The Bride of Frankenstein: The Greatest Sequel Ever Made
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) is the greatest sequel ever made… in my opinion. Everything that made the first film so great is elevated in this film. In fact, I always go back and forth on which film I prefer. Either way, I love both films. I’ll discuss why this 1935 horror sequel is a masterpiece of cinema.
As I said before, everything that made the first film so great is elevated in this film. James Whale’s direction, Boris Karloff's performance, the story, the atmosphere, and music. I’m going to go into spoilers so please watch this if you haven’t.
There are differences between this and the original film and the main one is the fact that this film is a gothic fairytale. The monster is treated as a folk tale villain. He searches of love but only gets violence and torture from those around him. I love the themes in this film. The first film is more of a horror story about a mad scientist playing god. It’s more gothic and depressing. The Bride of Frankenstein has that fairytale like quality that makes it stand out from the rest of the Universal Monster Films.
I enjoy the story for this film. It adds more to the world and to the characters. I love how Dr. Henry Frankenstein is forced to create a bride for the Monster by Dr. Pretorius and how the Monster searches for love and acceptance. It’s brilliant.
This is Boris Karloff’s film. The original is Colin Clive’s film but in this one, Karloff shines like the bright star he became. Karloff gives the role his all and he succeeds in spades. I love his look in this. The way the fire melted half of his face is so terrifying. In fact, his introduction is one of the creepiest shots I’ve ever seen. The scene where the Monster becomes friends with the blind man is one of the most touching moments ever. The way Karloff cries of relief showcases his skills as an actor. He does an amazing job in this and he deserves all the praise.
Colin Clive returns and he's a wonderful addition in this film. Unfortunately, he wasn’t doing well with his alcohol addiction and his health so he’s not in this as much. Still, slides back in to his role as Dr. Henry Frankenstein with ease. I love his chemistry with Dr. Pretorius. It’s a shame that Clive died so young because he was such a talent.
Dr. Pretorius, played by the underrated Ernest Thesiger, is one of the greatest characters and performances of all time. I fucking love Dr. Pretorius. He comes in this film and literally steals every scene he’s in. He plays the perfect Mad Scientist. I think he’s right behind Dr. Frankenstein as one of the best Mad Scientists in cinema history. Dr. Pretorius is a perfect secondary villain for this film. He's a sick fuck who likes to party in cemeteries by himself. That's awesome. He’s the one who gets the plot going of building a bride for the Monster. I love his iconic line “The Bride of Frankenstein” as the wonderful score blares behind. What a scene. What a character. What a performance.
James Whale’s direction is stronger in this film. His art direction and eye behind the camera feels more seasoned than the last film. This film is beautifully made and is technically well done. Once again, he deserves to be named one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.
My favorite addition to this film is the music. The score was composed by Franz Waxman and it’s one of my favorite scores. It helps create that gothic fairytale atmosphere that I love so much. To me, music is important for films and in this case, the score helps elevate this film into a whole other level. I love the Bride’s theme. It’s beautiful yet mysterious. What a wonderful score!
The 3rd act to this film is one of my favorites of all time. Just like the first film’s 1st act, the 3rd act in this sequel has the Mad Scientists creating life from the dead. In this film, it has more going on. Pretorius and Frankenstein have that perfect chemistry. Dwight Frye plays another weirdo creep who gets killed by the Monster. The laboratory setting and the awesome electric machines. The Bride’s birth. The music swaying behind the two Scientists as they reveal her. The Bride herself is iconic. I love the fact that the Bride is in the film for only a few minutes yet her design and performance, by Elsa Lanchester, is so iconic that she became a pop culture phenomenon. That is fucking awesome.
Shoutout to Jack Pierce once again for the iconic for both the Monster and the Bride.
I love how the Monster lets Dr. Frankenstein and Elizabeth live as he sacrifices himself, the Bride, and Dr. Pretorius by blowing up the lab. So iconic.
My only issue with this film is common with other James Whale films and that's Una O'Connor. The most annoying actress I've ever seen on the screen. All she does is fucking scream and it hurts my ears. I don't know why she has so much screen time because she ruins every scene she's in. Holy fuck every time she speaks I yell "Shut the fuck up!" at the screen. The worst part is, she doesn't die in the film.
The Bride of Frankenstein is a rare example of a sequel being better than its predecessor. Even though I prefer the original film, I still love everything about this sequel. It’s a masterpiece!