The adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Bride of Frankenstein came to me as a shock. It was not so much the effects, the black-and-white, or the acting that was out of the ordinary, but it was the characterization.
We are plagued with movies that are anthropomorphic in nature, but the Bride of Frankenstein posits a very unique case. We all know of the Monster’s history, from Dr. Frankenstein’s creation of him to his capture and eventual escape. It is this perception of the character as an untamed, un-human monster that permeates popular opinion. However, the movie gave us another side of him – the one that is only looking for a companion. Is that not a human need?
When the blind man took him in, I was afraid for the man but the Monster, if he is still to be called so, exceeded my expectations. He did not only welcome the man’s companionship; he tried to please the man in the simplest of things. Is it not a human act to feel empathy? To me, this genuine othering, leading up to his longing for a friend when Dr. Pretorious offered him, is enough sign of his humanity. Especially when rejection came, his reaction was that of a human in actual despair and loneliness.
This says so much about society’s conception of right and wrong, of normal and abnormal. Should anyone (or anything) fail to meet its standards, it is immediately ostracized, without aiming to understand or dig beyond the surface of apparent monsterhood. The movie made the monster dumb because ostracizing the Monster would require a lack of communication between him and the humans. It worked, because the more human side of the Monster came out only when he was already communicated to by someone patient enough to see him more than a monster.
As a whole, The Bride of Frankenstein gives us a clear representation of man, both at his most brilliant (as in the scientists’ feats) and at his most desperate (the Monster), and how Monster transforms into man through love.
Christine Joy L. Galunan