When it comes to classic monster movie sequels, “The Bride of Frankenstein” is arguably one of the most popular. James Whale’s sequel to his ever-famous Frankenstein (1931) is hailed as one of the greats – an instant classic.
Surprisingly, James Whale did not want to direct a sequel to Frankenstein, believing the franchise would be better off ending on a high – the massive success of the Frankenstein film. Because of Universal’s persistence, however, he jumped on-board for a sequel with a request for more creative control than he had in the first film.
In the Bride’s film, released in 1935, we learn that both the doctor, Henry Frankenstein, and his monster have survived the villager attacks from the first film. When Frankenstein’s monster is found to still be alive by the townspeople, he is captured and escapes again, eventually making his way back to Dr. Frankenstein, who has been working with Dr. Pretorius. Pretorius has also been working on creating life, a friend for Frankenstein’s monster. Ultimately, the Bride rejects the monster, which leads to the monster literally blowing up the entire tower the lab is housed in.
So let’s break that down a bit:
Dr. Frankenstein makes monster, monster wreaks havoc, monster is sad and lonely, Doctors make him a friend, friend doesn’t like him, monster blows everyone up.
Did I miss anything?
Honestly, I was highly disappointed by this film. I went into it hoping for a female-centric horror film where the female wasn’t just being murdered or chased by a creepy monster. What I was given, however, was a film where the titular character appeared for only the last 12 minutes or so.
As a Frankenstein sequel, the movie is phenomenal. The character growth, ridiculously high body count for a film of its time, and contrasting religious and sexual themes, the writing and imagery are exquisite. However, as a Bride of Frankenstein film, it leaves much to be desired.
Filmnetic Grade: A (as “Frankenstein” sequel) | D- (as “Bride of Frankenstein”)