Today I am writing about one of, if not the most instantly recognizable and famous fictional characters of the 20th Century, if not all time. I am referring, of course, to Justin Bieber. Just kidding! Sorry, Justin. I am talking about the one, the only…Frankenstein’s Monster, as made famous by Boris Karloff. I will be talking more about the 1931 movie than anything, since I grew up watching the UNIVERSAL horror movies. Now a common misconception about Frankenstein is that Frankenstein is the name of the Monster. It’s not. Frankenstein is the name of the Doctor who created the Monster. As this is the case, I will not be referring to the Monster as “Frankenstein” at all throughout this prompt.
Now right off the bat, I have to say there are two sides to every theory. Side one is that the Monster is just that…a monster. I know people that get the Hell scared out of them just by the mentioning of the name “Frankenstein”. I can understand this. A corpse coming back to life and terrorizing people? Scary as Holy Hell. Other people, however, including myself, see things differently. They see the Monster as a misunderstood entity. Today I am going to delve deeper into both sides of this.
First, the “Evil Monster” theory, seeing as that is what is commonly thought. When the Monster is first shown in the 1931 movie, again starring Boris Karloff, he is seen as a human being hanging from a pole. While being buried in a shallow, unmarked grave, one of the gravediggers makes a comment like “Well that’s good enough for the likes of him.” This implies that the Monster was a criminal before he died. Doctor Henry* Frankenstein (the * means that the Doctor’s name is Victor in the novel) and his hunchbacked assistant Fritz dig up the corpse to try to revive him using lightning powered lab equipment. So Henry sends Fritz to get the brain of a genius. Fritz gets scared, drops the brain, and ruins it. He grabs a brain labeled “ABNORMAL”. After the Monster has this brain put in, “bad” things happen. Instances include the Monster killing Fritz by strangling him with chains in the dungeon where he is kept. The Monster also runs loose in a village, kills Henry by throwing him off the windmill where the lab is, and of course, the most famous scene in the movie are of the Monster and a little girl are playing together. The Monster picks up the girl, throws her into a lake, and she drowns. At the end of the movie, the villagers burn down the lab the Monster was created in with him inside. So if you think of the Monster as, well, a “Monster” the film has a happy(ish) ending.
So that’s the one side of the coin. However, as I stated earlier, I see things differently. I think the Monster hardly deserves to be called a “Monster”. If anything, I think Henry was the monster in the movie. When you think about it, the “Creature” as I refer to him as, is just misunderstood. The Creature had a brain he could not control, comes back into a world unwillingly that he does not understand, and just wants to be accepted. I view the Creature as a 7-foot little kid. He is trying to understand what is going on around him and does not know right from wrong. The scene with the little girl, though tragic, to me, is an example of this. The Creature just wants a friend, and finds it in a little girl. The girl offers the Creature a flower and he looks genuinely happy. When he thinks the girl floats like the flowers did and throws her in, he panics when she sinks and drowns. As for the Creature killing Fritz and Henry…they kind of deserved it. They tormented the Creature with flames, hypodermic needles, chains, and whips. So the Creature, at least to me, was just trying to get himself out of a dangerous situation.
Another thing that proves my theory about the Creature being an innocent mind is kids latched onto the Creature and saw him as one of them. This continues even today. Even when I was a little kid, the Creature was always my favorite UNIVERSAL “monster”. The Frankenstein Creature is probably the most recognizable figure of all time. He is a media superstar. Even today, people either fear the guy or love him…or both simultaneously. How many people or figures can say that? The Creature even had his own postage stamp for a little while. Boris Karloff made a dead person coming to life a crowd pleaser. And sure, nowadays, the UNIVERSAL horror movies seem kind of corny…movies like King Kong, Dracula, the WolfMan, Invisible Man, and yes, Frankenstein are very tame by today’s horror movie standards. But they are classics and unforgettable. And they did that without blood, guts and gore. I mean, Karloff didn’t even talk in the original movie, and look how unforgettable his performance was, and still is. When people think of Frankenstein, they don’t think of the modern remakes that have come out; they don’t think of a postage stamp…they think of Boris Karloff in the 1931 film. And to me, that’s a hero, someone—or in this case, something—you can relate to and look up to. That’s all from me. Let me know what you think of this monstrous debate and good night.