By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –
The original Frankenstein (1931) was such a thrilling film that a sequel was basically inevitable. Boris Karloff did not even have his first name listed in the billing for The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) because of the success of the first film, and was simply listed as “Karloff.” Within this celebrated sequel, Mary Shelley’s haunting tale of madness and horror continues as the monster demands to have a mate rather than be the isolated and misunderstood creation that characterized him. This film is one of the greatest horror films from the early history of cinema as James Whale masterfully creates a continuation for one of the most iconic films ever produced.
Just like the first film, this sequel contains thrills and chills. The film itself is also sometimes considered to be scarier than the original. Most of the original cast returned to play the same characters from the 1931 classic. Another similarity between the original and this particular sequel is the famous usage of a question mark (?) to designate who played the bride (because the original used a question mark for the role of the monster). Boris Karloff continues his legacy as a film star in The Bride of Frankenstein, and even lost twenty pounds in the process since making this film was hard labor for him. These films are both famous classics in their own right because of how they honor the original story by Mary Shelley while also having a distinctive cinematic look (when compared to the novel). Indeed, James Whale was really one of the first great directors in the early years of cinema because of his formidable adaptations.
Since this film somewhat departs from Mary Shelley’s classic novel, and since this newer story is not exactly the same as the original from 1931, that is probably why this film might have received criticism. Spoilers: Another big issue was that the (male) monster actually speaks in this film, a feature that Karloff himself protested against even though he had to obey the demands of the filmmakers. Not only that, but the bride herself only appears within the last five minutes of this seventy-five minute classic, and all she does is shriek at the sight of the monster. It is a bit ironic that the title character does not even do that much even this was supposed to be “her film.”
Even though the Bride of Frankenstein character might have been billed with a question mark, many people already know that Elsa Lanchester played both the bride and Mary Shelley in this classic horror film. A fun fact that some people might not know was that Elsa Lanchester actually played the small role of Katie Nanna in Mary Poppins (1964), the nanny who grew tired of the shenanigans that Jane and Michael Banks played on her before Mary Poppins flew to #17 Cherry Tree Lane. No matter what roles she had played, though, many people remember her best as the titular “Bride of Frankenstein,” and this film remains a classic within not just the horror film genre, but within the entire history of cinema itself.
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time someone gets killed
Drink a Shot: every time the monster repeats the line, “Friend, friend”
And Drink Distilled Spirits: for every reference to religion, life, and death, all of which are themes within Mary Shelley’s seminal literary classic