It probably won’t surprise you to hear that there have been a lot of adaptations and works inspired by Frankenstein. In today’s blog post I’m going to share some film and novel adaptations that you might be interested in taking a look at.
Let’s start with some of the film titles! The titles that I am sharing with you can be found at our Lilly Library. In fact most of them are currently on display in their collection spotlight!
Young Frankenstein: A finely tuned parody of the old Frankenstein movies, in which Gene Wilder returns to the old country to clear his family name. This classic comedy was directed by Mel Brooks and has a screenplay by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks.
Frankenstein: Still regarded as the definitive film version of Mary Shelley’s classic tale of tragedy and horror, Frankenstein made unknown character actor Boris Karloff a star and created a new icon of terror. Along with the highly successful Dracula, released earlier the same year, it launched Universal Studio’s golden age of 1930s horror movies. The film’s greatness stems less from its script than from the stark but moody atmosphere created by director James Whale.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: This 1994 version is a more faithful adaptation than some of the older versions, though it still takes some liberties with the plot. It was directed by and starred Kenneth Branagh. It also features Robert De Niro and Helena Bonham Carter.
I, Frankenstein: Set in a dystopic present where vigilant gargoyles and ferocious demons rage in a battle for ultimate power, Victor Frankenstein’s creation Adam finds himself caught in the middle as both sides race to discover the secret to his immortality.
In addition to films, Frankenstein’s monster has inspired directly and indirectly many authors.
A Monster’s Notes by Laurie Sheck. What if Mary Shelley had not invented Frankenstein’s monster but had met him when she was a girl of eight, sitting by her mother’s grave, and he came to her unbidden? What if their secret bond left her forever changed, obsessed with the strange being whom she had discovered at a time of need? What if he were still alive in the twenty-first century? This bold, genre-defying book brings us the “monster” in his own words.
Frankenstein Unbound by Brian W. Aldiss. Joe Bodenland, a 21st century American, passes through a timeslip and finds himself with Byron and Shelley in the famous villa on the shore of Lake Geneva. More fantastically, he finds himself face to face with a real Frankenstein, a doppelganger inhabiting a complex world.
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi. From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi–a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local café–collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial. But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking criminal who, though shot, cannot be killed. This book was a Man Booker International Prize finalist!
Destroyer by Victor LaValle. The legacy of Frankenstein’s monster collides with the sociopolitical tensions of the present-day United States. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein beseeched his creator for love and companionship, but in 2017, the monster has long discarded any notions of peace or inclusion. He has become the Destroyer, his only goal to eliminate the scourge of humanity from the planet. In this goal, he initially finds a willing partner in Dr. Baker, a descendant of the Frankenstein family who has lost her teenage son after an encounter with the police. While two scientists, Percy and Byron, initially believe they’re brought to protect Dr. Baker from the monster, they soon realize they may have to protect the world from the monster and Dr. Baker’s wrath.
The dark descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White. Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend. Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.
If you want to find out more about adaptations of Frankenstein, try the website The Frankenstein MEME.