as a horror film I’m not quite sure that Bride Of Frankenstein works. Viewed however as a meta sort of horror film where the horror is in the ideas presented and not the attempts to scare, Bride Of Frankenstein is a deserved classic. It is superior to Frankenstein, heck it’s superior to most horror films being made today. If you’re only experience with Frankenstein’s Monster was in the original Frankenstein then you owe it to yourself to give Bride Of Frankenstein a go. As I said, it is a deserved classic, and one that any horror fan needs to see. I’ve babbled on long enough, go and see Bride Of Frankenstein people, unless you want me to keep reaching across the interwebs and slapping you in the face that is.