Monday, 25 July 2011

Monster Mavens

 I wanted to start this section before I go on hiatus, because then I have all my special sections already rolling for you readers. I’m rather proud that I have been on the internet for 13 days and I have made quite a few fans. Thanks guys. You rock my blogging world! I feel like a big girl now. *beams*

 This particular section is going to be one of my feature ones, like my Wicked Weapons posts. Here we will discuss the women that impact horror. And while I plan to do a few interviews and showcases of several talented women in the genre, I also want to alternate with showcases of monstrous women icons-- like the one I plan to write about today. I’m not one to cheer on the victims in horror, and most times women are portrayed as victims. Nor do I care about the heroines. I’m all about the villains, the monsters, the misunderstood outcasts. They are my people. Always have been, always will be.

So here I will not only honour my fellow Horrorista’s, but my kindred spirits of the dark. Be they creators of the beast, or the beast themselves.

 Today’s Monster Maven is none other than the classic damsel, The Bride of Frankenstein.

 “She’s alive. ALIVE!"

 I think she’s beautiful. Terrible. Heart-breaking. Dangerous. Forced into an existence by Fate’s twisted whims, the longing of a monster and the hand of a mad scientist. Mary Shelley created the legend of Frankenstein with her book that was first published anonymously in London in 1818, then later in France under her name in 1823. She is one of the most influential female horror writers ever, in my opinion. When people say women can’t write horror, I point at this woman. She can write you under the table, FOOL!

 And because of Shelly’s masterpiece, we now have the Bride herself. She was spawned from Universal Studios' need to expand on the Frankenstein mythos, and so they produced the 1935 movie The Bride of Frankenstein. When Boris Karloff cemented the fame of the Monster with his amazing portrayal, people wanted more. They were hungry for the story to continue, and so the idea of the Bride was 

 Elsa Lancheste is the first to play a portrayal of the Bride, solidifying her into the mythos as if Shelley wrote her in herself. She makes the Bride an iconic figure, mated for the monster and uniquely her own abomination. From the first moment we see her wrapped in gauze, and her eyes peak from the bandages, we are drawn in. We watch them slowly unveil her, and then her hair stands on end and her eyes widen like a new born seeing the light for the first time. They drape her in a sheet but it makes her look like a regal Queen of the undead. Her movements are like a baby bird, with her jerking head scanning everything. She’s retained her beauty despite what she’s become, and the Monster wants nothing more than to create a friendship with her, so he can quench some of his deep loneliness and pain.

But she rejects him. Twice.

 Not only that, but she screams in his face, and in that moment that scream told you everything you needed to know about her relationship to the monster, and the relationship to herself and the situation at hand. No words were needed. Just that primal scream, that shriek of absolute horror. That scream cuts right to the quick, and I still get chills when I hear it. It’s monstrous, hideous and expresses so much emotion you can’t help but feel for her plight.

 Another wonderfully done portrayal of the Bride is in the 1994 movie version of Frankenstein. The Bride is brought back through Victor’s wife, and is played by Helena Bonham Carter. I adore her as an actress. She does monstrous women so well. Maybe because she is just a damn fine creepy bitch. She’s not a standard Hollywood beauty. To me, she’s more real looking than most of the Hollywood dames that grace the screen nowadays.

 And she’s an amazing actress. She brings such agony and exquisite torment to the Monster-Bride relationship. This part is slightly different than the Bride of Frankenstein. The Bride in the original movie rejected the monster right away. In this one, she remembers her old life with Victor, and feels slight kinship with the Monster. But since she is torn between the two, she kills herself, setting herself on fire so she doesn’t have to choose.

 The Bride was never meant to be in Shelley’s book, despite the fact it adds richness to the story. In the original book there is no creation of a female monster. In the time period the book was made, it was almost unheard of for women to even write horror. The pacing is much better in the book than the movies and we have more time to explore the characters. The fact that the 1994 movie is called Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein means they were attempting to adapt the book. If they were truly doing so, they wouldn't have added the Bride’s subplot that was not created by Shelly, but by Universal Studios. I think they should have not tried so hard to be the book, because clearly, it was just a different version of the story. But if you ignore their somewhat failed attempt at linking it to the novel, it’s a good movie all on its own. The movie hits all the highlights and explores the themes beautifully.

 The injection of the character of the Bride only adds more richness to the mythos of Victor Frankenstein, in my opinion. Each retelling of the tale is different, and they deal with issues like playing god, being ostracized, loneliness, rejection, fear of the unknown, death and rebirth. Her beauty, and the horrors she both experiences and creates, left her a legacy in the Frankenstein mythology that will never be forgotten. From that pale face and tall hair, to the screaming creature on fire, she makes us face the beauty, and horror of reanimated life. Perhaps if I was forced to choose between the life of a monster forced to have her only companion be another monster, I too would kill myself...

OH HECK NO. That Monster man be a FINE husband for sure! Just check me and my boi out on Halloween last year:

See, now that’s true romance folks. *wink*


  1. I love the name Monster Mavens. Have you ever read Paul Magrs book series about Brenda and Effie? Brenda is the Bride of Frankenstein, who has reinvented herself as a B and B owner in Whitby.

  2. Thank you. :)

    No I haven't read that. I will have to find that book and give it a read. Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. Thanks for the invite ,and the follow..
    ah yes , the hot babe of horror.
    The Bride.

  4. Dr. Clone, she's totally a babe. :)

  5. I like Helena Bonham Carter, I think she's an amazing actress & so cute.

    I love the last picture! That is true romance. :)

  6. Ah, I've actually photoshopped myself into a pic of the Bride because she is so AWESOME! I love your blog! *FOLLOW*

  7. @Real Queen of Horror: That's how me and my Bear roll. ;)

    @Robin: Right on! Who doesn't love the Bride right? Thanks for the follow. :)


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