Film, video and television productions based on the novel by Mary Shelley:

Frankenstein (1931)

Director James Whale; writers John Balderston, others; featuring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Director James Whale; writers William Hurlbut, John Balderston; featuring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Elsa Lanchester

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Director Rowland V. Lee; writer Wyllis Cooper; featuring Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi

The 1940s Frankenstein sequels (1942–1948)

Directors Erle C. Kenton, Roy William Neill, Charles Barton; writers Scott Darling, Eric Taylor, Curt Siodmak, Edward T. Lowe Jr.; featuring Lon Chaney Jr., Cedric Hardwicke, Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange, Bud Abbott, Lou Costello

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Director Terence Fisher; writers Jimmy Sangster; featuring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee

The British Frankenstein sequels (1958–1970)

Directors Terence Fisher, Jummy Sangster; writers Sangster, Hurford Janes and others; featuring Peter Cushing, Michael Gwynn, David Prowse and others

The Frankenstein parodies (1973–1996)

Directors Paul Morrissey, Mel Brooks, Roger Corman, Robert Tinnell; writers Tonino Geuerra, Morrissey, Brooks, Corman, and others; featuring Udo Kier, Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeleine Kahn, John Hurt, Burt Reynolds and others.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)

Director Kenneth Branagh; writers Steph Lady, Frank Darabont; featuring Robert De Niro, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hulce, Helena Bonham Carter

I, Frankenstein (1994)

Director Stuart Beattie; writers Beattie, Kevin Grevioux; featuring Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Socratis Otto



Bride of Frankenstein scene

The monster (Boris Karloff) takes a wife (Elsa Lanchester)—or tries to anyway.

Fleshing out the family

Frankenstein was a huge hit, especially when paired with Dracula on double bills.

So, of course, Universal Pictures proceeded to drive both franchises into the ground with sequels. But the first few out were actually pretty good, benefiting from funding that the first films lacked. They're smoother, if somewhat less intense, productions.

Monster takes a wife

Many consider the first Frankenstein sequel, Bride of Frankenstein (1935), with James Whale repeating as director, to be an even greater film.

Elsa Lanchester plays two roles, firstly Mary Shelley, who in this movie supposedly recaps the plot of her novel Frankenstein to Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. What she describes though is actually the plot of the Hollywood film based on it. Then she reveals the monster and doctor did not die at the story's end as thought. She's been planning a sequel, it appears, which she then relates—and the movie follows.

Lanchester as bride of Frankenstein

Else Lanchester lets loose

Both protagonists have survived. Another unscrupulous scientist, one Doctor Pretorius, forces Henry Frankenstein to create for the monster a mate, briefly but memorably also portrayed by Lanchester.

This imagined tale actually picks up some of the previously missing elements of Shelley's original novel, such as the monster learning to speak and asking the doctor to make a woman for him.

It is also a more elaborate story than the first Frankenstein movie with obviously more money spent on its sets and actors, and sporting some sophisticated camera work.

At times it does veer into old-fashioned Hollywood melodrama, particularly concerning Dr. Frankenstein and his fiancée (whom we really don't care about).

But Boris Karloff is at his most affecting as the supposed monster and veteran British actor Ernest Thesiger steals several scenes as the sinister Pretorius.

— Eric