London, SW1P 4RG, England

The mad scientist and his hunchbacked assistant, the misunderstood monster and the rampaging mob of lynching locals -- this iconic 1931 black and white film is the template for most people's idea of a "monster movie". James Whale's definitive monster film, from Mary Shelley's Gothic novel, has set the conventions for much of the horror genre, and became a metaphor for the fear and mistrust over the march of science in the early 20th century. The creation scene in the Castle Tower, with its hi-tech (for the time) lab and lightning-bolt kick-start, has been reproduced (and spoofed) again and again, from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Young Frankenstein. As the tragic monster, Boris Karloff's brilliant performance as the bolt-necked creature in the too-small jacket, tracing his journey from creation through to destruction, is largely wordless, with his eyes alone conveying his confusion, curiosity or rage, and it marks him out as one of the most sympathetic monsters ever. An absolute cinematic classic.

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Added by wurzeltod on April 26, 2006

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