Monday, October 6, 2014

Bookmonkey x Penguin Horror: Day 6: Me and the Monster

Of all the books available in the Penguin Horror imprint, Frankenstein is the one that shares the longest history with me. Since I was a little kid, enjoying The Hilarious House of Frightenstein on television, I was always intrigued by the creature. In the context of that show, it is actually just a prop, never doing anything but being background set dressing for the other characters, but always (in my young mind), bursting with the potential to rise.

I read the book for the first time back in junior high (middle school for my US readers), and having reread it three times since (most recently last week), I am always swept away in the epic tragedy of the story, if only Victor had attempted to help his creature, every horrible thing in the novel could have been avoided.

In terms of movies, everyone should see the 1931 James Whale directed classic Frankenstein as well as the 1935 follow-up The Bride of Frankenstein. Although the second moves away from the original source material, the two films together gave us some of the most iconic images of the creature, his bride and their world that have ever been put to film.

The 1957 Terence Fisher film The Curse of Frankenstein is still hands-down my personal favourite Frankenstein adaptation, although unlike the novel it doesn’t even attempt to make the doctor remotely sympathetic. Played by Peter Cushing as one of the most calculating bastards ever to grace the silver screen, the film sits highly in my favourite movies overall.

Although I have read a lot of Frankenstein-based fiction over the years, my current top incarnation of the character is the version used in Mike Carey and Peter Gross’s The Unwritten, which is itself a story about stories, and full of all sorts of twists and turns, but one of my favourites is the inevitably unintentional rising of the creature by the series main character Tom Taylor.

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