Blind Spot 10: Bride of Frankenstein (1935), dir. James Whale

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

this post is part of the blind spot series, a feature first seen on The Matinee

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

directed by James Whale
starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson and Elsa Lanchester

Being October, the pick for the Blind Spot Series could only be a horror movie. Having seen Frankenstein (1931) and hearing that Bride of Frankenstein (1935) was even better, the choice was easy enough. After the events of the first movie, the sequel begins with actress Elsa Lanchester as author Mary Shelley, revealing that the monster and the doctor are still alive.

The monster (Boris Karloff) is roaming around, trying to adjust to human life, while Doctor Frankenstein (Colin Clive) tries to create a new monster – this time, a female one. He does so with the help of Doctor Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), who has successfully created miniature human beings (it’s as weird as it sounds).

It’s a perfect night for mystery and horror. The air itself is filled with monsters.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The lead up to the creation of the bride takes up most of the film. In fact, we only see the bride in the final five minutes. With her being the most iconic part of the film, and the main reason I was excited to see it, Bride of Frankenstein (1935) ended up being, frankly, a disappointment. I found the monster’s dwellings pretty boring apart from a couple of funny moments, and while Pretorius’s creations were delightfully creepy and goofy, they certainly weren’t enough to make it an exciting watch.

I understand the moral tale behind it, on the creation of not just functioning bodies but ones with brains and heart, and the sequel does get clever with its twists and some character building (specifically on Henry’s part)… and yet. I can’t say I was a huge fan of Frankenstein so maybe this franchise is not for me, or maybe it was my own expectations surrounding the bride character that ruined it (honestly, that is one misleading title). But the truth is that personally, I found very little to hold on to and remember while watching Bride of Frankenstein.

We belong dead.
The monster, in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Visually I never found Frankenstein (1931) as mesmerising as something like Dracula (1931), and Bride of Frankenstein maintains a mostly unimpressive aesthetic, with the exception of two moments: Doctor Pretorious’s laboratory, and the creation of the Bride.

It’s for that final scene, the last 5 minutes of the film, that I can say Bride of Frankenstein is worth watching. For that fleeting moment where we see the bride, even if she has no lines (how I wish I was exaggerating…!) In nothing else, props to Lanchester and the character design department for creating a bride we’ll never forget. The rest of it, we can live without.

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Rating: 2.5 Stars
Directed by James Whale
Writen by William Hurlbut
Starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Elsa Lanchester
Running Time: 1h15min Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi

Synopsis Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

IMDb | Movie Trailer
Watch with Amazon Prime Video | Buy on Amazon

Gorgeous poster created by Jonathan Burton

Previous Blind Spot Entries:
A Place in The Sun (1951) | January
Love With The Proper Stranger (1963) | February
Letter From An Unknown Woman (1948) | March
La Notte (1961) | April
Metropolis (1927) | May
Paths of Glory (1957) | June
Le Mépris (1963) | July
Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (1966) | August
The Seventh Seal | September

Have you seen Bride of Frankenstein (1935)?
How was your own Blind Spot in October? Don’t forget to leave your links below!

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4 Comments

  1. November 29, 2018 / 12:21 PM

    To be honest, I’m not at all surprised that you didn’t like this one. The first time I saw it, I was like “when the hell is this movie going to START?!” I don’t understand why this film gets so much hype and why it’s considered a better film than Frankenstein. I certainly don’t think it is.

    • November 29, 2018 / 2:44 PM

      Exactly! I kept looking at the remaining time and I remember at one point thinking “okay there’s 30min to go, if the bride comes in right now we can still save this”. But nope. Just more of the monster wandering about… so disappointing.

  2. November 29, 2018 / 1:17 PM

    This is one of those films that I haven’t seen either but at times I feel like I have just because the images are so popular. I’m not sure I’ll ever rush out to see it though.

    • November 29, 2018 / 2:46 PM

      I know, right. I always thought the Bride was so iconic, and looked so cool. Then 90% of the film she’s not even in it! I wouldn’t rush either knowing what I know now 🤷🏻‍♀️

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