Last night, I sat in a full theatre and watched Bride of Frankenstein on the big screen. This morning, I woke up to gray, rainy weather. The day before my birthday, and two days before Halloween, and it finally really feels like October.
There’s nothing left to be said about Bride of Frankenstein, and if there were, I probably wouldn’t be the guy to say it. I love the movie by now, unabashedly, though I think Son or maybe House of Frankenstein are my sentimental favorites of the Universal Frankenstein flicks. Bride has so much great stuff going on, though, and for all that Elsa Lanchester is beautiful and iconic and amazing as the titular character, the best contribution that it made to Frankenstein canon, for my money, is the equally iconic Dr. Pretorius (“no such name”), who appears at the door as a figure of death as if summoned, and takes Frankenstein away from his marital bed to help him make monsters in the night. Whose name is invoked again and again, as if to conjure him. Who comes from nowhere, and who gets all the film’s most wonderful lines, save maybe a few gems left to Karloff’s monster or to Elsa Lanchester playing Mary Shelley in the beginning.
I went with a group of friends and fellow writers, at least one of whom had never seen the movie before. He had the same stupefied reaction that I’ve observed in everyone–myself included–who I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Bride with for the first time. It’s just that kind of movie.
In the opening sequence of Bride, Lanchester’s Mary Shelley is prompted by her husband and Lord Byron to finish the tale of Frankenstein’s monster on a dark and stormy night, which she agrees to do, saying, “It’s a perfect night for mystery and horror. The air itself is filled with monsters.” If that phrase doesn’t sum up Halloween perfectly, I don’t know what does. I’ve said before that Halloween is the one time of year when the world in real life most closely resembles the way it is in my head all the time, and I remember Eric Orchard once saying, “I could always use more bats and jack-o-lanterns in my world.” That goes double for me.
I’ve got one more post planned before the season is over, but the next couple of days are likely to be busy, so if you don’t hear from me again, happy Halloween all, and I hope you watch at least one scary movie and read at least one spooky book to commemorate the occasion.