70 min., 1931
Written by Garrett Fort/Francis Edwards Faragoh
Directed by James Whale
My rating: ★★
He couldn’t use facial expressions, so look at the use of his hands! It’s amazing! Bullshit!
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Now, before I get started on the review of the movie, I just want to comment on the tag line that I used. The line is a reference to a lot of people who talk about the movie. All I really hear about the movie is that the use of his hands is what really made the monster the best. I really have to disagree: the facial expressions and the use of his eyes (as little as there was) is what really made the monster to me. So don’t just look at the monster’s hands, look at the monster in total.
Time has not really been all that kind to Frankenstein. Everything is extremely dated in a very painful way. That being said, let the review begin.
The story (as almost everyone knows) is about Henry Frankenstein and the process (and success) of making a patchwork man. Even though it’s been told a billion times since, the story is still (kinda) fun to sit through.
The characters of the movie are (especially now) very, very, VERY stereotypical. The mad scientist Henry Frankenstein is the best of all the cast. It seems that nowadays, anytime you have someone who is crazy, they still come off as perfectly sane or extremely intelligent. Henry is a total nut job, when he creates the human monster and yells about how “now I know what it’s like to be God!!!“, damn! you believe him. The look in his eyes are that of a true madman.
But then he just kinda forgets what he created and goes on with life as normal. Didn’t he just make one of the biggest discoveries ever, showing that man can in fact bring the dead back to life? Then he just threw it under the bed like a child with a broken toy. I’m lost on that. The monster is another one that is done very well. The expressions of the monster (again, as little as there is) really show what it’s thinking. The scene where it’s with the little girl (Maria) and they are throwing flowers in the water, look at its face and tell me that there is no expression. You can see real excitement in it’s face.
From really good to just awful…the rest of the actors are either over the top or just don’t have any character. Take Fritz, the hunchback assistant, who walks with a cane about 1 foot tall. Maybe that’s why he has a frickin’ hunchback. The way he walks is just too cartoony…actually everything he does, it seems, is just for gags. Elizabeth is another example of over the top acting. Talk about a scream queen. Every line is in an annoying high pitched screech. Most of the time I wish she would just shut up. Let’s not forget Victor, Elizabeth’s friend, who seems to just want to get into Elizabeth’s pants. The rest of the characters just seem to be there taking up space.
Sets and effects are some of the worst I’ve seen in recent years. At times you can actually see the matte paintings flowing in the background. There are also the rocks that are obviously and terribly fake. Now before anyone out there starts yelling at me about how it was the times or they didn’t have a budget like they do now. Shut the hell up!!! You are the same people who watch the Friday The 13ths, ’80s Asian horror, ’70s Euro horror, anything by Full Moon or Troma, etc…and yell how those effects suck and the acting sucks. Never taking into account the budget or the times. So FUCK OFF!!!! Years take a toll on all movies, good or bad. The movies, actors, directors, etc. that are considered “classics” or “the best” or even “Holy Grails” fade the same as the “bad,” the “terrible,” and “shit bombs.” So get over yourselves and just deal with it.
I’m not saying that I hate the movie. In fact, it is a quite enjoyable one. You just have to watch it with different eyes. From today’s standpoint, it’s really bad; but from a historical point of view it is definitely one of the best from its era. So only watch it if you are interested in classic horror, not if you are looking to get scared (a ten year old won’t even get remotely scared). By today’s ratings, this would be rated G. [Actually, the official MPAA rating is “PG” and the TV Parental Guidelines rating is “TV-PG.” —Ed.] So it gets a 1 by today’s standards, and a 4 for historical value.Have You Read...?