Scary Movies: Frankenstein

“It’s alive! It’s alive!”

One of our movies during our annual horror movie festival last year, and a true classic. After Universal’s huge success with Dracula earlier in 1931, the film company searched for an immediate follow up, and settled on Mary’s Shelley’s 1818 morality tale of a scientist who plays God and creates an artificial human, who turns out to be monstrous.

I don’t need to recount the plot, do I? I will just say that upon rewatching, I was greatly impressed with how much pathos Boris Karloff pulled out of a role with no speaking parts, limited facial expression, and clumsy movements.

Story/Plot/Characters–As so often in these older movies, some drawing room-type scenes play a little slowly. But well-acted, tight script, untouchable plot. (3.5 points)
Special Effects–The effects were so well done that even still the popular imagination of a mad scientist’s laboratory brings this movie to mind, and despite a number of subsequent Frankenstein productions people still think of Karloff when they think of the Monster. (2 points)
Scariness–Grading a little bit on a curve here, but for its era, some scary parts. (1 point)
Atmosphere/Freakiness–The castle, the laboratory, the mob with pitchforks, the foggy woods: dripping with atmosphere. (1.5 points)
Total=8 points

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