Thursday, October 20, 2016

Halloween Monsters: Frankenstein's Monster

Frakenstein's monster. Of all the Halloween-related monsters, this one is perhaps my favorite. Sounds crazy, right? Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and now even zombies have become sexy. Though how you make rotting flesh and eating brains sexy is a question for another day. 

These days monsters are written into paranormal romance novels and movies as the romantic heroes. But not Frankenstein's monster. Poor guy. And I have to wonder why not?!? (I mean if zombies can make the list...)

Frankenstein, to a certain extent, is the grand-daddy of today's traditional Halloween monsters. The character was conceived by a woman--which is awesome. Mary Shelley wrote the book and published it anonymously in 1818. It was written as a bet between herself, her eventual husband Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori. The bet was to see who could come up with the most terrifying story. And, for originality, I would say Mary won it hands down.

In 1819, Polidori wrote The Vampyre - what is considered to be the literary precursor to all vampire books, including Bram Stoker's Dracula which wasn't published until 1879. But Polidori's book was still based on local folklore. Shelley's was purely from her own imagination. And what makes Shelley's book terrifying is the reality of the situation. While vampires are scary in their other-worldly powers, Frankenstein's monster is a tragic figure, born of modern science.

The real monster is Dr. Viktor Frankenstein himself. The "monster" created at the hands of Dr. Frankenstein, and then rejected outright by that man, is, in my opinion, someone to be pitied, helped, and loved. Granted, in the end the monster murders several people, but those acts are direct response to the life of cruelty he must endure alone. And the murders are acts of revenge against his creator.

While Mary Shelley does describe the monster--who is never given a name--as hideous, it wasn't until Boris Karlof's portrayal in the 1931 move Frankenstein, that the green skinned, flat headed monster with the bolts in his neck became the popular and iconic image. In my opinion, this image is part of why this monster hasn't transitioned in literature and movies the way his peers have.

Personally, I feel there is great potential here for this monster to find his place among the contemporary romantic heroes like vampires and werewolves. If you go back to the basic concept, this person is actually just a bunch of body parts from many different people, sewn together and then stimulated to bring it to life. The scars would be very much a part of who he is. But the original monster only wanted to be loved and accepted. He even asked for a female counterpart to be made so that he wouldn't be lonely.

So next time you think about writing a paranormal romance, consider taking on Frankenstein's monster - and give the poor man a name while you're at it. Even monsters need love.

“...once I falsely hoped to meet the beings who, pardoning my outward form, would love me for the excellent qualities which I was capable of unfolding.” - Frankenstein's monster

Happy Halloween!

11 comments:

Diane Burton said...

Great post, Abigail. Since I don't like "scary" my favorite Frankenstein movie is Young Frankenstein with Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle as the Monster. My fav scene is when the Monster sings & dances to "Putting on the Ritz."

Victoria Craven said...

This is a great post. I never thought of making Frankenstein's monster sexy. An author would have to dig down deep for that one.

Abigail Owen said...

Thanks Diane! I can't do scary because my imagination takes over and scares me every time I'm home alone. Lol. I do love that scene with the monster in Young Frankenstein. :)

Abigail Owen said...

Thanks Victoria! Strangely the idea came to me when I watched the movie version with Robert De Niro. His monster was far from sexy, but very sympathetic. I think it could be done. It's getting away from the neck bolts, green skin, and weirdly shaped head. ;) Maybe I'll work on one for next Halloween!

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

Great post, Abigail. Have you seen the "monster" of Frankenstein in Penny Dreadful? A very intriguing portrayal... Your post was most thought-provoking!

Author GE Stills said...

great and thought provoking post Abigail. Shared.

CJ Burright said...

You're so right, Abigail! I always felt so sorry for Frankenstein, and that moment in the movie when the little girl gives him a flower and he finds the first person who is kind to him is burned into my memory.

Patricia Lynne said...

Ooo. I would enjoy seeing Frankenstein's monster appearing in his own novels and stories.

Alicia Dean said...

Excellent post! I've always been intrigued by Frankenstein. I loved the movie with Bela Lugosi, although I never made it through the entire book. I do admire Mary Shelley, though. You know, I've actually tinkered with writing a romance about Frankenstein, and it's not so much the green skin and neck bolts that turn me off, it's the fact that he's made up of body parts from corpses. I really don't think I could get past that. :)

Maureen said...

Although I'd not considered it before, after seeing the pic you have from the newer movie, I now do wonder why "Frank" isn't considered sexy! Great educational post- it really helped me learn more about the story. Thank you!

J Hali Steele said...

Don't like Zombies, never read them and haven't watched THE show! But Frankenstein - LOVE his story. Yeah, someone should write about him and give that poor creature a name, Abigail. Hmmm... Really enjoyed this post.