the bride of frankenstein (1935)
Whale’s The Bride of Frankenstein is not only the perfect sequel, it’s cinema’s great monster movie, summarizing all that the genre has to say about outcasts, acceptance and the mob of society. Here, Whale crafts a world far more skewed and unreal than the first picture, where the only characters of depth are portrayed as living on society’s fringes, while the in-crowd herd either runs screaming, blasts at the monster with rifles, or are tossed around like rag dolls meeting their fate. It is the monster who holds the most screentime and holds the complexity of the film within him. The monster, here, portrays all dimensions of character; that of sympathetic hero, that of terrorizing villain, and above all, as a force unto himself. Not a force of nature, the monster here is a manmade element, an invention of science, or as Henry puts it when referring to Pretorius’ creations, perhaps black magic. In Whale’s Frankenstein pictures it is man’s folly to meddle with nature. As mortals, we must not pursue the power of the Gods, lest we make monsters of ourselves.
Whale litters the film with film with camp grounded by deeply felt scenes of connection for the monster. Moments of macabre perfection crop up as well; Pretorius’ picnic lunch in the catacombs with the dead girl’s skull,