2. Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)
Director: James Whale
Stars: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Elsa Lanchester, Ernest Thesiger, Valerie Hobson, Gavin Gordon
When casual moviegoers think of Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein, chances are that they’re recollecting the monster’s cinematic debut in 1931, a film that’s widely considered to be the birth of American horror. And thinking of director James Whale’s original classic isn’t a bad thing at all—it’s just that, all things considered, 1935’s Bride Of Frankenstein is the pinnacle of both Whale’s horror career and Universal’s groundbreaking monster movie run back in the ’30s. A remarkable picture that’s stood the test of nearly 80 years, Bride Of Frankenstein has it all: genuine scares, first-rate acting, impressive special effects, and a striking audacity uncommon for its time.
It’s also the originator of the old “the monster is unkillable” trick used to death by every slasher movie franchise. Except in Whale’s film, the justification for Frankenstein’s resiliency, after he was presumed dead at the end of ’31’s Frankenstein, doesn’t feel like a cheat. The patchwork zombie’s reward for surviving the first movie’s burned-down windmill: He gets an equally deceased female companion (played by Elsa Lanchester).
Too bad she shoots him down, a cold shoulder move that doesn’t lead to anything positive for everyone in sight—any dude who’s been denied by a lady should feel his pain as he destroys the laboratory. So, yeah, every man alive can relate.