10. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Vintage horror films can be a bit hit-and-miss – I’m all for theatricality, but some of those old classics take it too far even for me. There are great bits in the Bela Lugosi Dracula, for instance, but I find quite a lot of it boring. Same applies to the revered European stuff eg Murnau’s Nosferatu, which looks wonderful but clunks along on screen. The Bride of Frankenstein is a different kettle of fish – and very queer fish they are too. The monster is one of the great creations of that era – and of course the bride herself, as portrayed by Elsa Lanchester, is the most glamorous thing ever. But it’s the freaky mortals that interest me most, particularly Dr Pretorius, the sinister camp eminence grise played by Ernest Thesiger. Annex - Karloff, Boris (Bride of Frankenstein, The)_03He more than anyone seemed to understand director James Whale’s peculiar artistic vision: part horror, part comedy, part heavily coded fable of sexual outsiderdom. I’m also very keen on the permanently hysterical Una O’Connor, whose every appearance makes me roar with laughter. The Bride of Frankenstein is one of those films that, like The Wizard of Oz, you can watch again and again and still find new meaning. And the final ‘wedding’ is hilarious, touching and tragic.


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