200 Years Of Frankenstein

200 years ago this month, a 20 year old Mary Shelley would see the 1st publication of her story about a scientist who had unlocked the door to our universe’ greatest mystery. Life.

Life he would give to his creation, who, misunderstood and full of angst and anger at a life never asked for, would pursue him to the end of his days.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus would become not only one of the single most famous and prolifically copied books of all time, it also is widely considered to be the very first true science fiction novel. Thus becoming the foundation block upon which it could be argued, the entirety of modern geek-dom has been built.

In the 1960’s a lovely version of the Monster would be created for TV’s The Munsters. Herman Munster, played with glorious aplomb by the inimitable Fred Gwynne (RIP) was a dad that, despite his monstrous appearance, we would all grow to love….and sometimes wish was our own father.

Since I am not sure that there is anyone in the modern world who does not recognize Frankenstein’s Monster, I’m not going to go into crazy details because….who has the time to write all that!? Instead, to celebrate our favorite reborn creature’s 200th birthday, here’s Nerd-Base.com’s Top 5 Frankenstein Movies!

  1. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
    I will not take this as opinion, nor will I accept any argument to the contrary, James Whale’s “Bride of Frankenstein” is THE BEST of all the films made on the topic.
    This sequel was planned before the initial movie was even released and although James Whale has balked at the idea of making another film, having “squeezed the idea dry”, Universal knew they had a hit on their hands and changed the ending to let Henry survive. After his success making “The Invisible Man”, the studios wooed Whale with carte blanche for this movie and he certainly delivered. Alas, his ideas and script additions provided to be too progressive or grotesque and the movie was constantly struck with complaints from the predominant censors of the age.
  2. Frankenstein (1931)
    Whereas not the first Frankenstein to be put on film, this is oft-regarded as the one that started it all. It’s a beautifully shot film that’s majestic use of high-contrast filming techniques delivers a creepy feel that has never been recaptured.
  3. Young Frankenstein (1974)
    Mel Brook’s classic comic take on the story is perhaps one of the single most beloved films in his extensive library of work.
  4. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
    Peter Cushing as Victor Frankenstein and Christopher Lee as “the Creature” in a film produced by Hammer? Also perhaps the most horrific portrayal of the story? Do I need to say anything more?
  5. The Monster Squad (1987)
    This was the movie that really gave us the Frankenstein’s Monster that we deserve. He’s not a bad guy. He’s always just been misunderstood and treated as a monster based solely on his appearance, but not to Phoebe the Feeb. She saw the best in him, and he didn’t disappoint….*snif*

Honorable Mentions:

Released on March 18th, 1910 “Frankenstein” by J. Searle Dawley and produced by Thomas Edison (yes, THAT Thomas Edison) in his own film studios located in Bronx, New York, was THE FIRST film version of Frankenstein ever made. It was shot over the course of about 3-4 days and has a running time of about 16 minutes. The film was thought to be lost for decades until the mid-70s when a deteriorated copy of it was discovered in the collection of a long-time film connoisseur. In 2010 a restored edition was released. The film is now available in the public domain. You can watch the whole thing right here at the bottom of this page.

Frank Hennelotter’s FrankenHooker: You just have to see this one. If you’re a fan of Frank’s other films, like Basket Case and Brain Damage, then you know that this, perhaps his most popular film, is a hoot and romp like none you’ve ever seen before or will ever be likely to.

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