“It’s Alive!” – The Different Forms of Frankenstein

To me, there is nothing like Fall. The temperature is near perfect, prime sweatshirt weather, the changing leaves, apple cider, etc. I could go on, but I want to focus on what makes Fall special: Halloween. Some people like to binge Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, or even the Saw franchise. Me personally, I watch the old black and white horror movies. One that is on my favorites list is 1931’s Frankenstein. Frankenstein (the book) has been around for 202 years. For two centuries people have known the story of Victor Frankenstein and what happens when he decided to play God. However, what is interesting, and at times odd, is the forms it has had in all sorts of media

Let’s go to the year 1818. In this year Mary Shelly published the book Frankenstein. Some critics loved the book, and others hated it, calling the author (who they assumed was male) a “mad man” and “not as mad as the main character”. Jump ahead a couple years, 1823 to be exact, and there is already a musical about it. Seriously! A man by the name of H.M. Milner beat the 2009 musical by 186 years! Called The Demon of Switzerland, the musical portrays Victor not as a university student, but as a doctor who is already quite accomplished and wants to make further medical discoveries.

As times changed and evolved, so did the Monster. On March 18th, 1910 the very first Frankenstein movie was shown called Frankenstein. It was a silent film and was only fifteen minutes long. The next big movie of Frankenstein would be in 1931 with Universal’s Frankenstein with Boris Karloff as the Monster. What this movie did was something we always associate with Frankenstein nowadays. The famous bolt of lightning that brought the Monster to life? That started here, since the book never says HOW Victor brought the Monster to life. Igor also started in this film. In the book, Victor was a recluse while making the Monster. After this movie, it got a sequel called The Bride of Frankenstein. Eventually, some of the Frankenstein movies got absurd. There is a 1966 movie called Jesse James meets Frankenstein’s Daughter. I am not even joking. It is pitched as: “Roaring Guns Against a Roaring Monster”.

Now, the big screen isn’t the only place Frankenstein thrived. Frankenstein’s Monster, or Frankenstein like Monsters have been in shows like: The Addams Family, The Munsters, X-Files, Once Upon a Time. Even comedians Bud Abbot and Lou Costello, they did the Who’s on First skit, had a run in with the Monster. Frankenstein and his Monster was still apparent in theaters with films like Young Frankenstein and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

There are some depictions of Frankenstein and his Monster that have been…unique to say the least. There have been several X Rated Frankenstein movies. I will not go into more detail, (this is ALL ages of geeks after all) however, if it could not get weirder, it does. A director for one of these movies was Andy Worhal. Yes, the painter Andy Worhal made an X rated Frankenstein movie.

A more innocent version of Frankenstein also exists. Hana-Barbara made a Frankenstein cartoon called Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles. In this version Frankenstein (the Monster) was a robot that would fight supervillains. There is also the times it has appeared in Scooby-Doo several times, since it (Frankenstein) is public domain. There is also the Frankenberry cereal that comes out around October every year. Then there’s the Monster High dolls which has a Frankenstein teen girl, named Frankie Stein, as one of the characters. Then there’s the live action and stop motion versions of Frankenweenie, where a boy reanimates his dog. Frankenstein has also become a pop culture icon with action figures, models, video games, comics, stamps, been on the cover of the 89th issue of MAD, and has even been available in Lego form.

In closing, I think there is a reason people have been fascinated with Frankenstein for so long. We like the idea of reanimating the dead and the story, for some reason, has stuck with people for so long. Who knew we’d get all of this from a story made in 1818?

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