Director: James Whale
Stars: Colin Clive, Boris Karloff, John Boles, Edward Van Sloan, Frederick Kerr, Dwight Frye
The basic concept behind Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, famous adapted by director James Whale for his 1931 genre classic of the same name, is the ghastliest of ideas: a monster created from various parts of long-buried corpses. As brilliantly played by the great Boris Karloff, Frankenstein's monster is so unforgettably chilling that it's easy to overlook the fact that a figure made up of different body parts should look more disjointed and piecemeal.
Still, Karloff's incarnation of the walking dead man achieves a distinct level of horror through the monster's slightly human but mostly lifeless look. Injecting just the right amount of pathos into the character, Karloff disarms the viewer, leaving one prone to sympathizing with the beast (he just wants to be loved, after all) while fearing the moment when he does something horrific. —MB