Frankenstein (1931)


By far the most popular of all of the Universal Monsters is seen in the film Frankenstein. Everyone knows Frankenstein and just about everyone has seen this film, if not, the image of Boris Karloff in make up as the monster is a familiar image to you, and for good reason. I recall the image of Boris Karloff as the monster scaring the  Hell out of me as a kid.

The film has been acclaimed as being the greatest horror film of all time. It may be a bold statement, but I can understand why so many people would think that. Boris Karloff does a great portraying a fiendish monster and adds a certain amount of eerie emotion to the role. Even the filmography of the movie adds a level of terror and mystery to the film. The introduction of the movie is comprised of a speech of warning to the movie’s viewers; that they may find the film too horrifying. This speech was added much later after the filming, but is one of the most famous and influential speeches in all of horror. Jack Pierce is the famous name attached to creating the look and design for the Universal Monsters, and his work in this film is praised even to this day.

I think what makes the film most incredible is that it is more than a horror film. The motion picture includes a massive array of emotion,  which is not often the case for many horror films.  The film’s emotion brings humanity to the monster, all the while he remains silent and stalking.  It seems rather contradictory, but this goes to speak for how phenomenal of an actor Boris Karloff really was.

Frankenstein’s monster is very tall and sinister in appearance. Even Frankenstein is afraid of his own creation. He speaks of killing it, and at one point goes as far as to chain the monster to a wall and has his assistant beat and torture the fiend. During the torture scene there is the strong feeling of heartbreak that arises within the viewer. Although it is a frightful fiend that is being tortured, viewers still feel sympathy for it because of it’s very human reaction to pain.

Throughout the film, we begin to see more and more humanity from the monster. What started out as a reanimated, creeping corpse is now as human as you and I. The emotion-filled humanity of this monster is revealed and prevalent throughout the entire film, and makes the film truly amazing and a timeless classic.

I'm only humanoid.