Used and abused … Frankenstein’s Monster never has a good time, does he?
249Going back to 1920’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, in which a mesmerist uses his powers of suggestion to compel a somnambulist minion to commit crimes on his behalf, the horror genre has made copious use of this scenario, in which the more overtly monstrous are controlled by conniving and devious minds to exact revenge or simple profit. There is the Mummy, of course, who has been used by zealous protectors of the lost crypt, time and time again, to punish those colonial Time-Teamers who have desecrated sacred tombs. But perhaps no creature more than those that have been fabricated by the deluded Baron Frankenstein have been exploited more to enact the bidding of a nefarious manipulator.
The poor Monster was used by Dr. Pretorius in Whale’s outstanding The Bride of Frankenstein. He was then hugely duped into murderous deeds by Lugosi’s aggrieved, broke-necked Ygor in Son of Frankenstein and, it would seem, cast out to strangle, hurl, break and ravage Eastern European enclaves of curmudgeonly burgomasters, corrupt jurymen and other interfering officials from that point onwards. In the case of Hammer’s excellent The Revenge of Frankenstein, their second body-stitching, brain-transplanting opus, the creature would return the persecution upon those who had previously spited his former hunchbacked affliction, and in Frankenstein Created Woman, the studio would marvelously have a falsely accused hanged man’s brain and memories placed within the body of his raped and murdered lover, the victim of a vicious tavern-rabble, and return to wreak their combined wrath upon them with her reborn body. But Hammer would, just as Universal had done so many times before, have the Monster become the lumbering brutish pawn in another’s strategy of hate-filled vengeance. Especially so in this, the third in their successful grave-snatching series of ugly, implausible and downright irresponsible body-building surgical vanity.
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