Monday, October 29, 2018

31 Days of Horror 2018: My 13(ish) Favorite Frankenstein Inspired Movies

I was busy moseying around the internet trying to get ideas for a horror-themed list when one fell into my lap. You see, 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publishing of the iconic novel, Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley at the tender age of eighteen, published when she was twenty. It's since become one of the most famous books of all-time and has spawned quite the cinematic legacy. Therefore, I decided to make a list of my favorite Frankenstein inspired movies.

The heart of Shelley's novel deals with man trying to play God by reversing the event of death. It also examines the dangers of using technology to make a better human and man's foolishness in thinking this new entity can be controlled. Almost all of the movies on this list deal with these themes. Some more in-depth than others, some more seriously. Therefore, even though most here are either horror flicks, or horror-comedies, a couple, the two that barely made it onto the list, would normally never be near anyone's 31 Days of Horror. Rest assured, they definitely owe a debt to Mary Shelley for their existence.

As a side note, when researching for this list to make sure I didn't forget anything, I realized there are tons of Frankenstein movies I haven't seen. The vast majority of these came out from the 1940s to the 1960s. That said, I still like what I've got. Let's get to it.

My 13(ish) Favorite Frankenstein Inspired Movies

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Dr. Frankenstein: Tony Stark
The Monster: Ultron
There may never have been a bigger proponent for technology in all of cinema than Tony Stark. In this sequel to The Avengers, Tony sets out to create an A.I. based global defense system he names Ultron. He and his team debate the merits of such a thing and he eventually tries to shut it down. These things being what they are, the thing springs to life as an extension of Tony's ego. It does want to save the Earth, but only by killing the virus that's hurting it - humans. (Full Review)

Weird Science
Dr. Frankenstein: Gary and Wyatt
The Monster: Lisa
After watching Bride of Frankenstein, our heroes go about the business of using their computer to try and create the perfect woman. They hook up some electrodes to a doll, hack into a government network to give their own computer more power (I don't think it works like that), and voila, Lisa is born. The rest of the film takes a lighthearted, occasionally weird, and always horny thirteen year old boy friendly, approach to the themes put forth by Shelley.

Dr. Frankenstein: Jeffrey Franken
The Monster: Elizabeth Shelley
After his girlfriend, the not-so-subtly named Elizabeth Shelley, is killed by a lawnmower, Jeffrey Franken (get it?) he keeps the head of her dismembered body and gets the bright idea to rebuild her using body parts he plans on acquiring from local prostitutes. Needless to say, things don't work out as planned. This is a dark comedy that has just the right amount of ridiculousness.

Dr. Frankenstein: Dr. Stein
The Monster: Eddie Turner
Eddie is a Vietnam vet who lost all four limbs to a land mine. His girlfriend Winifred, herself a doctor, goes to see Dr. Stein, whom we're told won a Nobel Peace Prize for "solving the DNA genetic code," whatever that means. Stein then uses his special "DNA solution" to grow back Eddie's appendages. Bada-boom, bada-bing, something goes terribly wrong, Eddie becomes a sloped foreheaded, intestine-eating killing machine. This is pretty clearly the worst movie on the list. And that's exactly why it's here.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Dr. Frankenstein: Dr. Frank N. Furter
The Monster: Rocky
A couple gets lost and finds themselves at the home of one Dr. Frank N. Furter who claims to have discovered the secret of life. As proof, he has created Rocky. Of course, that's mere window dressing for the trans-extravaganza that has been playing in theaters at midnight (or later) showings for the last forty years. It's all (semi-)controlled by Tim Curry in a whirlwind performance as our cross-dressing doctor.

The Monster Squad
Dr. Frankenstein: Count Dracula
The Monster: Frankenstein's Monster
Despite actually having Frankenstein's Monster, this movie only lightly touches the themes within Shelley's novel. This time around, The Monster is brought back to life to Count Dracula, himself, as a pawn in his plot to take over everything. In true Scooby-Doo fashion, a gang of meddling kids stands in his way. There are a few dirty words, here and there, but this is still a great family horror flick. (Full Review)

Dr. Frankenstein: Victor Frankenstein
The Monster: Sparky
Speaking of family horror, we have this gem. Victor is the youngest genius on this list and, arguably, the most endearing. While the consequences of his actions are similar to the worst of his counterparts, his quest is one of relative innocence. He just wants his dog back. Things spiral out of control when others find out about what he's done and try to duplicate his success. Director Tim Burton heaps on the nostalgia for parents who are watching takes all viewers down some surprisingly dark corridors. (Full Review)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Dr. Frankenstein: Count Dracula
The Monster: Frankenstein's Monster
As we've already learned, Count Dracula occasionally stands in for Dr. Frankenstein, and so he does here. Once again, he wants to take over everything and The Monster is a major pawn. Rather than a bunch of kids, this time they run into one of the most iconic comedy duos of all-time. (Full Review)

Dr. Frankenstein: Herbert West
The Monster: Dr. Carl Hill
While based on a series of novels by H. P. Lovecraft, Re-Animator is definitely indebted to Shelley. Herbert West is a med student who has found a way to re-animate corpses. He gets into with his professor, Dr. Carl Hill which leads to West murdering Hill by decapitation. Of course, West then re-animates Hill's head and body separately. We wind up a darkly funny and gory talking head movie.

Edward Scissorhands
Dr. Frankenstein: The Inventor
The Monster: Edward Scissorhands
In this case, the person who created The Monster is more of a presence over the film than a character within it. That said, he is played by Vincent Price which is a win. The themes are essentially the same as the classic tale, transporting the story to contemporary suburbia and dropping a scissor-handed freak with a hankering for love right into the middle of it. This is arguably the best of all the Tim Burton and Johnny Depp collaborations.

Dr. Frankenstein: Dr. Frankenstein
The Monster: The Monster
This is the most famous adaptation of Shelley's work, and with good reason. Like good adaptations do, it dispenses with the less cinematic elements and considerably tightens the story, retaining only what's necessary to tell an intriguing tale. This is also the movie that gives us the iconic look of The Monster. (Full Review)

Ex Machina
Dr. Frankenstein: Nathan Bateman
The Monster: Ava
Truth told, this movie is as much a twisted take on Pinocchio as it is one on Frankenstein. However, since Shelley's novel pre-dates the tale of the wooden boy by over 60 years, we'll give her the lion's share of the credit. (Full Review)

Bride of Frankenstein
Dr. Frankenstein: Dr. Pretorius
The Monster: The Bride
The sequel to the 1931 classic Frankenstein is the rare follow-up that's superior to its predecessor. It goes further down the road the original started us on by simply introducing one of humankind's most basic needs, that of companionship. In a stroke of genius, the film also withholds the new monster until the very end, and the payoff is magnificent. (Full Review)

Young Frankenstein
Dr. Frankenstein: Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced Fronk-en-steen)
The Monster: The Monster (Abby Normal)
In typical Dell fashion, I gave my top spot to the movie that parodies everything I've been talking about for the entirety of this post. The catch is that this film does it so brilliantly, it can't be ignored. Tucked neatly in between the never ending stream of gags, are not only the themes I've gone on about incessantly, but also about one man's destiny. No stone is left unturned, and no joke goes untold. And the vast majority of them are hilarious. (Full Review)

Check out more horror themed lists:

When you're tired of Frankenstein,


  1. All of these films inspired by Mary Shelley's novel. Young Frankenstein is my favorite of the bunch. Notably as the film has a famous scene that would be the inspiration for a classic song that would be remade into a bigger classic. Walk this way...

  2. I've seen 12 of these. I at least like 10 of them. I'm not a fan of Edward Scissorhands and I absolutely hate The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

    1. Fair enough. Rocky Horror is a cult film for a reason.

  3. Great post! I like a handful of the films on this list, and the rest I haven't seen. The only one I disliked was Weird Science. It just made me weirdly (no pun intended) uncomfortable.

    1. I can see that. I was a teenager when Weird Science came out, so that might explain my affection for it.

  4. “Put the candle..back.” Love Young Frankenstein especially that the original “machinery” from the 1931 film was used for this one. Love both James Whale versions as well as Abbott and Costello’s film. The one F4ankenhooker sounds like the bad movie, “The Brain that wouldn’t Die.” Which is so bad, it’s good.

    1. Glad to see all the love for Young Frankenstein. As for Frankenhooker, I put that in the so bad it's awesome category.

  5. Great post. Really original. I would never have thought of Weird Science. Wasn't there a TV show too?

    1. There was a TV show. I never watched it, though.