Saturday, October 10, 2009

Month of Horror - Day Ten: Bride of Frankenstein

"He's blind! He isn't human!"

Anyone remember my review of Frankenstein from a while back? In short, I fucking loved it (the movie, not the review). (Edit: the movie and the review). The Universal Monsters have made such an impact on film and pop culture that those who haven't seen the actual films might feel like they have. Wrongwrongwrong. Frankenstein is top-notch and today it was time to learn about the Mrs.

As it would turn out, we wouldn't get much time to get to know the lady as she's hardly in the film. This movie would have been more appropriately titled Weekend at Frankies 2. Like every American child born after Jesus, Mary Poppins was a household staple for myself. Did you know that Katie Nanna, the grumpy woman who couldn't cut it as the Banks' childcare provider, also played the Monster Bride? Elsa Lanchester deserves to be the subject of a worldwide blog-a-thon. Once the bride finally does show up, she's wonderful, proving to the world, once and for all, that "no" means "no" and even more importantly, that frizzy hair shouldn't be hidden under hats or mummification garb. Her three guttural moans and two on-screen minutes were all it took to solidify her as...the only memorable female monster of the Universal era.

If the titular character only shows up at the end, what's the rest of the movie filled with? I'll tell you. Bride of Frankenstein is a humorous send-up of the monster genre, complete with angry villagers, mad scientists, and people mispronouncing the word "lever" (see: leever). After the windmill burns to the ground, the doctor's monster take off runnin' like Roman Polanski (too soon?). In the forest, he meets gypsies who are quickly attacked after they attempt to save their own lives from the 8'4'' creature who just invaded their camp. After they part ways, he meets a blind man.

In the world of Frankenstein, the blind are completely rejected from society, cast into poorly lit cottages in the middle of the woods, and left to die alone. Even the gypsies have each other. The entire blind community consists of one Apostle-looking guy with the eye problem. This one-man show takes in the green beast and decides to teach him how to speak. After just a few lessons, the monster speaks more eloquently than anyone ever featured on this website. In the end, his struggle to learn is thwarted by a man of indiscernible origin and his rifle.

I'm going to leave you, my dear readers, with a single question: who do you think got the kickback for the pro-smoking campaign launched about fourty minutes in?

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