Frankenstein: How a Monster Became an Icon
Published by Pegasus Books, 2018. 254 pages
Edited by Sidney Perkowitz & Eddy Von Mueller
Being a sucker for any books on Frankenstein, the movies, the novel, and/or anything in between, it was a no-brainer to add this one to my library when it came out. At first glance, I figured it would be another one of those psycho-babble titles, filled with such ludicrous ideas and theories. But as I started to dig into it, not only were my initial fears were wrong, I found this a very intriguing and interesting read, with plenty of ideas, theories, and information that really got my brain working.
Editors Perkowitz and Von Mueller have gathered a collection of authors that really know this subject and have quite a few interesting things to say about it, as well as giving the reader a variety of subjects relating to Shelley and her famous creation. The book covers a variety of topics, from Shelley’s original novel, to the many adaptations of it, to the science and the morals and ethics behind it. There is even an interview with filmmaker Mel Brooks, talking about Young Frankenstein (1974)! There are chapters that discuss different aspects of Shelley’s story, such as the creature and how it is looked upon, perceived, and treated, and why? These are the parts that I found most fascinating since it really gave you some ideas to think about, if Shelley really had these in mind when she wrote it. We get to hear about how Frankenstein’s creature has invaded the media over the last 200 years and how it is used, which again, I found very interesting to see how far this character has come these last two centuries.
Larry Fessenden is one of my favorite filmmakers, because not only does he create entertaining films, but they are smart, well made, and highly effective. Ever since my first experience with his early film Habit, it still remains what I would consider one of the best of modern day vampire films. So when I read the news that he was set to direct his version of Shelley’s Frankenstein, a personal favorite classic monster of mine, I was more than excited.
The will be called Depraved and should start filming this month. It will be a modern day re-imagining of Shelley’s tale. Now, I know we all hate the phrase “re-imagining”, but in the hands of Fessenden, I am more than hopeful that it will be something highly effective and memorable. Fessenden says “I’ve been moved by the iconic character since childhood and it is a great thrill to try and put my version on screen.”
It deals with a combat field surgeon that is dealing with his PTSD once he comes back from the Middle East. While back home in Brooklyn, he creates a man out of body parts in his homemade lab. The film will star David Call, Joshua Leonard, and Alex Breaux as the monster.
I try not to get too excited or look forward to films before they are even close to coming out, but I have to say, this one is one that I’ll be counting the days until its release.
With year being the 200 year anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s immortal tale, Frankenstein, I was hoping that there would be some sort of celebrating going on during the year. And it didn’t take long for author Christopher Fraying to appease that desire.
Published at the end of last year, this book “traces the journey of Shelley’s Frankenstein from limited-edition literature into the bloodstream of contemporary culture.” Since I’m not only a sucker for reference books, when they are one of my favorite subjects of the genre, then you got me right away. This volume is just over 200 pages, and a nice 9.5″ x 11″ sixe, so it will make a nice coffee table book. Plus, it looks to be filled with a wonderful array of images, photos, artwork, from the beginning to modern day adaptations. According to the description on the publisher’s website, the book also features “new research on the novel’s origins, and a facsimile reprint of the earliest-known manuscript version of the creation scene; visual material on adaptations for the stage, in magazines, on playbills, in prints and in book publications of the nineteenth century; series of visual essays on many of the film versions – and their inspirations in the history of art; and Frankenstein in popular culture – on posters, advertisements, packaging, in comics and graphic novels.”
How could any Frankenstein fan not want to immediately order their copy of this book? The retail price is $39.95, but you can get it on Amazon right now for considerably lower. In fact, the book has 4 reviews on Amazon already, and all of them give the book 5 stars. I know once we receive our copy, we’ll get our review posted as well.
Frankenstein: A Cultural History
By Susan Tyler Hitchcock
Published by W.W. Norton & Company, 2007. 392 pages. Hardcover.