Friday, June 8, 2007

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Directed by James Whale. Starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Ernest Thesiger, and Elsa Lanchester.

After the box-office success of the first FRANKENSTEIN picture, Whale followed it up with an even greater film, and though the original resides comfortably in the realm of the horror genre, BRIDE is a more singular achievement. To begin with, this film takes the perversities that served as the subtexts in FRANKENSTEIN and brings them right to the surface in the newly-introduced character of Dr. Praetorious, who takes an unnatural sort of glee in manipulating life, as in the still-bizarre "homunculus" scene. Whale takes the Frankenstein myth as a jumping off point and adds his bizarre sense of humor, resulting in many great scenes, such as the Creature and Praetorious' underground dinner and the famous blind-man scene (parodied so brilliantly in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN). All this leads up to Frankenstein and Praetorious' creation of the title Bride and her chilling scream when she sees her betrothed. More than half a century before the influx of self-aware horror flicks, this one set the standard.

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