Frankenstein: The Evolution

Throughout our modern society we, as individuals, frequently complain concerning the variations between novels and the movies created in their image. In regards to Shelley’s Frankenstein this has never been more readily apparent. I must shamefully admit that while picking apart the first volume of the novel I kept expecting to find Dr. Frankenstein at some point inhabiting a castle. Such are the effects of the passage of time, adaptations to the plot to increase effectiveness of the horror aspect of the movie,¬†and ultimately the more widespread proliferation of the movie plot as opposed to that of the original text.

My question concerning the changes in almost all aspects of the novel versus the films is simply could the directors, before the nature of the story was adapted of course, not have¬†achieved a similar and possibly even more hauntingly scary movie by sticking to Shelley’s vision? I believe the abject fear described by Victor as the “creature” begins to take those he loves from him while he knows the truth of the events yet fears to announce his knowledge is haunting enough in itself.

Moreover, the perspective shifting from Victor as the quasi-victim in the novel to the perfect image for all “mad scientists” to come is intriguing. While I must admit to the effectiveness of the character portrayed in the movies to imbue the freakish horror aspect of the films I fail to understand how the original perspective would not have translated well to the screen.

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One Response to Frankenstein: The Evolution

  1. Josh Ambrose says:

    I think you could do a whole semester on the history of adaptation of Frankenstein! For a few thoughts on the early 1931 film, see

    Note that the film was based more on a play than the original Shelley narrative. Fascinating stuff!

    How WOULD you do a movie that is more faithful to the original source material?

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