Bride of Frankenstein is one of those rare sequels, especially for the olden days, where most of the crew and cast decided to return for the second part. I can understand the decision by some to not return to the next installment of a franchise, especially with today’s sequel-happy Hollywood, so for Bride of Frankenstein to pull this off with most of the original players is a feat to be appreciated instead of decried, especially when one sees the finished product the sequel became.
The film opens with a separate scene featuring real life people, including Mary Shelley, recounting Shelley’s tale of Frankenstein, including a montage of the previous film’s events to catch everyone up that might’ve forgotten the particulars. From there, we pick up right where the original film left off, at the burning windmill that supposedly ended the creature for good. Of course, the monster survives, and from there, continues his rampage against the villagers who all want him locked up or dead. The creator, meanwhile, is recruited apprehensively by an old acquaintance to make a companion for the beast, a woman for Frankenstein’s man. The film was quite proud of its special visual effects and make-up work, often indulging itself in what it is able to do and show. The music, also, was very on-the-nose about how we should be feeling, being rather triumphant whenever we are shown the crowds after the monster, and very scary and demonic whenever the monster is prowling about.
Some were critical of some of the aspects of this film, in particular the decision to have the monster speak a few words, but I thought it a natural progression of the story and evolution of the original film. I laughed at a few moments, like when the blind hermit offers the monster a cigar while teaching the monster that it’s “good”, and I even felt for the monster on occasion, like when he traipses around the countryside desperately searching for a “friend”. All in all, this was more than a worthy sequel to the original, and for me, never fell into the camp territory the rest of the Frankenstein movies became known for; this was a straight, serious production, and it worked on just about every level. If you saw the first and were a fan, definitely seek this one out; you won’t be disappointed.
Arbitrary Rating: 9/10