As we are now in October, it seemed a good time to revisit a classic of the horror genre, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Those of you into whose minds flash Boris Karloff as the monster, in James Whale’s Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein, are in for a shock. In the first movie, the monster speaks not a single word, but simply growls and howls; in the second film, the monster learns a few words, which he grunts out. Who can forget the memorable “Friend … Goood!”?
Well, if that’s the monster you’re expecting, you won’t find him here.
Karloff and Whale both felt that the monster was to be played like an innocent, a child who doesn’t understand the world into which he has come. In other words, the monster is something like a baby – a big, scary, grunting baby, but a baby nonetheless – and so, it does not have language, but must learn it, a word or two at a time.