Hello all, here is my first major project for this class! I apologize that it’s a week late (yikes) but this semester has really been kicking my butt. As someone who has personally been swamped with essays and writing assignments, this project was refreshing and fun to do. I essentially made a collage/map/poster visual of sorts with different images of the creature from Frankenstein depicted in film. I was thinking of doing my project based on this because I thought it was interesting how the visual descriptions of the creature in the book differ from the media adaptations following. I did some digging and printed out pictures of different creatures from film to put together this collage! The following are the steps that I took for this project . . .
Step 1: Researching, Printing And Gathering Materials
Step 2: Ripping Out And Cutting Up Papers
Step 3: Assembling And Gluing Everything Together
【 THE FINAL RESULT 】
For those curious about which films the pictures are from, starting with the top center black-and-white photo and going clockwise following the red marks, they are — Frankenstein (1910), Frankenstein (1931) x2, The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) x2, The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) x2, Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) x2, Frankenstein ‘80 (1972) x2, Young Frankenstein (1974), Frankenstein (2011), and Victor Frankenstein (2015). And the quote, if you can’t read it, is “It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.” (Chapter 5)
It was a bit harder than I thought to put everything together in the way that I wanted because I am not the best with arts and crafts. It was one of those instances where I had a specific vision in my head and the result wasn’t exactly what I was envisioning, but I think it still looks decent regardless! What I noticed while looking up different depictions of the creature in film is that there are SO MANY of them. The few that I printed out here are only a tiny, tiny fraction. I think on the Wikipedia I was referencing there were about 70 listed, and that doesn’t even include things like TV shows
Before this class, I had never read the original Frankenstein book before, so most of my assumptions and what I was going off for the creature was the stereotypes and images that are represented in media. What really struck me while reading this book was how the creature is much different than he is normally painted as. In the book, he’s described as being a relatively normal-looking man, aside from his massive height and the fact that he is made from different body parts. He has black hair and yellowish skin and white teeth and proportionate parts, and Victor even goes as far as calling him beautiful. But as most of us know, in different adaptations in the media he is never really depicted like that. He is almost always covered in deformed scars or with green skin and sometimes even bolts in his neck. He looks (and often acts, but that is for another time) very zombie-like, while in the book he is much closer to human.
The first Frankenstein creature from 1910 is interesting because he has such a monster-like pose and facial expression, and even though he isn’t painted green he has crazy-looking hair and very strange, unnatural-looking hands. It was the Frankenstein film in 1931 that started with the classic green skin, squared head, and bolts-in-the-neck look, and you can see in years following that the theme really sticks for a while. It was during this decade or so that a lot of Frankenstein movies and spin-offs were being made, and they all used the same kind of visuals. It was only until relatively recently that some films depicted the creature with natural skin color or more human-like features closer to the original texts. But I think it’s fascinating how that brief period of time where they embraced the green character design is still used today. TV shows appearances, artwork, Halloween costumes, and other cultural comments still reference these visuals even now.
It was these observations and curiosities that made me want to put something together like this. I wish I had more time or a bigger canvas because then I would’ve added many more films and maybe dived deeper into different depictions of the creature through time. But with what I ended up doing, why does my response matter? To answer this question, I think that even though my response is just a poster, it matters because seeing how the creature was shown in other forms is both interesting, important, and relevant to the text. I think that it could be a starting point for more discussions about the differences between original texts and adaptations, of differing visuals, or the impact of character designs. And creating things, even if simple or sloppy, is another form of art such as literature!
“List of Films Featuring Frankenstein’s Monster.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Mar. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_featuring_Frankenstein%27s_monster
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, Frankenstein. 1818
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4 thoughts on “Images of Frankenstein’s Creature”
First off, I wanted to begin by saying how much I absolutely LOVE old black and white films (especially horror classics like “The Wolf Man”, “The Invisible Man”, “Creature from the Black Lagoon”, ect) so thank yous o much for doing this project! Seeing the old poster for “Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein” brought back so much nostalgia for me! It is interesting to think that this movie monster classic sort of spawned into an unintentional franchise which also include reboots and remakes (like the London Hammer horror films, or the recent remakes and spin offs like “Victor Frankenstein.” I agree with you aswell, as wonderful as this project is, I think it would certainly benefit from a larger canvas (maybe another project could involve and entire canvas of the history of Frankenstein in all media, just an idea.) However either way, you did such an incredible job! Well done!
I seriously love this project! You put in a lot of work and it definitely paid off, it is so well put together and I think it was a really creative idea. I like how you showed us the steps that you took to put it together and it almost felt like I was doing it with you. I also never read the original Frankenstein before this class, so I was also going off of the way people portrayed him in movies and such. But after reading the book there is such a big difference, and I am glad you pointed that out.
I think you should be proud of the end result! It looks very well put together/composed to me. I especially like the backdrop.
It’s very interesting to me to think about how the 1931 film started the trend of green-skinned “monsters”. To me, the green skin is more silly than it is grotesque/monstrous. I had thought that the “horror” of the creature was that he appeared to have all the features of a human but put together in a way that was horrifying. Green skin isn’t really fitting into that, but that’s just my interpretation/opinion of it.
I really really like this project! It’s visually appealing and the concept is so interesting. I think it’s a creative medium to explore all of these depictions.
I think this is a really cool way to look at all of the different ways Frankenstein has been portrayed in film. I had also never read Frankenstein before so it was really enlightening to read that the monster was never really described the way that he is portrayed in film as having green skin, bolts in his head, etc. I also really liked seeing the evolution of how Frankenstein has been shown in 1910, and how it’s shown today. Great job!