Frankenstein

Frankenstein

Robert Horton
Series: Cultographies
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 128
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/hort16743
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  • Book Info
    Frankenstein
    Book Description:

    James Whale'sFrankenstein(1931) spawned a phenomenon that has been rooted in world culture for decades. This cinematic Prometheus has generated countless sequels, remakes, rip-offs, and parodies in every media, and this granddaddy of cult movies constantly renews its followers in each generation. Along with an in-depth critical reading of the original 1931 film, this book tracks Frankenstein the monster's heavy cultural tread from Mary Shelley's source novel to today's Internet chat rooms.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-85056-8
    Subjects: Film Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Robert Horton
  4. 1 WELCOME TO NIGHTMARE THEATRE: MEETING FRANKENSTEIN
    (pp. 1-12)

    If a cult is anything, it has rituals and ceremonies and a schedule of worship. And here is ours: Friday nights, gathered in somebody’s basement, sleeping bags staked out on the floor. There are chocolate-bar wrappers scattered around and a half-eaten bag of Fritos waiting to be finished off. This is 1970, or possibly 1971 or 1969, and as twelve-year-olds our beverage of choice is something innocuous, Kool-Aid or Coke. It’s almost 11:30, so the parents have already looked down a final time and said their goodnights, and the lights are appropriately low. If anybody managed to smuggle in an...

  5. 2 ASSEMBLING A MONSTER
    (pp. 13-26)

    Jack Pierce had created unnerving make-up at Universal Pictures before, notably a tooth-baring, permanently grinning face for Conrad Veidt inThe Man Who Laughs(1928). But this was on another level. Pierce worked for three weeks to develop the different pieces of face and body for this new project, about a manmade creature, with the patient collaboration of the actor – a little-known minor player in his early forties. Pierce applied cotton and collodion to build up the actor’s brow, created an alarming flat skull-ridge to suggest drastic cranial surgery, and glued two electrodes at the sides of the neck, an...

  6. 3 THE MONSTER MASH: SONS OF THE HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN
    (pp. 27-43)

    The triumph over death, the reversal of mortality – this idea is at the heart of Mary Shelley’s (and James Whale’s, and everybody else’s)Frankenstein. If Victor Frankenstein could restore life, why couldn’t the movies?

    The Monster dies at the end of the 1931Frankenstein. We see him fall in the burning windmill, we see the celebration of the survivors at the end. His re-appearance inBride of Frankenstein, released in 1935, can be chalked up to the cynical needs of Universal Pictures, which knew a cash cow when it saw one. Right?

    On one level, of course the greedy boardroom...

  7. 4 BEYOND THE CLOUDS AND STARS: SURVEYING FRANKENSTEIN
    (pp. 44-83)

    In some ways it is the most startling moment ofFrankenstein, a film that contains a series of shocks for viewers. The climax of the picture has arrived, and Henry Frankenstein’s monster has dragged his creator to a windmill, chased there by cinema’s greatest Mob of Angry Villagers. Inside the mill, the Monster pulls the unconscious scientist to the top level, where a great wheel is grinding on its side, turned by the windmill’s tattered struts. Henry Frankenstein awakens, and he tussles with the Monster; in one suspended moment they face each other, through the gears of the turning wheel....

  8. 5 THE MONSTER’S PLACE
    (pp. 84-96)

    Set just after the Spanish Civil War, Victor Erice’sThe Spirit of the Beehive(1973) is one of the essential films about childhood. The film’s small town is visited by a travelling pictureshow man, who sets up his projector in a school house and presents the originalFrankensteinto the enthralled locals.Spirit’scentral character, seven-year-old Ana (played by the uncanny Ana Torrent), is deeply affected by the movie, which haunts her through the rest of the film – there is even a sequence that echoes the Monster-with-the-little-girl scene fromFrankenstein, as Ana’s imagination conjures this scary/comforting figure.

    Erice’s film was...

  9. APPENDIX: THE FRANKENSTEIN FAMILY TREE
    (pp. 97-112)
  10. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 113-116)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 117-120)