Frankenstein (2015) Film Review

There have been so many films over the decades based upon the hugely influential and famous book by Mary Shelley. This new version I watched a week ago does change things around just a little and because of this does bring some new things to the story.

This Frankenstein film is directed by Bernard Rose (most famous for directing the first Candyman movie) and starring Carrie-Anne Moss, Danny Huston, Xavier Samuel. The begins right away with the ‘birth’ of the monster, this time called Adam (played by Xavier Samuel). We see that he is created in secret by married scientists Carrie-Anne Moss and Danny Huston. They run tests, try to teach him skills, and he starts life much like a naïve simple child. He does though possess a dangerous increased strength and eventually this almost has him terminated. After struggle, Adam escapes and runs away alone.

After this it moves along in similar fashion to the original story-the monster/Adam meets and accidentally kills a small girl, runs from police officers, blood is spilled as he runs on alone, confused and desperate.

The film is told from the point of view of the monster/Adam and set in our modern world. This does make it fairly more believable and more tragic in some ways. This does contrast in my mind with the large scale, big budget mid-90’s film version starring De Niro as the monster, with huge sets and costumes and set way back around the time that the original book was written.

Adam soon meets a friendly homeless blind-man on the streets who tries to give him advice and help him to understand people and how the world around them works. If you know the story, you can expect that eventually it all does again fall to pieces with increasing death and destruction around Adam. The end is more different to how the tale usually winds up and is trying to say something through the eyes of the monster this time.

Bernard Rose is a very talented director and while this film has a fairly low budget he does take care in crafting a very thoughtful and poetic film, while it does not shy away from explicit bloodshed and gore fairly frequently. It is probably one of the more bloodsplattered versions of Frankenstein on film but this does not ruin the film. Another director doing the same thing, with same levels of blood and gore may have put out a much more simplistic disposable movie. With this version of the classic tale, Rose opens out some different thoughts on man creating man or life in our modern technologically advanced times, but also how such an artificial being would exist, feel, struggle against our fearful, aggressive and shallow world.

James E. Parsons is author of SF books Orbital Kin and Minerva Century both out now in paperback/ebook/hardback in all good bookshops internationally and online from Waterstones, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others. His first horror novel will be published toward the end of 2017.


The fear, the candy, the costumes…

So there goes Halloween 2015. Was it fun for you? What did you get up to this year? I saw groups of ghouls, dead brides, drunken corpses, confused zombies and ruined witches among many others trailing the streets. I watched some vintage werewolf action on screen and continued reading a tale of witches and ganglords.

But what does it all mean today? Is there really anything to be afraid of these days? It is all make-up and costume, candy and party fun for many. We here in the UK and now right on track with the American way of getting all dark and spooky, lapping up the consumerism and frivolity. An excuse for a wild party night, a time to play pranks, scare and play tricks.

I am never sure which films to settle down with. Should I go for a legendary old black and white classic such as Frankenstein, Caligari or Nosferatu? Or go with a Romero zombie attack, a Cronenberg body horror or 80’s splatter bloody nightmare?

There are many real things to scare us in this day and age- terrorism, corporate exploitation, modern-day slavery, cyber attacks, bio-viral epidemics and more. So many things in the real world-guns, drugs, cancers-do we then look to horror films, terror tales for an equal but slightly more safe escapist form of fear thills and chills?

I hope you all had a good, safe night of whatever kind of creeping Halloween entertaiment you were looking for.

Dread, full of blood…

Over the last couple of weeks I have been gradually catching up with the lastest big budget creepy tv series Penny Dreadful. Now, when I first saw pictures and heard about it many months back, I was not too interested or did not expect very much at all from it.
A couple of episodes in and…Oh…my…god…
What the heck are these writers doing?
No, this is good, really good overly dramatic splattered gore chills and gothic thrills and creeps. Alright so when I learn that the show throws together a handful of classic mostly well known gothic literary characters, much like Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen I had some doubts. I has not all been fantastic-at times it has dragged, slowed down, seeming slightly lost with plot or direction. But when it kicks off and shacks loose…wow. It gets like Dracula meets the Evil Dead movies.
Really I already admired Eva Green, but she really must have put herself through so much for her extremely challenging, demanding role. Good to also know that Timothy Dalton can still be quite great at times, as an older actor and post-Bond. The Frankenstein character and his monster might not be working totally well, but it still has some moments.
I do look forward to the next series, but am almost really guessing as to just what could happen and where it could all go next.


There comes news via the SFX magazine site, of an unusual new film inspired by the classic FRANKENSTEIN tale, this time called I, FRANKENSTEIN and directed by STUART BEATTIE, a man previously known as having been involved as writer of films including PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN:CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (2003), 30 DAYS OF NIGHT (2007), PUNISHER:WARZONE(2007), and well, G.I. JOE THE RISE OF COBRA(2009). Excusing that last terrible expolsive mess, BEATTIE now writes and directs this new interpretation of the FRANKENSTEIN story.

This movie comes from a graphic novel produced by one writer on the UNDERWORLD movies, KEVIN GREVIOUX. Apperently so far, the premise does share parallels with the UNDERWORLD films-their waring groups of werewolves versus vampires, only here with different beasts or monsters.

From a view of FRANKENSTEIN though, will this produce an all new inspired version, without rehashing and simply reforming old tropes of horror and film genre history again?

Personally the best interpretations to screen in my opinion would include of course, the JAMES WHALE 1931 BORIS KARLOFF version, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1933), HAMMER FILMS productions starring CHRISTOPHER LEE and PETER CUSHING-THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN, FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, and yes I do defend the critically mauled and mocked Hollywood epic version FRANKENSTEIN of 1994 starring ROBERT DE NIRO, HELENA BONHAM CARTER, and directed by and starring KENNETH BRANAGH.

There was also the fantastically bizarre MEL BROOKS spoof comedy YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN with GENE WILDER (1974). Then more recently a little seen smaller budget version a few years back directed by a personal favourite director MARCUS NISPEL, who has directed the remake of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, and recently the CONAN remake. This version was some kind of slight attempted adaptation of the FRANKENSTEIN novels written by DEAN KOONTZ over the last decade or more, which actually have modern urban settings in plot and outlook similar to this STUART BEATTIE version due soon.

Are there just too many versions of this hugely influential classic novel?

Like DRACULA, there will always be another, no stopping it. In many ways, it is always interesting to see how new directors and writers take on their own view and interpretation, in many different ways, no matter how many terrible versions appear over the years.

The monster of FRANKENSTEIN is loose, always roaming unbound, to be seen again in many ways, we can be certain.