54. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

“To a new world of gods and monsters!”

The second film in my double-feature is the sequel to the classic horror movie, Frankenstein. It begins with a dark, rainy night at an old castle, where Mary Shelley is being asked to compose a second novel about the Monster. The story then takes us back to the finale of the first film, as the villagers watch the burning windmill. They presume the Monster is dead, but, of course, he has managed to survive.

Then the overacting begins. Lots of face-pulling and screaming from one particular woman. I am hopeful she didn’t have a career after this film, but fear she may well have been classed as a ‘character actress’. In the meantime, Henry Frankenstein has been rescued, and has forgotten he wanted to kill the Monster and goes all crazy-eyed at the prospect of continuing his work. At this point, his fiancée, Elizabeth, should have bailed out, but she’s moderately hysterical herself, so she probably hasn’t noticed.

A mysterious caller approaches the Frankenstein residence. He is disgraced Professor Pretorius, from the university, who was booted out for unethical practices. He persuades Henry to join forces in working on creating a female mate for the Monster. The Monster, meanwhile, has been captured by the pitchfork toting mob and chained up in the dungeon at the police station. He manages to escape and is befriended by a blind hermit who teaches him to speak, until two locals discover him and he goes back on the run. Hiding down in a tomb, he sees the campy, but clearly insane Pretorius arranging a grave-robbing, and after approaching him, learns of the plans for a mate. At this point there is more over-acting, now from the Monster. I am beginning to regret that he’s learned to speak.

The Monster and Pretorius kidnap Elizabeth to ensure Frankenstein’s compliance, as Pretorius requires his expertise. They succeed in giving life to the mate, Elsa Lanchester, with her now iconic image of marcel-waved hair with its white stripes. But what does she think of the Monster?…

It’s a shame that Lanchester is in the film for such a short period of time, just seven minutes, as her scenes are some of the few that have the feel and depth of the first film. The rest of the movie is poorly scripted, badly acted and severely lacking in any of the subtlety of its predecessor.

5/10

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