Yes, it is once again time for Halloween on Cinema Won. And this time, we're aren't just looking at one series. We are looking at all of horror! Okay, not all of horror. But, like, ten films! So that's cool. Every week for the next five weeks of October, we will look at a classic horror film from every decade starting in the 1930s and making our way up to the 2010s, with a bonus thrown in. And now, let's kick things off with a sequel! See, they did these even in the 1930s!
Bride of Frankenstein is a 1934 film that is a direct sequel to the 1931 film Frankenstein, which was based on Mary Shelley's book of the same name. Director James Whale (The Invisible Man) and writer William Hurlbut (Adam Had Four Sons) are behind the film, which follows Frankenstein (Colin Clive), who is forced by Doctor Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) to create a Bride (Elsa Lanchester) for the Monster (Boris Karloff) or see his own wife (Valerie Hobson) killed. Let the monster making commence!
Back on my first Halloween in 2011, I took a look at the original 1931 Frankenstein film. If you haven't seen it, you really should. It's a classic and one of the best monster movies ever made. And, impossibly, the sequel is even better. Even for 1934. Bride of Frankenstein manages to avoid the cliches that many horror sequels fall for. The plot of the first film isn't recycled, the monster doesn't just go on another killing spree. Here, we get a story that's completely new, to an extent, and works great. Director Whale returns for the sequel, as does Karloff and Clive. Whale's direction is truly spectacular. The film has this grand sense of scale that really works at making the film feel bigger and greater than the first. A lot of really great sweeping shots are used, like a beautiful scene where Frankenstein's Monster is chased by a mob through a forest. The scene where the Bride is created is also wonderful. The craziness of the laboratory equipment is awesome and, as silly as it is, I love that the Monster just throws Dwight Frye off the roof.
It's also interesting to see the growth of the Monster. He's meeting with his blind "Friend" (O.P. Heggie) is great and the Monster speaking is a great addition to the character. In fact, you really start feeling for the Monster and he's grown to become my favorite of the Universal Monsters. The new cast members are great too... mostly. Lanchester is great as the Bride. The bird-like thing she does when she wakes up is strange, but I just love it. Una O'Connor though, is a little annoying, hamming up some otherwise strong scenes. But the best new addition is Thesiger as Pretorius. I mean, the name alone is creepy perfection and he's just played so chillingly. The scene with his miniature humans is hilarious and stunning, even today. There's almost too much to get into in one small review. Almost every scene is great and filled with awesome sets and designs. There is just so much to love about this movie.
So, yeah, not much else I can say right now. Bride of Frankenstein is just as much of a masterpiece as you've been told. It's a great film with great characters and a great story that surprises and subverts the expected. The directing and cinematography is stunning, as are the special effect, which seeing as how this was released in 1934, is simply amazing. Halloween 2013 has started out right. Bride of Frankenstein gets 6 stars out of 6.