October 8, 2015

80th Anniversary BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN series
The Bride's Rhymed Review

By the time BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN came around in 1935, not quite four years after the original FRANKENSTEIN, The Monster was already a pop culture icon, recognized worldwide, referenced and often spoofed in musical shorts or animated cartoons. Reflecting this new, comfortable attitude towards the very Monster that had once awed or disturbed critics, many reviews of the new film, almost universally positive, were lighthearted and peppered with jokes. The Monster was a Romeo, the Bride wore an “asparagus-tip hairdo” and a sequel would invariably be “Frankenstein’s Baby”.

One of the most unusual and whimsical reviews appeared 19 July 1935 in The Newcastle Sun of New South Wales, Australia. It was one of a series of “Rhymed Reviews” penned by writer and critic Robin Slessor, whose knack for amusing verse was no doubt triggered by his older brother, Kenneth Slessor (1901-1971), hailed as one of Australia’s greatest poets.

Here, to facilitate reading, is a transcript of this unique, fun, touching, and very special Rhymed Review.

Bride of Frankenstein, by Robin Slessor

A year or two ago, in mortal fear I fear, we gripped the seat
And trembled at the mere approach of Karloff’s heavy feet
The monster made us shudder, as around the countryside
He blundered, wreaking havoc ‘mid the people far and wide.

Though striking far more terror than the worst of all banditti
He tinged our human horror with a modicum of pity,
The sequel to this horror film of man-created life
Shows Frankenstein, assisting in the moulding of a wife —
A mate for his monstrosity — a partner to command,
Who wakes in him a feeling that he cannot understand. 

The film is far more thrilling than the former one, and yet
Despite the man’s repulsiveness, one cannot quite forget
The pathos of the story of this manufactured twosome, —
The tragic side is curiously mingled with the gruesome.

October 5, 2015

80th Anniversary BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN series
The Art of Frankenstein : William Basso

All this month, we’ll be celebrating THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN on its 80th Anniversary year. Lots of information, great images and fun finds coming up in the days and weeks leading to — and perhaps beyond — Halloween! 
Let’s kick it off in style with a spectacular painting by the brilliant William Basso…  

William Basso’s collage painting of The Bride, like its subject, is a patchwork of elements, slotted and stitched together to unsettling effect.

In the Nineties, Basso worked as an artist with Stan Winston’s special effects studio, contributing to such titles as EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990), TERMINATOR 2 (1991) and INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (1994). Since 2000, Basso has largely concentrated on his own projects, mixed media and sculpture, informed by his abiding passion for splendidly creepy Halloween themes and classic horror.  

Basso’s website is packed with terrific art, a blog and prints to buy, including the Bride painting, Mate for a Monster, and a superb companion piece, Man-Made, seen here below.

William Basso’s website.
An interview with Basso on Strange Kids Club.

October 1, 2015

The Great Frankenstein/Wolf Man Presidential Debate

With federal elections coming up this month in Canada and the US presidential contest a year away, North Americans are being bombarded with attack ads and portentous messages, political posturing and the inevitable debates. As citizens, we will be called to decide who will lead us but — let us admit — there is no challenge as monumentally important as the horror-battle between the two most terrifying creatures of all times, the Titans of Terror: Frankenstein and the Wolf Man!!! (Hyperbole shamelessly lifted from a 1942 ad for FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN).

Here’s Dan Roebuck as Lon Chaney as Larry Talbot as The Wolf Man going up against Perry Shields as Bela Lugosi as Ygor’s brain in Frankenstein’s Monster, which altogether makes more sense than anything in the current, real-life political discourse.

Roebuck and Shields are professional actors and unreserved Monster Kids, and they give their all in what proves both a Valentine to the Universal Monsters, and a genuine Halloween treat.


September 21, 2015

Frankenstein Marionette

Towering 22 inches tall from its big black stomper boots to the top of its flat head, here’s a Frankenstein Monster with strings attached.

This unique creation from Czech Marionettes is entirely hand-made from sculpt to paint to sewn outfit and carefully assembled into a fully functional, high-quality string puppet. The high price — $590USD — reflects the superior craftsmanship of this piece.

Click through to the site for more pics of the Frankenstein marionette, a fascinating history of Czech puppets and tons of beautiful work including a dragon, winged skeletons and a Nosferatu puppet.

With thanks to Jeffrey Eernisse

September 2, 2015

I am the Frankenstein Monster

Argentine-born, Ohio-based author, illustrator and designer Ralph Cosentino creates dynamic children’s books filled with fun, eye-popping art and engaging read-along stories. Best sellers included a superhero trilogy tracing the origins of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman for young readers.

Now, Cosentino has turned to crowd funding to help launch his own publishing company, with I am the Frankenstein Monster as its first offering. Books about Dracula and The Werewolf are in the pipeline.

Cosentino’s Kickstarter page carries lots of preliminary and finished art from the Frankenstein project, and you can kick in some cash, of course, if you are so inclined.  

I am the Frankenstein Monster Kickstarter page.
Ralph Cosentino’s web page

August 23, 2015

Frankenstein's Creature

A radical new retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein comes to the London stage this week — and very reasonably priced tickets might still be had if you are in the vicinity.

Running August 25 to 29, Frankenstein’s Creature is a one-man play written and performed by James Swanton who has garnered consistently high praise for his work, notably his recent West End success in Sykes and Nancy. Mr. Swanton is no stranger to extraordinary characters of genre fiction having played the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Marley’s Ghost.

Frankenstein’s Creature promises to be an intense experience as the story is told entirely from The Creature’s perspective. “With no name and no past,” reads the press release, “he must forge a place in a world that does not want him. He must find his voice.  

The image of Swanton as The Creature shows him biting into an apple, the new Adam cast out of paradise.

Frankenstein’s Creature is directed by Jack Gamble with designs by Zoe Koperski. It is produced by Jack Gamble and Quentin Beroud for Dippermouth and mounted at Theater503 on Battersea Park Road, London.

We’ll be on the lookout for reviews and future productions.

Frankenstein’s Creature on Theatre503 page.
Frankenstein’s Creature on Facebook.

August 20, 2015

Have some cake!

I want to take a moment before this day runs out and note that this blog was launched on August 20, all of eight years ago. Eight years! I don’t know how that happened! I was just fooling around, honest, and I never thought I’d make it past eight days, maybe 8 weeks tops and, well, look at us now. I just checked my stats counter, and we’ve clocked a bit over two million visits in eight years. Two million! How did that happen?

Posting has been sparse over some time now, due mostly to real life butting in. Lots of things keeping me busy, and I won’t even mention my recent Hard Drive meltdown and the loss of research material I had failed to backup properly. Otherwise, it’s been a very good time, being busy with my graphic novels for the French market, and busy with TV, movie and web series writing, all good news for a freelancer. I also was the subject of a TV documentary, how about that! On the side, I never stopped researching Frankenstein in all its aspects and I’ve amassed tons of great new material.

Now I’m on top of things again and I’m undertaking a much busier posting schedule. Very shortly, I’ll be running a series celebrating the 80th anniversary of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) and, after three years of research, I’ll be posting about the Forgotten Frankensteins of the Thirties! Earlier this year, I made a pilgrimage to Malibou Lake just outside LA, where they shot the Little Maria scene for FRANKENSTEIN (1931) and I’ll be sharing that, and lots more finds and surprises over the days, weeks and months to come.

I made a lot of real friends here over the years, and I got to visit with some of you as I traveled to New York, Louisville, London, Paris and Los Angeles. I hope to see you all again, and meet new friends along the way. You all are the reason I keep doing this.

So join me, and do have a slice of birthday cake, won’t you?