"You must create a female for me with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone can do, and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse to concede," -- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.

"But science, like love, has her little surprises, as you shall see," -- Dr Pretorius, The Bride of Frankenstein

Ok, stop me if you've heard this one before...
Ok, stop me if you've heard this one before...

Bride of Frankenstein. It’s just the best, isn’t it? I mean James Whale’s Frankenstein is awesome, but his Bride is just miles ahead of it. In the four years between Frankenstein and Bride, talkies had come a long way, technically. Structurally, Bride is also better, leaving out the long dull interludes between the interesting bits. The actors are in great form. Karloff is at his peak, and the addition of dialogue for his Monster gives him much more to work with. Colin Clive’s Frankenstein is wonderful, alternating between pathetic self-pity and steely determination. Ernest Thesinger steals the show as the camp, malevolent Dr Pretorius. Valerie Hobson does her best with scant material as Elizabeth and Una O’Conner and E. E. Clive do memorable comic turns. But best of all is Elsa Lanchester, who does extraordinary things in a tiny amount of screen time. ...continue reading "Bride of Frankenstein – 1935"

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The wood sang its sweet song to Gwendolyn Harper, but for once she could not listen. Most days, she could hear little else. Her ears filled with a thousand tunes and she was happy. Now there was no room in her broken heart for the joy of wood.

Sunday morning and the crowds were yet to arrive. Gwen worked in the timber section of Handy Pavilion, amongst the vast shelves of potential. Rough long baulks of framing pine, neat thin strips of hardwood decking, huge pallets overloaded with sheets of plywood and MDF. This was her kingdom and these were her people, and yet she would give it all away from one sweet kiss from the man she loved from afar.

Norman, his name was. Norman. Nor-man. New hire. Worked in power tools. He was a young man of perhaps twenty, perhaps less. He had a tufty little beard which didn’t suit him, and yet which could not obscure his beauty. There were tattoos up and down his arms. She wondered how far they extended beneath his shirt, beneath his apron. ...continue reading "Do It Yourself — Chapter 2: A Wooden Chorus"

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It was a Saturday morning, and the hot sun beat down on the hardware centre. The centre’s air conditioning struggled to put up a fight, but it was still anyone’s battle.

Axel Plazoff was restocking a shelf of caulking guns, when out of the corner of his eye he spotted a familiar face. It was a handsome face, screwed up in an expression of concentration, and it belonged to a big man who examined the label on a can of exterior varnish with the intensity of a bomb-disposal expert wondering which wire to snip.

Oh God. It was Captain Stellar-- not in his uniform, just a t-shirt, shorts and sandshoes. Please, Axel thought. Please don’t let him recognise me. ...continue reading "Do It Yourself — Chapter 1: The Reunion"

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'The picture I present to you is peaceful and human, and you must feel that you could deny it only in the wantonness of power and cruelty.' - Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.

'Speak! You’ve got a civil tongue in your head. I know you have, because I sewed it back myself!' – Prof Frankenstein, I Was a Teenage Frankenstein.

'Are we there yet?' 'No' 'Are we there yet? 'No' 'How about now?' 'So help me, I'll turn this car around right now...'
'Are we there yet?' 'No' 'Are we there yet?
'No' 'How about now?' 'So help me, I'll turn this car around right now...'

I Was a Teenage Frankenstein is not a great movie. It was released in the same year as Hammer's Curse of Frankenstein, and it does not hold up well in comparison. It is shot on minimal sets with a tiny cast. The monster makeup is awful and the acting is second rate at best.

It does however have its moments. I’ve said before, one of the things I like most about Frankenstein as a story is that even a lot of the bad versions have something interesting to say. I Was a Teenage Frankenstein is a good example of this. Under the campy fifties B-movieness of it all is a dark little story of an abusive father and his dysfunctional family. ...continue reading "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein – 1957"

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