Frankenstein (1931 Universal Studios Film)
A true riveting classic in the truest sense in horror movies. Universal Studios floating on the success of Dracula continued the fright fest with their rendition of Frankenstein in 1931. Directed by James Whale and adapted from the Mary Shelley play about a mad-scientist who exhumes corpses to build a new man. However, there was a shortage of brains for the monster so his assistant steals an abnormal brain instead of a healthy one.
Frankenstein stars Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein, Mae Clarke, John Boles, and horror icon and legend Boris Karloff as the monster. The film was an instant mega-hit and went on to scare audiences with several sequels and has become a true icon in the industry.
Bela Lugosi, who played Dracula previously, was supposed to play the monster. However, after a few make-up tests, they determined he wasn’t the right fit for the monster and so the part was given to Boris Karloff. Lugosi did eventually play the monster 10 years later in Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman.
In the creation scene of the film, Universal was able to procure a Tesla Coil built by famous inventor Nikola Tesla himself! Perfect for this mad-scientist romp through creationism. Speaking of creationism, Frankenstein naturally brought its own controversy due to the innate subject matter of the film. In the famous scene where Barn Frankenstein screams”It’s Alive! It’s Alive!”, however, the original line was “It’s a alive! It’s alive! In the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!” This was promptly edited to its current version for being blasphemous.
Another controversial scene in Frankenstein was the infamous scene where the monster throws a little girl into a lake, thus drowning her. The censorship boards in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York had a riot and Universal removed the scene. Modern-day cuts of the film have incorporated the lost scene.
“It’s alive! It’s alive!”