Obviously not a Frankenstein movie as such, the Cabinet of Dr Caligari is a classic silent film that has cast a long shadow across the horror genre, and particularly across the Frankenstein subgenre.

Man, why did skinny jeans go out of style? They look awesome.
Man, why did skinny jeans go out of style? Those look awesome.

I first saw Caligari as a pretentious teenager and pretended to like it. I tried to watch it again a couple of years ago, as a pretentious adult, but couldn't get more than ten minutes in. Most recently, I watched it while half asleep on a very long train ride. That's how to do it. The film has a deliberately dreamlike quality to it, and watching it while wide awake takes something away from it. If you're half asleep and slightly depressed, this is the film for you. ...continue reading "Frankenstein and Caligari"

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"A flash of lightning illuminated the object, and discovered its shape plainly to me; its gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect more hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed me that it was the wretch, the filthy daemon, to whom I had given life." -- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

"Your father was Frankenstein, but your mother was the lightning!" – Ygor, Ghost of Frankenstein.

Ghost of Frankenstein is where the Universal Frankenstein series really starts to run out of ideas. It's basically a 'greatest hits' compilation rather than a movie in its own right.  It starts right out with the angry peasants and goes straight into the destruction of the castle, and then just meanders its way through Frankensteinian tropes.

Thunderbolts and lightning, not especially frightening to me!
Thunderbolts and lightning, not especially frightening to me!

It does bring two innovations to the Frankenstein story. First, it brings up the idea that the Monster is indestructible. Second, it introduces the trope of the Monster being frozen in something and needing to be revived (this time it's sulphur, but later it becomes quicksand or ice). ...continue reading "Ghost of Frankenstein – 1942"

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"His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful." -- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

"You loved your Creature so long as it was pretty, but when it lost its looks, huh? That was another matter." – Dr Polidori, Frankenstein: the True Story

Boy's night in
Boy's night in.

After the events of Part One, the Creature (Michael Sarrazin) has survived his plunge into the English Channel. Dragging himself ashore, he hides out in the home of a blind man (Ralph Richardson). He befriends to the man, and falls in love with his daughter (Jane Seymour). Alas, he scares her out of the house and she is fatally run over by a coach. ...continue reading "Frankenstein: the True Story Part Two – 1973"

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"My journey had been my own suggestion, and Elizabeth therefore acquiesced, but she was filled with disquiet at the idea of my suffering, away from her, the inroads of misery and grief. It had been her care which provided me a companion in Clerval—and yet a man is blind to a thousand minute circumstances which call forth a woman's sedulous attention." – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.

"Victor, you and I are almost strangers. But I can read your heart. I know we can work together! As you so, I'm subject to these wretched weaknesses. I'm helpless without your strength." -- Henry Clerval, Frankenstein: the True Story.

David MacCallum has a hacksaw.
David MacCallum has a hacksaw.

Way back in the early 1980s, my grandmother was looking after me one evening. I can't quite remember why – I think my Mum might have been unwell, but I'm not sure. But my Nan, who could be gloriously irresponsible when she wanted to, let me stay up to watch what she was watching: Frankenstein: The True Story. It wasn't really suitable for a small child, but I thank her anyway. ...continue reading "Frankenstein: the True Story 1973"

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"It is my wish to disprove the old theories concerning the evolution of life and the origin of the life force and to restate, simply, in terms of biophysical chemistry, as chemical action and reaction controlled by the external impulses." - Baron Frankenstein, Evil of Frankenstein

Evil of Frankenstein is an interesting fish. It's not the best of the Hammer Frankensteins. It has some weird pacing issues making for a slow start and a somewhat rushed conclusion, and also the goofiest looking Monster of the Hammer era. It's interesting in a lot of ways, though, most noticeably one of the most sympathetic portrayals of Frankenstein that I've come across.

Which is odd, given that the film contains this scene.
Which is odd, given that the film contains this scene.

...continue reading "The Evil of Frankenstein – 1964"

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2

"I read with ardour those works, so full of genius and discrimination, which modern inquirers have written on these subjects. I attended the lectures and cultivated the acquaintance of the men of science of the university..." -- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.

"Arms… two. Legs… two. Feet… none. Ah, now where did I put them?" -- Dr Frankenstein, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein

Alvin and the Chipmunks meet Frankenstein. Frankenstein, meet...
Alvin and the Chipmunks meet Frankenstein. Frankenstein, meet...

Full disclosure: this is the first Alvin and the Chipmunks vehicle I have ever watched all the way through. I'm sort of the wrong age for them. They were popular before my childhood, and were revived at a time in my teenage years when I was deeply uninterested in kid's cartoons. I wasn't impressed by their antics in this movie, but I have no idea whether that's because the Chipmunks are generally not great, or just because this was a lifeless outing. ...continue reading "Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein – 1999"

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"I need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties are rent by that most irreparable evil, the void that presents itself to the soul, and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance." -- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.

"Frankenstein! Frankenstein the legend! Frankenstein the indestructible! Sole survivor of the titanic pile-up of '95. Only two time winner of the Trans Continental Road Race. Frankenstein! Ripped up, wiped out, battered, shattered, creamed and reamed! A dancer on the brink of death!" -- Junior Bruce, Death Race 2000.

David Carridine in a gimp suit at the controls of a car shaped like an alligator. This movie can't be all bad.
David Carradine in a gimp suit at the controls of a car shaped like an alligator. This movie can't be all bad.

I was going to write about Victor Frankenstein this week, before I remembered that, duh, the DVD isn't out yet so I can't get any screenshots. Since the best part of Victor Frankenstein is the visuals, I think I'll leave that one for now. Never mind, though, I have something almost as silly: Death Race 2000! What's that, you ask? Well, if you imagine something like a cross between The Hunger Games and The Wacky Races then, that's basically Death Race 2000, except that…

No, on second thoughts, I take that back. There is no 'except that'. Death Race 2000 is exactly like a Hunger Games/Wacky Races mash up, no exceptions. It's also produced by Roger Corman, which means it could go either way, quality wise. Which way does it go? Let's find out. ...continue reading "Death Race 2000 – 1975"

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The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine. Curiosity, earnest research to learn the hidden laws of nature, gladness akin to rapture, as they were unfolded to me, are among the earliest sensations I can remember. – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.

The human species is very weak, compared with the superior vertebrates. That's why I tried with a gorilla. Now see you the pathetic results! – Freda Frankenstein, El Santo vs Frankenstein's Daughter.

I don't even know where to begin.
I don't even know where to begin.

This one is a weird one, even by Frankenstein movie standards. ...continue reading "Santo vs Frankenstein’s Daughter – 1972"

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You were hereafter to be hailed as the benefactors of your species, your names adored as belonging to brave men who encountered death for honour and the benefit of mankind. – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

He'll find no friends here. Nothing but locked doors and darkened windows. Locked hearts and bitter hatred. Let that too be part of the Frankenstein heritage – Village Councillor, Son of Frankenstein.

Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff, Son of Frankenstein
This could go badly.

I hadn't really wanted to do this one just yet. But my scheme of skipping around through has meant that I haven't gone into a lot of detail on two important issues of the Frankenstein mythology: the Frankenstein family and Ygor. Both of these elements are introduced in Son of Frankenstein, so I'd probably better get on with it. ...continue reading "Son of Frankenstein – 1939"

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Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs. - Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Don't fuck with the forces of Nature. You've got to respect her, because Nature doesn't forgive. – Carl, The Frankenstein Theory

Theory1
Obsession. That always ends well.

I'm saying that Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, is a work of non-fiction. I'm saying it's a work of non-fiction disguised as fiction, or more accurately it's a fictionalisation of one of the most incredible true events in human history. - Jonathan Venkenheim, The Frankenstein Theory. ...continue reading "The Frankenstein Theory – 2013"

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