Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Overview: Two doctors decide to play God with predictably bad results.
Sequel: Bride of Frankenstein follows the Evil Dead 2 route of sequels by essentially having another crack at the first film with a little more money and experience. The movie begins with the ending of Frankenstein, revealing that the monster didn’t die in the windmill fire but survived long enough to brutally murder poor Maria’s parents. Actually, that’s incorrect. We begin, strangely, at the Villa Diodati where Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron are sitting out a storm. In real life this was the place in which Mary Shelley conceived of Frankenstein, and in the movie it’s where she tells Byron and Shelley that Frankenstein’s story is not over.
Frankenstein: Whale wisely gives Karloff more screen time in this movie. We follow the monster more and leave the doctor behind. The monster meets a blind man who teaches him to speak and also drink wine and smoke cigars, which probably isn’t great. He also introduces the monster to the ideas of both friendship and loneliness, which is handy once villagers drive the monster out again and he encounters the villainous Doctor Pretorius.
Pretorius: Pretorius is the classic mad scientist character. Unburdened by Frankenstein’s morality (or a fiancée that points out how he’s losing his mind) he is happy to indulge in all manner of weird experiments, including one in which he has grown tiny humans in jars for some reason that has no bearing on the rest of the story but does show some cool 1930s special effects. It is Pretorius who decides that he and Frankenstein should make another monster, a female, which is an idea that appeals to the lonely monster.
This female monster, the bride, is another completely iconic image from this era of movies. The seven foot tall scarred woman in white with giant, white streaked hair and wide eyes is probably as iconic as Lugosi’s Dracula or Karloff’s Mummy. And this is incredible considering she has five minutes of screen time and no dialogue. She comes into the movie and then moments away the movie is over. Not bad work.
Overall: Bride of Frankenstein is a better movie than the original, as it isn’t hindered by an origin story and focuses more upon the monster than Doctor Frankenstein’s eccentricities. James Whale once again crafts something gorgeous to behold with occasionally lagging pace but a fantastic ending.
Featured Image: Universal Pictures