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  • Writer's pictureAllan Major

Bride of Frankenstein 1935 Reviewed

Updated: Apr 28

Featured Image For Bride of Frankenstein 1935 Reviewed. Vintage movie poster for "The Bride of Frankenstein" featuring the iconic images of Frankenstein's monster in green hues and his bride with a shock of white hair, against a backdrop of lightning bolts.
Amidst the crackling fury of unleashed lightning, the Bride awakens - her gaze as piercing as the electric life within her. In the shadow of her creator, the monster awaits; two beings bound by the spark of forbidden science.

The laboratory crackles with that mad electricity only found in the best horror films. Not the kind that makes your hair stand on end, no, this is the stuff that burrows into your bones and leaves you shivering long after the credits roll. They don't make movies like this anymore – dark tapestries spun from starlight and cobwebs, the air thick with that sweet, musky tang of celluloid and forgotten dreams. I'm talking, of course, about "Bride of Frankenstein," James Whale's 1935 sequel to the original Frankenstein that kicked off a whole dang monster universe.

Bride of Frankenstein Key Takeaways 

The nature of monstrosity:

  • True monstrosity might not lie in appearance, but in actions and cruelty. Dr. Pretorius, with his twisted ambitions, emerges as potentially more monstrous than the tragically misunderstood creature.

  • Even those labeled 'monsters' can possess basic human desires for friendship and belonging.

  • Society's fear and rejection can exacerbate the darkness within someone who is different or ostracized.

Hubris and the defiance of nature:

  • Playing God and interfering with the natural order of life and death has dire consequences.

  • Science, when unchecked by ethics or compassion, can lead to horrifying creations.

  • The line between genius and madness can be dangerously thin.

The power of storytelling:

  • The film's opening prologue emphasizes the enduring power of Mary Shelley's novel and its exploration of creation and responsibility.

  • Cinema, like literature, has the ability to evoke profound emotions and pose complex moral questions.

Symbolism and visual storytelling:

  • The stark, expressionistic sets and visuals create an atmosphere of dread and macabre beauty.

  • The monster's design is iconic, with its scars, bolts, and flat-top head becoming a universal symbol of horror and artificial creation.

  • Moments like the blind hermit's kindness toward the monster emphasize the importance of looking beyond appearances.

Horror laced with humanity:

  • Even within a classic horror film, there's room for emotional nuance and even grim humor.

  • The Monster's longing for connection and ultimate rejection is strangely heartbreaking and transcends simple scares.

  • Supporting characters like Minnie (Una O'Connor) add a touch of absurdity, preventing the film from becoming relentlessly dark.

Image of a woman with eyes wide in terror, mouth open in a scream, watching "The Bride of Frankenstein" on a screen out of view.
In the flickering glow of the silver screen's macabre dance, her scream merges with the silent shriek of the Bride - a symphony of horror that transcends the boundary between reality and the monstrous creation.

Picture this: A ramshackle tower, perched on a craggy cliff like an angry bird, spitting bolts of lightning straight into the heart of a bruised and battered sky. That's the realm of Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive), the tormented scientist who dared to play God and lived to regret it. The first film may have sent his lumbering creation, the Monster (Boris Karloff), up in flames, but as they say, legends never die. And oh, does this legend live. Not just in the shambling steps and the guttural moans, but in the eyes. Whale understood that horror, true horror, isn't about jump scares or splatter. It's about the soul – or the lack thereof.

Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster – a creature of patchwork flesh and bolts, stitched together from the pieces of the dead – doesn't need elaborate dialogue to convey his agony. He is the ghost of humanity discarded, a walking paradox yearning for companionship in a world that recoils in disgust from his very existence. He's terrifying and infinitely sad, and in Whale's capable hands, his plight transcends mere gothic melodrama.

We all know the story, the hubris of Frankenstein, the defiance of nature, but "Bride of Frankenstein" layers in a deliciously twisted new element – Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger). This isn't just a mad scientist, this is an even madder scientist. Pretorius, with his sly smile and his cabinet of tiny, grotesque homunculi, is a master of manipulation. He pulls the strings, pitting the tortured scientist against his own monstrous creation, demanding a mate – a companion for the Monster, an abomination birthed not from necessity, but from sheer, deliciously dark curiosity.

Image of a man with a horrified expression, eyes bulging and mouth agape, as he watches "The Bride of Frankenstein.
Under the haunting shadow of the Bride's gaze, his own scream becomes a silent echo of the terror that unravels in the heart of the beholder.

The Critic Reviews and User Reviews Are Good For This Classic Film

When Elsa Lanchester appears, wrapped in bandages like a macabre Christmas gift, her form trembling into life with a flicker of lightning, the film crackles into the realm of the sublime. In a dual role, Lanchester plays both Mary Shelley, author of the original Frankenstein novel, and the Monster's Bride. Her Bride, with her hiss and shriek and those iconic streaks of white in her hair, is less a character than pure, unadulterated horror iconography. And yet, Whale doesn't let it end there.

In one of the most strangely heartbreaking scenes in horror film history, the Monster, grunting and childlike, extends a scarred hand to his intended. Lanchester's Bride recoils, and we feel her terror mirrored in the Monster's own desolate eyes. This is not a romance, not even a twisted one. This is a grotesque parody of connection, both monstrous and achingly human. The Monster, shunned by the world he never asked to be a part of, learns the bitter truth – even fellow monsters can find you repulsive.

"Bride of Frankenstein" is more than a horror film; it's a gothic symphony, a visual feast of shadows, flickering candles, and the grand, grotesque beauty of a world slightly unhinged. It's laced with dark humor, self-aware and playful. There's the shrill, hysterical Minnie (Una O'Connor), the blind hermit (O.P. Heggie) who offers the monster a warped kind of friendship, and even the brief prologue featuring Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and Percy Shelley, reminding us of the story's literary roots.

Like the Monster himself, this film is an assemblage of disparate parts that shouldn't fit, but somehow, impossibly, they do. It's horrifying and humorous and sad, all at once. Grab your pogs and settle in, because this isn't just one of the greatest horror movies of all time, it's one of the greatest films of that time. 

And that is The Bride Of Frankenstein 1935 Reviewed. Another great classic horror movie.

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If You Liked The Bride Of Frankenstein You Might Also Like These Films. 

  • Frankenstein (1931): The obvious starting point! This is the film that introduced Boris Karloff as the iconic Monster and launched the Universal Monsters franchise. It explores the themes of playing God and the tragic consequences of defying nature.

  • The Invisible Man (1933): Another James Whale classic, this time focusing on a scientist who discovers the secret of invisibility but descends into madness. It features groundbreaking special effects and a darkly comedic edge.

  • Dracula (1931): A true pillar of the classic horror genre, starring Bela Lugosi in his most iconic role. This atmospheric film drips with gothic style and explores themes of ancient evil and seduction.

  • The Old Dark House (1932): Directed by James Whale, this film offers a blend of horror and humor with a quirky cast of characters trapped in a sinister mansion during a storm. It showcases Whale's mastery of atmosphere and offbeat storytelling.

  • Freaks (1932): A controversial but undeniably powerful film that explores themes of exploitation and the beauty within the grotesque. It follows the lives of sideshow performers and challenges society's perceptions of otherness. A chilling and thought-provoking work.

Bride of Frankenstein 1935 Reviewed FAQs

Q: Who directed Bride of Frankenstein?

A: Bride of Frankenstein was directed by James Whale. He was a British director known for his atmospheric horror films, and he also directed the original 1931 "Frankenstein." His unique style and dark sense of humor greatly influenced the horror genre.

Q: When was Bride of Frankenstein released?

A: Bride of Frankenstein was released in 1935, just four years after the original "Frankenstein" hit theaters.

Q: Who were some of the notable actors in Bride of Frankenstein?

A: Some of the notable actors in Bride of Frankenstein include:

  • Boris Karloff: Reprising his iconic role as the Monster, Karloff delivered a hauntingly sympathetic performance.

  • Colin Clive: Returned as the tormented Henry Frankenstein.

  • Ernest Thesiger: Played the eccentric and manipulative Dr. Pretorius.

  • Elsa Lanchester: Had a dual role as both Mary Shelley, author of the original "Frankenstein" novel, and the monstrous Bride.

  • Valerie Hobson: Played Elizabeth, Henry Frankenstein's love interest.

  • Una O'Connor: Provided comic relief as Minnie, the hysterical housekeeper.

Q: Is Pretorius a character in Bride of Frankenstein?

A: Yes, Pretorius is a pivotal character in Bride of Frankenstein. He's a brilliant but twisted scientist who blackmails Henry Frankenstein into helping him create a mate for the Monster. Pretorius is portrayed by the brilliantly theatrical Ernest Thesiger.

Q: What is considered one of the best horror films ever made?

A: Bride of Frankenstein is widely considered one of the best horror films ever made. It's praised for its atmospheric visuals, iconic performances, dark humor, and its surprisingly poignant exploration of themes like loneliness and the nature of monstrosity.

Q: Which studio produced Bride of Frankenstein?

A: Bride of Frankenstein was produced by Universal Studios. Universal was a major force in the classic horror genre of the 1930s and 1940s, creating the iconic Universal Monsters.

Q: Is Bride of Frankenstein a sequel to an earlier film?

A: Yes, Bride of Frankenstein is a direct sequel to the original Frankenstein film from 1931. However, many viewers find that it surpasses the original in terms of artistry and thematic depth.


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