Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (1994) – Rating 4 out of 5

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (1994) – Rating 4 out of 5

“He didn’t give me a name…”

Shocking, gruesome, cruel and sad and perhaps the best rendition of the classic tale I have ever seen. Directed by Branagh and starring Robert De Niro and Helena Bonham Carter we get a more comprehensive look at Dr. Frankenstein and his creation.

Frankenstein’s mother dies during childbirth while he is a late teen. Of course he wonders why life can’t be prolonged. Following in his father’s footsteps he goes off to university to become a doctor. Unlike the diabolical Frankenstein we see in the early black and white films this Frankenstein simply starts off as a curious student who wonders about the body and how to preserve life. He meets a professor (John Cleese) who also shares his interest and has made startling progress. The professor warms him of the dangers of his pursuit and tells him he has come “too close” to creating life…

After his mentor is killed during a cholera outbreak Frankenstein is determined to prevent death. He breaks into the professor lab and pours over his notes. He uncovers his mistakes and believes he has the answer.

He experiments prove successful and soon he has created his own life, although it’s nothing like he’d hope. His creation is a grotesque piecemeal of parts that have been brutally sewn together. Frankenstein fears his own creation and runs away.

The monster flees and is met with the same harsh treatment everywhere he goes. Victor abandons his experiments in order to live his life with his soon to be bride. But the monster returns after learning of how he was created and how he is a “defect” and an “abomination”. He curses revenge against Frankenstein and seeks him out.

Frankenstein has a showdown with the creature and is given a stern and philosophical talking to by his creation. His want is simple, to have a companion like himself. He will then disappear and never been seen from again. Victor can’t bring himself to repeat the experiment and so the monster vows vengeance.

The movie is shocking in its portrayal but that adds depth to the film. Frankenstein starts off naïve and innocent and just wishes to help people and through the deaths he suffered slips into madness to try and bring his loved ones back from the death. Many of the scenes are unnerving and brutal – the death of the mother during birth, Victor cutting up the bodies, the hanging for the wrongful death and the stitches that cover the monsters body. And the movies wild climax with Elizabeth being used to force Frankenstein to restart his experiments and leading them all to damnation.

Much more intense than previous attempts this film ranks a must see for the “classics” genre. This is a true hack and slash film, but it’s excellent late night viewing. Definitely worth seeing.


Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein – $5.99

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