2011 12 23 Dymocks d Publishing an Opportunity being Wasted

The film credits to Bride of Frankenstein state, “Suggested by the original story written in 1816 by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.” At least they finally used the correct name of the author. In fact, Bride of Frankenstein was more than suggested by Mary Shelley’s story; a number of the script ideas were clearly inspired by the novel. The film opens with an introductory vignette, much as the novel opens with the expository letters of Captain Walton.


In this case, though, director James Whale creates a fictional sequel to a real event—the night when Mary Shelley first conceived of her novel of human creation. Here, once again, Mary is in the company of Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, on a ghostly night “when the air itself is filled with monsters.” Mary surprises her lover and friend with news that the creature never died in the windmill (using the ending of the prior film and not the novel) and announces that there is more of the story left to tell. This opening sequence to Bride of Frankenstein is often overlooked by horror film fans who are anxious to proceed to the true beginning of the feature, but there is much to admire in this introductory scene.


The setting is in a dark castle high on a hill; there is a storm of wind and lightning outside. Inside, Mary and the others are talking in a room with the highest of ceilings, as a delicate minuet plays in the background. It is, as Mary says, “a perfect night for mystery and horror, ” presumably just like the night that the real Mary Shelley purportedly first conceived of her famous novel.