Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween Movie Month: Frankenstein

Frankenstein (1910)

This is a loose adaptation of the classic Frankenstein story.  In this version, Frankenstein is a young medical student who discovers a way to reanimate the dead.

This version is from Edison Studios and is considered to be one of the first American horror films, if not the very first.  Since it is such an early recording, the video quality is understandably pretty bad.  In the version that I watched, the music was very clear - so it had obviously been re-recorded.  Since it was a new recording, I'm not sure if it is the same musical score that was used with the original film.  However, there were several different versions that all used the same score, so I assume that it is either the original score, or it is the most widely accepted one.  In some of the versions, the music is very weak, which does not help improve the quality of the film.  In the version that I watched, the music was just haunting enough that it did help to set the tone.

Even though this was just a short, silent film, there were some moments that were very intriguing.  When the monster sees himself, he is terrified of his own existence.  But, to me, the best part of the film was the creation of the monster.  The effect of the monster being created was achieved by filming the monster falling apart, and then playing the footage in reverse.  While this is a common technique now, it must have been absolutely groundbreaking at the time!!

I could see how this might have been terrifying when it was released in 1910, but it was not nearly as creepy as I was hoping it would be.  One of my favorite movies is Nosferatu (you can read my full review here to find out more about why I love it so much).  With as hauntingly creepy as Nosferatu is, I was hoping that Frankenstein was going to be a bit more scary.  The scariest part was when the monster was actually being created.  On the one hand, it was pretty creepy to see the monster form around a skeleton in a cauldron.  On the other hand, it looked a bit like Geoffrey Peterson (Craig Ferguson's sidekick) taking a bath.

Rating/Recommendation:  2.5/5.  There were some inspired moments, but overall, it didn't leave as lasting of an impression on me.  It's worth checking out though, primarily because of the historical aspects.  While the movie itself didn't have much of an impact on me, I did love watching one of the first horror films to see how far things have come in the last century!  If you are going to watch it, I recommend this version:

Be sure to check back soon for more reviews in Halloween Movie Month!  In the meantime, leave comments on this (or any other) review, follow me here and on twitter (@GargyleReviews), and let me know what movies you'd like for me to review for Halloween Movie Month!

-The Gargyle


  1. I left a long comment here about not understanding your critiquing scale and needing a direction for it and why the ABCs of Death got a higher score when THIS movie was one of the FIRST ever in existence and it should have a curve on it due to when and how it was made but the internet seemed to eat the post so WHATEVER.

    1. Thanks for believing! I know that I need to work on my rating scale. I don't really have clearly defined criteria yet. As of right now, my rating scale is basically how much I like it and how likely I am to watch it again. Basically, the rating scale is as follows:

      1/5 - It was absolutely horrible and I will never watch it again. Burn it. Burn it with fire!

      2/5 - I didn't care much for it. If I was with friends and they wanted to watch it, I would try to persuade them otherwise, but I probably wouldn't leave if they decide to watch it. I might watch it on tv if nothing else is on, but I wouldn't add it to my queue.

      3/5 - it was ok. It wouldn't be high on my list to watch again, but I would be willing to. I would add it to my queue, but probably wouldn't actually spend money on it.

      4/5 - I really liked it and I would most likely watch it again. I'd probably buy it if it was a good price.

      5/5 - I absolutely loved it and I would definitely watch it again! These are the ones that I want the blu-ray deluxe editions of!

      I know that's not the best scale. I do want to improve it, but I've not yet decided on the specific criteria. As of right now, the scale is not necessarily about the quality of the movie, but more about the enjoyment of it. So, I am not saying that The ABCs of Death is a better movie than this original Frankenstein. If I was basing my critiques on the historical impact and the legacy that they have created, then Frankenstein would receive a much, much higher ranking!