Friday, March 12, 2010

The MARCH of Death, Day 12: The Bride of Frankenstein 1931

In 1931 director James Whale brought to life perhaps the most beloved of all the Universal “monsters” in Frankenstein. Boris Karloff’s portrayal of the titular creature was nothing short of breathtaking. What you have is the blending of so many personas that the audience genuinely can’t help but feel empathy and fear at the same time. Almost as painful as the monster’s existence, the viewer is caught in that very same web of suffering in large part because of the way Mr. Whale brings the creature to the heart of the story. It is only fitting then, in the very same year, that the principles returned for The Bride of Frankenstein. Addressing that purist of all human emotions and needs, Whale set out to tell the tale of a doctor attempting to appease and control his creation with love. So through the very same process that birthed the male, Dr. Frankenstein pieces together a bride for his groom. Problem is, as was true in the previous experiment, our Bride hardly realizes what she is. Mortified and paralyzed with fear at the sight of her suitor, she (Elsa Lanchester) unleashes one of the most chilling shrieks ever captured on film. Of course it’s all downhill from there. Is it going to far to say that this entry shines just as brightly as it’s predecessor; not in my humble opinion. The Bride of Frankenstein strikes at our core by showing both the desire to be loved and the pain that comes from rejection. Truly horrific stuff.

The Bride of Frankenstein

Director: James Whale
Starring: Elsa Lanchester and Boris Karloff
9/10 farmhouses ~ Chris Conduit

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