31 Days of Horror. Day 25: Bride of Frankenstein

Every year we have a tradition in the Forto house where we celebrate the greatest month of the year, October, with scare your socks off, hide under the covers, turn on all the lights, sleep with one eye open, fright fest, movie marathon everynight of the month! We call it 31 Days of Horror.

Bride of Frankenstien

This is the sequel that began the sequel craze so common in the horror genre today. They went out on a limb, even way back in 1935 to capture the viewers attention but fell a bit short. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Frankenstein movies but it just is not as good as the first one.

Fun Facts:

When filming the scene where the monster emerges from the burnt windmill, Boris Karloff slipped and fell into the water-filled well. Upon being helped out, he realized he had broken a leg in the fall. The metal struts used to stiffen his legs (for the famous “monster lurch”) helped keep the bones in place until they could be properly set.

Shot in 46 days at a cost of approximately $400,000.

Boris Karloff sweated off 20 pounds laboring in the hot costume and makeup.

In the opening and closing credits the cast list says “The Monster’s Mate” followed by a question mark.

The “body count” in the original cut was 21. This was trimmed to 10 after pressure from the censors.

Production of this sequel to the original Frankenstein was publicized as early as 1933 by both Universal Studio press releases and the trade paper “Daily Variety”, but director James Whale did not begin work on it until late 1934. With a budget under $300,000, it was originally entitled “The Return of Frankenstein”.

One of James Whale’s criteria for taking up the director’s reins on the film was that he would have complete artistic freedom. This was easily achieved, as Universal’s studio head Carl Laemmle Jr. was vacationing in Europe at the time.

As a result of audience reactions from the film’s preview screenings during the first week of April 1935, the film was extensively re-edited. Many scenes were deleted and trimmed, and at least one, the scene where the Monster stumbles into the Gypsy Camp, was added in. As a result of the editing, the original uncut film was approx. 15 minutes longer than its official release length of 75 minutes.

Elsa Lanchester was only 5’4″ but for the role was placed on stilts that made her 7′ tall. The bandages were placed so tightly on her that she was unable to move and had to be carried about the studio and fed through a straw.

Boris Karloff protested against the decision to make The Monster speak, but was overruled. Since he was required to speak in this film, Karloff was not able to remove his partial bridgework as he had done to help give the Monster his sunken cheek appearance in the first film. That’s why The Monster appears fuller of face in the sequel.

It is considered inaccurate to refer to the Monster by the name “Frankenstein” rather than “Frankenstein’s Monster”, however in the prologue, Lord Byron actually does attach the name Frankenstein to the monster.

The original trailer promises “a lifetime of entertainment in two hours”. The final edit ran 75 minutes.

Elsa Lanchester’s shock hairdo was held in place by a wired horsehair cage.

Elsa Lanchester said that her spitting, hissing performance was inspired by the swans in Regent’s Park, London. “They’re really very nasty creatures,” she said.

“The Bride”, the most obscure of Universal Studios‘ Classic Monsters, is on screen for less than five minutes and is the only “Classic Monster” never to have killed anyone.

Doctor Pretorious’ full name is “Septimus Pretorious”; this is actually Latin and means “royal seven”, a reference to the seven deadly sins – as well as an indicator of his true nature.

Elsa Lanchester never receives on screen credit as “The Bride”. The character is listed as being played by “?”.

The scene in which the monster encounters the Gypsy camp was filmed shortly before the scheduled release date as a substitute for a scene that had been edited out after sneak previews because of censorship concerns. Since the scene was filmed long after the completion of principal filming – and after the film’s musical score had been completed – the Gypsy camp scene is the only segment of the movie that has no musical score.

Due to his overwhelming fame as a “thriller” actor, Boris Karloff was billed simply as “Karloff” – no first name needed.

What is your favorite scary movie? Let us know we would love to hear from you!

 

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