I’d like to start this post by talking about something a bit out of the ordinary. I want to talk about books.
I mentioned it before, but I’m a big fan of Science Fiction, most prominently the stories by Isaac Asimov. With that said, however, I must admit that my favourite sci-fi story is Frankenstein; Or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley.
The story, considered one of the first sci-fi stories ever made, was written in 1818 as a horror story. However, after about two centuries, I must admit that the horror has lost some if its impact, since movies and games have left us somewhat desensitized…
That is why it’s a good thing the book still remains an amazing story, touching on issues of morality, philosophy, the dangers of knowledge and ambition, and indeed human nature itself.
As you can tell, I am a big fan of the original story. This of course means I’ve come across more than one adaptation of the story.
With that in mind, I have a few issues with those adaptations.
First of all, why is it so hard to get the Creature right?
This may sound like an odd question, but it is nevertheless a valid one. It’s very strange that not one single adaptation manages to get the look right, when the book actually gives a detailed description of the Creature!
His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness […] his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.
How is that difficult? How come nobody, in adapting the story, ever took the time to look up what the Creature should look like?!
And while I’m discussing the Creature, I’d like to settle something once and for all.
The name of the Creature.
The Creature is not named Frankenstein. It was never meant to be named Frankenstein. You shouldn’t refer to it as Frankenstein, and if you do, you are wrong.
Now, some of you might argue that “Of course you can call the Creature Frankenstein! He is technically the son of Victor Frankenstein, and as such, he would have the same last name”.
But the problem is, he ISN’T Frankenstein’s son! He doesn’t refer to himself as Frankenstein, and only once in the entire story does he refer to Frankenstein as his father! More than anything, he refers to him as his Creator.
During his early life, he came across a copy of “Paradise Lost” by John Milton. A huge part of the Creatures character is how he identifies with Adam and, later, with Lucifer.
This parallel is clearly pointed out during their first real meeting, when he retells his story.
Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the Fallen Angel.
They call the creature many things in the story. Daemon, Monster, Ogre, Fiend, Creature, Wretch, Devil. But never Frankenstein.
Not to mention that his lack of a name is also a huge part of his character! He is denied the most basic human rights, including a name!
Of course, a big reason he is called Frankenstein is because of the 1931 movie with Boris Karloff, the most iconic version of the story.
Where, might I add, the Creature could barely speak or walk, instead of being fast, agile and incredibly eloquent… Oh, and guess what! In that movie, he wasn’t called Frankenstein either!
Boris Karloff was credited as “?”.
BECAUSE THE CREATURE DOESN’T HAVE A FUCKING NAME!
Which leads me to my final piece of confusion.
Why isn’t there a proper adaptation of this story?
Am I just missing something, and this story is just impossible to make into a script?
In 80 years of cinema, the closest adaptation we’ve got is either the 1994 version with Robert de Niro or the 2006 mini series with Luke Goss. But with both versions, they took several artistic liberties with the story, that weren’t needed!
You’d think that, in this day and age, with the technology we have at our disposal, we’d get an adaptation of this amazing story. Surely someone would be able to take this story and adapt it?
After almost 200 years of waiting, will Mary Shelley’s immortal classic get the adaptation it deserves?
No, of course not! Instead we get fucking I. Frankenstein!
And no, I haven’t seen it, and I’m not going to! If I want to see a bad adaptation of this story, I’ll just watch Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein! Sure, that’s still a bad adaptation, but it’s also a great movie!
At least with that movie, I’m too busy laughing at a great comedy, to be seething with frustration over being denied a proper adaptation yet again!
And if you want to watch it ironically, because you want a movie that’s so bad it’s good, I’ve got news for you! There’s already a Frankenstein adaptation that’s so bad it’s good!
It’s called Van Helsing!