Bride of Frankenstein

Year: 1935
Studio: Universal
Director: James Whale
Cast: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester
This was one of those films I watched after reading how great it was in so many magazines I respected. So I was expecting a chilling, psychological thriller, not a campy, badly dated film with paper mache rocks, fake studio backgrounds and melodramatic gestures - but unfortunately that's what it is.

The titular character appears for about thirty seconds at the end of the movie, and the actress playing her watched far too many birds. Karloff should have stuck to the groaning mute he was in part one. The cornball scenes of him befriending the blind villager and the guttural uttering of lines like 'Smoke. Good' are a painful embarrassment to watch.

In what must have been cinema history's first shameless sequel cash in, the monster has miraculously survived the burning windmill from the original film by hiding in the waterlogged basement, crawling out to commit havoc again.

Meanwhile, a psychotic doctor (who you're waiting to break into a chorus of Dr Evil-like 'mwa-a-a-a' at every minute) has been conducting experiments of his own, and blackmails the shaken but now settled Viktor into helping him create a mate for his infamous creature.

The themes that make the whole Frankenstein mythology so powerful are barely touched on, abandoned by cheap thrills (admittedly what 30's audiences probably wanted).

But while it was probably sweeping and terrifying in its day, the style of dialogue and $2,000 special effects budget just don't cut it any more. And comic touches like the indignant peasant woman and the snivelling police chief might have been a real crowd pleaser in the 1930s, but you only have to look at jar Jar Binks to see how badly it falls down now with a more sophisticated and discerning audience.

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