Star Wars and Frankenstein

(Welcome to The Movies That Made Star Wars, a series where we explore the films and television properties that inspired George Lucas’s iconic universe. In this edition:Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein.)

It feels almost impossible to judge the cultural impact of the Universal Monster movies as they began releasing in the United States almost a hundred years ago. Looking at the box office figures and the interconnected universe they spawned over the 1930s and ‘40s, it was something akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars for audiences of its day. The Frankenstein films, for the most part, starred Boris Karloff and were very loose interpretations of the classic Mary Shelley classic from 1818. Its themes of creating life after death and playing God were powerful and the films brought these ideas to easily shocked or offended audiences in the time before the Production Code. It even had to be edited down for blasphemy in some parts of the country because of Dr. Frankenstein’s bold statement that he’s replaced God by giving life to the monster.

It’s no wonder that director James Whale’s vision of obsessed “men of reason” abandoning that reason in the pursuit of creating life would factor a strong influence in the Star Wars films. Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein were both syndicated on television thanks to Shock Theatre and Son of Shock, making indelible impressions on everyone who watched them on television through the ‘50s, ‘60s, and beyond. There’s certainly a chance that a young George Lucas was one of those kids watching creature features, and absorbing everything.

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NECA Frankenstein Figure

It’s alive! The fine toy makers at NECA are kicking off a new line of Universal Monsters action figures with the classic adaptation of Frankenstein from 1931. In honor of the film’s 90th anniversary, NECA is releasing a Frankenstein figure featuring the incredible likeness of Boris Karloff as the reanimated, stitched up monster with bolts on his neck.

Get a look at the incredible NECA Frankenstein figure below. Read More »

Guillermo del toro's frankenstein

Guillermo del Toro‘s Frankenstein movie, which never got made, is just one of many great “what if” Hollywood scenarios involving the cinephile director. He had been talking about making the movie as far back as 2008, but sadly, it never gained enough traction to get it to the starting line.

It did, however, get far enough that del Toro’s frequent collaborator, actor Doug Jones, saw a bust of his own head as Frankenstein’s monster, and in a recent interview, he describes what his version of the classic horror character would have looked like. Read More »

mondo universal monsters puzzles

It’s going to be a graveyard smash over at Mondo, who are releasing four Universal Monsters puzzles this December. The puzzles, which feature Frankenstein, The Wolf ManDracula, and Creature from the Black Lagoon, are designed by beloved poster artist Francesco Francavilla, whose classic designs have been transformed into gorgeous 1,000-piece puzzles.

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Bride of Frankenstein Vinyl Soundtrack

This year marks the 85th anniversary of the horror sequel The Bride of Frankenstein, the follow-up to the certified 1931 horror classic Frankenstein. Regarded as one of the greatest sequels in film history, the score by Franz Waxman is also an iconic piece of cinematic composition, and now you can bring the original music from the movie home on vinyl for the first time ever thanks to a new release from Waxwork Records. And they’ve got a new Bride of Frankenstein Spinature to go along with it. Read More »

Waxwork Records Spinatures

There aren’t a lot of ways to decorate your record player. You could toss some stickers on the lid, pick up a cool slipmat. But that’s about it…until now.

Waxwork Records is introducing a new collectible line called Spinatures, highly detailed turntable-spinner mini-busts featuring iconic characters from pop culture, horror movies, and beyond. They’re starting with an entire line inspired by the classic Universal Monsters, and the first one out of the gate is Frankenstein. Get a look at the first Waxwork Records Spinatures below. Read More »

Space Force Bloopers

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, watch bloopers from the first season of Netflix’s comedy series Space Force starring Steve Carell, John Malkovich, and more. Plus, a video essay from Patrick (H) Willems takes a look back at what we might call the Dark Universe of monster movies from the 1990s, like Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Wolf with Jack Nicholson. And finally, Patrick Stewart and Henry Cavill interview each other in a new edition of Variety’s Actors on Actors video series. Read More »

Frankenstein poster

Nearly one hundred years after they first hit theaters, the classic Universal Monster films remain timeless allegories about the complicated, conflicted nature of mankind. Now Vice Press and Bottleneck Gallery are aiming to pay homage to films like Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, and more with a new poster and print collection dedicated to the Universal Monsters, and it kicks off this week with Anthony Petrie‘s twisted take on Frankenstein. Check out the full piece below and find out how to get your hands on one.
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Frankenstein Stage Production

In 2011, the Royal National Theatre in London staged a production of Frankenstein directed by Danny Boyle and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. And this was no normal take on Mary Shelley’s classic tale. To change things up, Cumberbatch and Miller would alternate their roles, with each actor having an opportunity to play both Dr. Frankenstein and his creation. The productions were filmed, and have been previously broadcast in movie theaters, but now, the National Theatre’s YouTube page will stream both versions on two different dates.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

blumhouse frankenstein

Now that The Invisible Man is a huge hit for Blumhouse, more Universal monster reboots are all but guaranteed. Universal already has the Dracula spin-off Renfield in the works, as well as Elizabeth Banks’s Invisible Woman. What else could we see in the future? According to Blumhouse head Jason Blum, the answer is Frankenstein. Blum recently revealed he’d love to make a new Frankenstein movie – and this isn’t just wishful thinking. He’s actually reached out to filmmakers to try to develop a new adaptation.

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