Frankenstein (1931) Movie Review

By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

In 1818, Mary Shelley published one of the greatest horror novels of all time. That novel is none other than Frankenstein. A fun fact is that Shelley wrote that seminal literary classic when she was only 19 years old. Director James Whale saw the potential of adapting that classic novel as a feature film, and his work currently remains one of the greatest horror films in cinematic history, with special thanks given Boris Karloff’s performance of the (in)famous monster.

A Toast

Even though this film is almost nothing like Shelley’s novel, it is still one of the greatest films ever made. At only 70 minutes long, this film is perfect for Halloween (or for anyone wants to be somewhat thrilled and frightened by a cinematic masterpiece). This film was released in the 1930s when some of the greatest black-and-white horror classics were being made, including Dracula (1931) starring Bela Lugosi. Frankenstein is a bit tame today (as of 2018) given the long history of horror films, but it is still a great tribute to one of the greatest novels ever written.

Verdict

Frankenstein is much more than just a monster. Contrary to popular belief, the monster is not named Frankenstein. It is actually the surname of Victor Frankenstein, the man who created that monster. Another misconception is that the monster that people tend to associate with the name “Frankenstein” has his famous Hollywood look thanks to the make-up artist Jack P. Pierce (and the character’s description in the original novel is drastically different).

In spite of the notorious differences between film adaptations and their literary counterparts that have plagued the history of filmmaking, Frankenstein will always be a classic that is just as famous as the novel that bears that name. Another fun fact is that Boris Karloff provided the voice of Dr. Seuss’s “The Grinch,” which means that Karloff left his mark on adaptations of both classic literature and classic children’s books. Whatever roles he has had, Karloff might always be remembered as the green misunderstood creature in one of the best films ever made.

Frankenstein (1931) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Henry Frankenstein exclaims “It’s alive! It’s alive!”

Take a Drink: every time the monster kills anyone

Drink a Shot: every time the name “Frankenstein” is spoken

About Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. His love affair with cinema began after discovering Turner Classic Movies in the summer of 2004. His favorite film director is Woody Allen, and his favorite movie star is Kate Winslet.

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