10/30/11

Frankenstein & Me

Growing up as a tall kid, I was always forced to be Frankenstein whenever my friends played monsters.  I'm sure other tall kids had to put up with this. 


This continued as an adult, when my old sketch group was developing a TV show called MONSTERS ON THE RUN, I was to play the fugitive Frankenstein Monster (framed for a crime he didn't commit.  He was framed by a rich Kennedy-esque Playboy Mummy and lost his trial when a William Kunstler-esque lawyer used the case as an opportunity to blame society, saying, "You're the monsters! YOU are the monsters."  I wish we'd made that.) 


One Halloween I was the monster, my wife was the bride, my kids were the Doctor and Igor.  (You can make a cute baby look spooky by adding a unibrow and hunchback.) 


One of the first KEVIN GEEKS OUT shows was dedicated to FRANKENSTEIN.  Mary Shelly's novel is the most adapted work of literature (in your face, Madame Bovary!)  So there are so many odd interpretations to look at.  


We screened clips from Frankenstein Vs. Baragaon, Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, TV's The Monster Squad (at 1970's TV series in which Frankenstein, Dracula and the Werewolf team up to fight crime, aided by The Love Boat's Gofer and a super-computer.)  and more. 


We listened to an excellent radio adaptation by the Quicksilver Radio Theatre. 


We also watched Thomas Edison's Frankenstein film (from 1910), which I'd first seen at a Frankenstein film festival in New Jersey.  It was introduced by a religious old kook, who owned the film print and because he was letting the theater screen his movie, he insisted on speaking before the film and speaking out against evolution.  (Which, he believes is at the heart of Edison's adaptation, because the monster is not a re-animated corpse, but a man made from the earth.)  


Throughout the night we saw some radical interpretations of the classic character, and the audience really got excited seeing Boris Karloff, it's like he's THE ONE.  This PSA parody was a big hit at the show, and it still holds up. 


Here's an old AMC video I made looking at some of my favorite adaptations: 






Here's a collection of 50 Posters from various Frankenstein Movies



And in this new video Rusty Ward and I look at FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND, featuring several great clips from the movie. 






And in my newest video, I use one of my all-time favorite gags about the monster: 


(Hey, be sure to donate to the kickstarter campaign HERE)

Frankenstein is always showing up in popular culture. 

DC's WEIRD WAR TALES ran a great series of stories about CREATURE COMMANDOS, in which the Mosnter, teams up with Dracula and the Wolf man to battle Nazis.  (I don't know why writers are always pairing these three up.  I mean, in real life they seem like they wouldn't get along at all.) 

In Dickie Goodman's novelty song FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE BEATLES, the monster becomes envious of the band's popularity, so he forms a rock quartet to compete with the Fab Four.  The Liverpool lads end up feeling sorry for him and invite him to join the band, though it's never clear what instrument he plays. 

The new anthology horror-comedy CHILLERAMA features a very funny segment about THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANKENSTEIN, but as an internet nerd it's my duty to point out that the gag was made a decade earlier by Michael O'Donoghue.  (Click here to read his SPIN magazine piece, "Six Hit Movies.") 

The influence of Mary Shelley's story shows up in the oddest places, here's some holiday-themed pop-tarts that seem to play out a theme from the novel: 




"'I am alone and miserable: man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. This being you must create.'"  ~ The Monster, in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein


Happy Halloween everybody. 




 related posts: 


King Kong and Me


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