30 Days of Queer Cinema - Day 29 | The Bride of Frankenstein

That James Whale managed to make this idiosyncratic masterpiece at a major studio in 1935 remains an impressive feat. It not only manages to deepen the character of Frankenstein's monster, it creates a greater sense of pathos around his inherent tragedy. 

Karloff's monster is unloved, hated and villainized at every turn. In Frankenstein, he was a violent creature who did not ask to be brought into the world who doesn't understand the damage he causes. In Bride of Frankenstein, he is hated and misunderstood due to his monstrous appearance, his violence comes from the reactions of fear with which he is constantly met. It is only when he gets his first taste of kindness from a blind man that he begins to understand his place in the world, and the inherent intolerance of the world at large.

That the bride created for him by Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Pretorious also hates him because of his appearance is the final, most tragic insult. He belongs dead, he should never have existed in the first place - hated, ridiculed, and shunned by the very people who gave him life. It's a portrait of human ugliness more than anything, made by a gay filmmaker in 1935 who understood better than anyone what it was like to be hated for who he was, and crafted as unabashedly queer a film as anything else in Hollywood at the time. It's a beautifully crafted film filled with personal idiosyncrasies and memorable oddities, at once campy and deeply felt, flamboyant and grimly effective. No other film in the Universal Monster oeuvre feels so well rounded and fully realized as this.


Popular Posts