Friday Night Frights (One Minion and the return of Frankenstein)

The intrepid explorers stood there, unsure what to do next.

“Durrrrrr!” the thing mumbled.

Floyd’s tail twitched nervously. “Did you hear that?”

“Of course I did!” Lloyd blinked his eyes, hardly able to believe what he was seeing. “How can a bodiless head do that?”

The little Frog Scouts bounced on Floyd’s back and Lloyd marveled over how keen and excited they seemed. This was surely worth the long trek to the top of the futon, a hike none of them were keen or excited to start.

“I wonder what it’s doing up here,” said Floyd.

Lloyd remained silent, watching the thing. The thing’s eyes stared into the distance. What was it thinking? Was it capable of thinking of anything?*

Week two of my classic spooky films features a Frankenstein double-header. Several films featuring Boris Karloff as the Monster are included on the Legacy Collection discs, but I’ll just focus on the original 1931 picture, and tomorrow night, the Bride sequel from 1935. I’m sure the rest of this is worth watching, though. Or if not worth watching, at least entertaining somewhat.

I like the fact that the film starts with a disclaimer and a warning that the movie features a story involving creation without God. A sinister film, indeed. I also love the opening credits with the spinning kaleidoscope eyes. I have no idea what that’s supposed to be about. Also, Boris Karloff isn’t billed as the Monster at the start; there’s only a question mark. No doubt that was to drum up curiosity over who’d feel he needed to hide under all that crazy make up.

The movie starts at a graveyard where a couple men are stealing a corpse. It was once a profitable (completely illegal) venture for anyone studying anatomy, so it made some sense for Mary Shelley to use that as the way the men would get the most important pieces for their work. It was a job for men without scruples, something Frankenstein (Colin Clive) lacks as well. His girlfriend (Mae Clarke) discovers he’s been sacked from his anatomy classes with Dr. Waldman (Edward Van Sloan) for being more than a little weird with the body stuff.

I don’t get the decision to change Frankenstein’s first name from Victor to Henry, and then have a character named Victor anyway. Talk about confusing. I can’t recall if the book featured getting a criminal’s brain instead of a nice, normal one, either. It’s been a while since I read it.

Elizabeth, Victor, and Dr. Waldman are on hand at Frankenstein’s lab when the big awakening happens. Frankenstein is a logical dreamer in terms of what he’s interested in discovering, and doesn’t mind if people think he’s crazy for wanting to find the secrets of eternity or whatever. Of course, real scientists need to be concerned about ethics boards and the like.

Frankenstein’s girlfriend and father rescue him from himself at some point, leaving Waldman in care of the Monster, and that turns out to be a bad idea, as the Monster has a great sense of self-preservation and has no desire to be experimented on or burned.

It also has an innate curiosity and does some horrible stuff — but is that the fault of its criminal brain, or does it stem from a desire to understand the world through unethical experimentation, just like dear old Dad?

Stories of the Monster’s murderous rampage reach Frankenstein and his wedding party and soon the Monster does, too. The mob is not far behind but Frankenstein vows to figure out a way to kill the thing himself before it can ruin his wedding day.

They sure managed to pack quite a lot of adventure and action into a film that barely passes the hour mark. Filmmakers today could learn a lot from that. I suspect a lot of films could be improved that way.

*”I appear to be missing something.”

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Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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1 Response to Friday Night Frights (One Minion and the return of Frankenstein)

  1. 1minionsopinion says:

    Reblogged this on One Minion's Opinion and commented:

    Lacking time: here’s another fun one from ages ago. The movies I sat through to provide readers with entertainment…

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