What better way to spend a spooky night in than with a classic Frankenstein adaptation? From black and white to appearing in contemporary TV shows, Mary Shelley’s tale of a man who wanted to create it all is still one of the most iconic representations of gothic literature. Not only is it iconic in literature, but the image of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster is a very important part of Halloween. I think we’ve all seen a few monsters walking around asking for candy on October 31. Keep reading to find out which spooky adaptations are our favorite and why!
Mary Shelley’s 1818 gothic novel inspired many different adaptations we all know and love today. Did you know it is one of the first stories to be created into film? Decades before the 1931 adaptation we’ve added to the list, Frankenstein appeared on the big screen in 1910. Have a look below!
A very iconic beginning to a story that continues to be recreated. Let’s look at the Frankenstein adaptation we absolutely love. Make sure to add all of these to your watch list!
1. Penny Dreadful (2014-2016)
If you’re a fan of literature, you may recognize the name ‘Penny Dreadful’ from the serial literature that became popular in the United Kingdom around the 1830s. While the show is not specifically centered around Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his creature, named Caliban and later John Clare, play a big role in the show’s storyline.
Penny Dreadful stays incredibly true to Shelley’s story, which is why we love it so much. Caliban’s deep love for poetry and the emotions he shares with the other characters make you really connect with him. It’s also a fun treat to see classic gothic stories intertwined with one another. You’ll find some surprising faces in this adaptation including Dracula and Dorian Gray.
2. Frankenstein (1931)
The 1931 classic adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of the most iconic. You’ll find this one on DVD in most places around Halloween time and see Frankenstein’s monster all over Halloween decor. This Universal Pictures adaptation stars Boris Karloff as the Creature and Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein. The depiction of our “mad” scientist and his hunchbacked assistant have become iconic images within pop culture and led to many of the adaptations we’ve seen today.
The United States Library of Congress selected this specific adaptation in 1991 for holding historical significance. It is preserved in the National Film Registry. 1931 was definitely a great year for film! Frankenstein and Dracula were both released that year.
3. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
We all know and love the pop culture image Frankenstein gave us, and it’s no different when thinking about The Bride of Frankenstein film! Boris Karloff and Colin Clive returned in this 1935 sequel The Bride of Frankenstein alongside a new face, Elsa Lanchester. And thank goodness they did, because this chilling horror film is perfect for a double feature spooky night in.
The Bride of Frankenstein is considered one of the greatest sequels ever made. You’ll find the iconic image of ‘The Bride’ throughout pop culture and many even dress up as her for Halloween going as a duo of The Creature and The Bride! Alongside Frankenstein, the United States Library of Congress selected this horror sequel in 1991 for holding historical significance too.
4. Hotel Transylvania (2012)
Hotel Transylvania gives us a very contemporary look at Shelley’s character. While they call him Frank in the movie (and we all know Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t named Frankenstein), it is a very refreshing and fun take on the gothic monster. He has a wife and always loses his head. His best friend is Dracula and The Invisible Man. You’ll find some classic horror characters sprinkled throughout this quirky animated film series.
While these aren’t spooky movies, they are extremely ‘feel-good’ and make for the perfect fun night in. If you watch this and end up loving it, they’ve made quite a few in the movie series. You could spend your whole weekend watching them!
5. Frankenweenie (2012)
How could we not include a Tim Burton adaptation on the list. It just wouldn’t be right! Especially since Frankenweenie is a very adorable (but also spooky) take on Shelley’s gothic story. This film gives you all the spooky Tim Burton vibes you need on your next Halloween movie night. It is a remake of Burton’s original short film from 1984 of the same name.
The movie follows a young Victor Frankenstein as he uses his scientific mind to resurrect his dead furry friend Sparky. The film is also entirely in black and white making it the first feature-length film to be released in IMAX 3D! Frankenweenie is a favorite movie amongst pups I hear, so watch it with your furry friend!