Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
1931’s Frankenstein is certainly a sort of masterpiece. It was groundbreaking in its use of makeup and effects, and it thrilled and terrified audiences in its time. But the sequel Bride of Frankenstein improves on it in every way. Opening with a twist that completely changes the ending of the original film, Bride establishes a new narrative frame immediately. It puts the moral message of the dangers of playing God directly in the mouth of author Mary Shelley herself (Elsa Lanchester plays a dual role as both Shelley and the shocking Bride), and for that message and its graphic imagery of violence, it was subject to significant censorship both before and after production. The look of the Bride, Dr. Frankenstein’s second creation with the help of his mentor, the creepy Dr. Pretorius, is even more iconic than Boris Karloff’s portrayal of the lumbering Monster. And it’s not afraid of its own absurdity; Bride of Frankenstein is much more fun and self-aware than the original film was. It upturned the notion of what a horror movie could be, and still feels vivid and timeless when seen on the big screen today.
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