Boris Karloff, who starred in the Universal Picture’s 1931 adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, is the man responsible for giving us the classic image we associate Frankenstein’s monster with; green skin, large-flat forehead, bolts in the neck and little knowledge of human language. It’s interesting to think that this is how most people perceive the creature, whereas not one of these characteristics are demonstrated in Shelley’s novel written over 2 centuries ago. It is also the fault of this movie’s marketing as to why we, as a population, give the name Frankenstein to the creature, and not to the man who created him. It was all too common to see movie posters advertising the film with Karloff’s face largely on display with the enormous text “Frankenstein” right above him.

Although it doesn’t faithfully follow what occurs in the book, the film remains a classic in today’s pop culture. Jack Pierce, who was the Hollywood makeup artist behind the creature’s iconic features, did a terrific job ensuring that people would recognize, and be terrified of the creature. The movie also has an excellence use of the props that were used on the film set, especially in the laboratory scene. There’s always something interesting to look at in the background and to ponder as to how they came up with most of the ideas they had. It is an excellent feature, but its sequel, Bride of Frankenstein, is far more superior and follows more closely to Shelley’s novel.


Thomas Simpson


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