Everyone knows about The Bride of Frankenstein, widely mentioned as that rare sequel to equal or be superior to the original film, and its a shame I have taken so long to finally watch it. Luckily for me my local library had a blu ray copy, and it had not been too long ago that I had seen the first film, which is also a classic in its own right. There are certain things about the sequel that I prefer to the original, most notably the addition of a key member: Dr. Pretorius (a wonderfully flamboyant Ernest Thesiger). The good doctor is the driving force that makes Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) proceed to create a new monster, one to be a mate for the Monster (the legendary Boris Karloff), who of course survived the mob attack depicted in the previous installment.
This film begins the trend of horror sequels depicting previous events so new viewers would not be left behind, and it is also more brutal than the original film. Karloff starts off by murdering a poor couple who had the misfortune to investigate if he was dead or not, and yet in this film he begins to discover his own humanity. The Monster even learns how to speak, and it is this film where the poor blind man (hilariously parodied in Young Frankenstein) befriends the creature, only for others to drive the poor beast away. I also am amused that the titular creature is hardly even in the film, saved away for a wonderfully dramatic and intense moment near the film’s end. This movie also has a surprisingly amount of comedy, which Whale perhaps inserted to dull some of its more harsh edges.
While I am not sure if this is better than the first film, I still love it just as much, seeing as Universal wisely brought back the original cast and crew that made the first film so great. Too bad the rest of the sequels did not involve James Whale, although I still want to seek them out as well. I have an odd fascination with horror film series, and Universal deserves both praise and disdain for giving birth to them in the first place.