MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN. 1994. PRODUCED BY FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA. DIRECTED BY KENNETH BRANAGH. MUSIC BY PATRICK DOYLE. BASED ON THE NOVEL BY MARY SHELLEY. STARRING KENNETH BRANAGH, ROBERT DE NIRO, HELENA BONHAM CARTER, IAN HOLM, TOM HULCE, JOHN CLEESE, ROBIN HARDY, RICHARD BRIERS, CHERIE LUNGHI, AIDAN QUINN AND CELIA IMRIE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
Most people consider this American gothic horror film to be a pretty faithful adaptation of the FRANKENSTEIN story. It stars Kenneth Branagh, Gilderoy Lockhart from the HARRY POTTER films, as Victor Frankenstein. He plays the scientist who, if he isn’t mad to begin with, certainly is slightly unhinged by the time the terrifying story ends…
Victor’s story originates in Geneva. He is the son of the wealthy Baron Frankenstein and his missus, Caroline. When Caroline dies giving birth to Victor’s baby brother William, Victor is gutted and he swears to find a way to cheat death, something which I’m sure we can all agree is not the most sensible of ideas. His mind’s made up, however. Off he toddles to Ingolstadt University, where he immerses himself utterly in creating new life from the body parts of corpses. It’s so important to get a good, all-round education, isn’t it…?
When he eventually succeeds in his crazy mission, the results are so hideous that Victor immediately regrets his actions (they always do, you know…!) and washes his hands of his creation. The poor hideous creature, movingly played by Robert De Niro, has no choice but to try and make his own way in the world, something which is pretty hard to do if you’re as ugly as sin and not half as much fun. Victor was pretty cruel to the creature when you think about it, giving it life and then turning his back on it forever. There will be repercussions, people. You mark my words…
Meanwhile Victor, believing himself to have gotten rid of the ‘thing,’ toddles back to Geneva to marry his childhood sweetheart and adopted sister Elizabeth, played by Helena Bonham-Carter. Believe me when I say that her hair has never been higher nor more elaborately messy. She has truly outdone herself this time. Big hair aside, a couple of truly horrific incidents occur once Victor is at home once more in the bosom of his family. Could it be that the creature is back on the scene and is looking to revenge itself against Daddy Dearest…? It could, dear readers, and what is more, it is…
Make a bride for me, demands the creature to its creator when the two eventually meet face-to-oh-my-sweet-jesus-what-the-hell-is-that…? No way, man! replies Victor, repulsed by the very notion that he and the abomination he calls Sonny Boy were ever connected. Yes, way, counters the creature, because if I don’t get laid soon, I’ll see to it that you don’t either! Or words to that effect. See what happens when you start trying to play God…? It’s never worth it, is it…?
When Robert ‘Are you tawkin’ ta me…?’ De Niro’s pathetic but ferociously strong creature realises that he ain’t getting a female equivalent of himself to snuggle up to at night, he goes ape-s**t. A series of even more horrific events than before begin to unfold at breakneck speed. I can’t tell you about them because they would constitute spoilers, see?
You can trust me, though, when I tell you that what occurs really is horrific. The creature’s aim is to see that the creator who abandoned him loses everything and everyone dear to him. Does he succeed…? That’s something you’ll have to watch the film to find out.
The action is bookended by two scenes set in the Arctic wilderness. Aidan Quinn- he’s Oirish loike meself- plays a sea-captain desperate to reach the North Pole with his crew. If you’re wondering what-the-diddly this has got to with the FRANKENSTEIN story, well, that’s something else you’ll have to watch the fillum (that’s how we say it here in Oireland) to find out, haha.
The ending is sad and ceremonial and the moral is loud and clear. Don’t f**k with things that you don’t understand. There are some things, like the Can Of Mystery in THE SIMPSONS, that man is just not meant to know.
Watch out for John FAWLTY TOWERS Cleese, by the way, who is virtually unrecognisable as Victor’s college professor, Waldman. Well, visually, anyway. His voice is the same. Funny, though, how Bobby De Niro is recognisable straightaway even under a ton of theatrical make-up, but the same can’t be said for the man who’s famous for hanging the picture, insulting the guests and rustling up a Waldorf salad in one of Torquay’s most infamous hotels. It’s a funny old world all right.
‘Coming, Sybil dear…!’
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
6) CATCH OF THE DAY
7) FIFTY FILTHY-DIRTY SEX-POEMS YOU MUST READ BEFORE I DIE.
8) FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
9) THE DEVIANTS
10) VISITING DAY