THE LATE LATE REVIEW: FRANKENSTEIN

He’s created a monster with the Halloween Special Late Late Reviews, And this week Tom’s staying in the 1930s for Frankenstein…

Release Date: November 1931

Awards: Ok, so at this point, the spooky classics aren’t doing too well on the awards front, but isn’t that the beauty of a cult classic?

Rating: Guys, this is exciting. Audience score of 87% and an unbelievable 100% on the Tomatometer. The first 100% I’ve seen!

Another “based on the play which was based on the book” film, this one is the age old tale of the medical student who creates a patchwork quilt body out of a bunch of corpses and then throws it into a thunderstorm to bring it back to life. Cue mayhem when the “monster” gets out and causes some trouble.

Anyway, you knew that.

The film opens with Edward Van Sloan (later Dr Frankenstein’s mentor) who gives a word of warning before the opening credits. He warns that it will thrill, shock and maybe even horrify the viewer. He even essentially invites the viewer to leave the cinema if they “do not care to subject (their) nerves to such a strain”

It will come as no surprise that, coming out a mere 9 months after Dracula, it’s fairly similar from a cinematic perspective and a lot of the acting is still quite theatrical. The effects are way better though, but that might be to do with the lack of bats…

The set up in Dr Frankenstein’s lab is pretty spectacular, and shows the level of attention to detail in set building at the time. What might be done now with green screen and special effects was done purely physically with quite an impressive result.

This detail continues through the film. Fun fact: the monster’s pallid look was achieved for the black and white film by painting the actor Boris Karloff’s face a green colour. The poster artist apparently saw this and ran with it, which is why more often than not Frankenstein’s Monster is shown as being green these days.

This is another one of those films that created the tropes we see today. Something about it, although what that is I can’t quite tell, means that it comes across much less hammy than Dracula did. It might be the acting which, from the monster at least, seems much more thought out and much subtler than most of the send ups of the character. While Dracula has the accent and the dramatic movements which are expected; Frankenstein’s monster isn’t as clunky as you might expect, and is all the better for it.

While visually it might not be a world apart from Dracula, this film was a much more enjoyable one to watch. Despite being banned in a number of places for being too scary, I was perfectly able to watch it and I hate horror movies (this month is going to be great).

All in all, I reckon this is one of those film which everyone should see – and the DVD was dead cheap so there’s no excuse!

Is there an iconic film or album you think I should have experienced by now? Let me know @MoveToTRASHUK #latelatereview

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