Tag: Film

Color photo of Frankenstein's monster looking upwards

5 Differences Between ‘Frankenstein’ and the Film Adaptations

Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley is hailed as the first real science-fiction novel. Following Dr. Victor Frankenstein, it chronicles Frankenstein’s journey to create life and his clash with his creation after he succeeds. Touching on themes of ambition, lost of innocence, revenge, humanity, responsibility and creattion,  Frankenstein is a dense but very worthwhile classic of its genre. However, it unfortunately has been largely displaced in the popular consciousness by its film adaptations. To celebrate its publication anniversary, here are five facts about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and its many differences to work that adapted its spooky tale.

 

Victor Frankenstein stands contemplating the sea in the cover to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Image Via Goodreads

1. The Framing Device

The original novel uses a framing device to tell its story. Captain Walton, a sailor in the arctic, picks up Victor Frankenstein on the ice and brings him aboard his ship. There, Frankenstein tells the tale of how he got here, turning the entire book into one long flashback. The Creature confronts Captain Walton at the end, vowing it will destroy itself via funeral pyre. However, Captain Walton is a character who is very rarely adapted, the framing device being almost entirely omitted from films based on or inspired by the book.

 

Fritz, played by Dwight Fyre, threatens the Monster, played by Boris Karloff with a burning torch
Image Via Telegraph

2. There was no Igor

Dr. Frankenstein’s hunchbacked assistant, Igor, is purely a creation of popular culture. In the original novel, Frankenstein worked entirely alone, creating the monster in a hidden room at his college. He kept the experiment entirely secret and had no outside help at all. The character of an assistant first appeared in 1931’s Frankenstein film in the form of Fritz, before being codified, ironically enough, by Mel Brook’s spoof film Son of Frankenstein.

 

Frankenstein confronts his creation in a 1934 illustration from the novel
Image Via Goodreads

3. The Monster Speaks

The Monster is a very different character from the mute, lumbering brute that was made famous in the Universal Horror films. Although he begins as a borderline feral creature after his ‘birth’, the Monster slowly learns language and reasoning over the course of the novel. He becomes extremely intelligent and articulate, often spending pages contemplating his unnatural existence. He even learns how to make clothes and uses weapons to defend himself as he survives in the wilderness. Compared to his film counterpart, he’s a wholly different beast.

 

Victor Frankenstein and Fritz standing over the Monster on the slab, preparing to give it life
Image Via BBC

4. The Creation is Offscreen

Doubtlessly one of the most famous in cinema is the creation of Frankenstein’s monster. Everything about it is iconic, from the slab the monster rests upon to the flashing laboratory equipment to the bolt of lightning that brings him to life to Frankenstein proclaiming “Its alive, its alive!” But the sequence in question actually isn’t in the original novel! Yes, the creation of the Monster in the book is entirely offscreen and left to the reader’s imagination. Oddly, this makes it more compelling to the imagination…how did Frankenstein do it? We’ll never know but it certainly makes good food for thought.

 

Victor Frankenstein leans over the inert form of the monster in his lab
Image Via Collider

5. Frankenstein Dies

In the novel, Victor Frankenstein pays for his hubris. After trekking the Monster to the Arctic, he collapses on the ice and is rescued by Captain Walton. But it is too late for him and after telling the Captain his story, he expires. Subsequent adaptations have spared Frankenstein his untimely demise, doubtlessly to keep a relatively happy ending.

What are your favorite moments from the book that didn’t make it to the screen?

 

Featured Image Via YouTube

Rafiki

Film Depicting Lesbian Love Wins African Film Festival Award

Rafiki, a film by Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu that depicts lesbian love, has been recognized at the largest African film festival, Fespaco. The festival has awarded Samantha Mugatsia “best actress” for her portrayal of Kena Mwaura.

According to IMDb, the film tells the tale of Kena and Ziki, two girls who “long for something more. When love blossoms between them, the two girls will be forced to choose between happiness and safety.” It is inspired by the short story “Jambula Tree”  by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko.

 

 

Rafiki Stars

IMAGE VIA HUMANMOVENT

 

The award is significant because the film is banned in Kenya, the country it was directed in—an extension of the laws against homosexuality in the country.

The laws, though “recent” as far as their imposition in 20th century by British colonial rule, seem to reflect public opinion of much of the country; 90 percent of respondents to a Pew survey conducted in Kenya in 2013 said that “society should not accept homosexuality.” The laws and public aversion to homosexuality fuel each other in a hateful cycle, since “family members and neighbors sometimes report suspected homosexuals to the police.”

 

Rafiki Stars

IMAGE VIA PINKNEWS

The country’s High Court is set to either uphold or overturn its ruling against gay sex on May 24th, several months after it was originally supposed to decide in February.

In the midst of such conflicting public opinion, the film’s being recognized by Fespaco is an undeniable achievement, and hopefully foreshadows what’s to come for gay rights in Kenya!

FEATURED IMAGE VIA SCREENAFRICA

Horror Noire Sheds Light on a Forgotten Genre of Film History

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror has been making the rounds recently. Released as an exclusive on Shudder, the documentary explores the history of black people in the horror genre, from the ugly roots where black people were written as literal monsters by films such as Birth of a Nation to modern black horror film Get Out. The documentary has received critical acclaim for exploring a topic often swept under the rug or ignored entirely. But what’s lesser well known is that Horror Noire is based on a book. This book, Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from 1890s to Present by Robin R. Means Coleman explores the same topic in its pages, providing an excellent companion piece to the documentary or vice versa.

 

Duane Jones plays Ben in Night of the Living Dead
Image Via Horror News Network

 

Coleman’s interest in the black horror genre began with seeing Night of the Living Dead on rotation at a drive in theatre. In that film, Ben is one of the first significant black protagonists represented onscreen in a non-stereotypical fashion. He takes charge of the situation and lasts beyond his white peers, until the end of the film. There, Ben is shot and disposed of by a group of men hunting down zombies. He’s cast aside with the other dead, his body burned as the credits roll over this image, a terrifying end to the film. This film made an impact on Coleman and began her scholarly research in horror.

 

The book cover of Horror Noire by Robin R. Means Coleman
Image Via Horror News Network

 

In the book, Coleman defines horror films through the lens of black representation through two lenses. “Blacks in Horror” include black actors in significant roles but their roles are stereotypical. ‘Black Horror’ meanwhile finds horror films shaped and created by black directors, writers, etc. to create thematic works that resonate with their audience. Examples of ‘Blacks in Horror’ include films such films where black people serve as the comic relief, the victim for the monster, or have black culture portrayed through a white audience’s eyes, often not well. ‘Black Horror’ includes films such as Blacula, Tales from the Hood, and Get Out. These distinctions are examined critically throughout the book with a wide variety of horror films featuring black people or made by a black audience are dissected in detail, with the lines between the genres often being blurred depending on the era.

Coleman defines each era of black horror by the decade, from the earliest silent films to the modern age, showcasing how black representation goes up and down via the decade. It is interesting to showcase how horror allowed black people representation and true power onscreen, despite being marginalized at the same time. Horror, as Coleman defines it, allows a sense of retribution and equalization that other films genres would not provide for a long time. In this sense, Blacula is defined in the book’s pages as a truly wall shattering piece of piece, dismissed by white audiences but embraced by a black audience, as a black vampire looms large onscreen.

 

The documentary based on Coleman's book, Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror
Image Via Indiewire

 

Horror Noire is a must read for fans of the documentary, as well as fans of horror and film history. Covering in-depth aspects of tons of ‘black horror’ films, from the mainstream to the cult to the exploitation, this book is heavily recommended and sheds new light on what has often been unfairly dismissed as a trash genre, showcasing how much horror has meant to generations of black audiences, in shades of good, bad, and the ugly.

 

 

Featured Image Via Horror News Network