20th Century Fox
Think about Frankenstein. You know, the iconic monster tale that has instilled a healthy dose of fear into generations of readers, and then moviegoers, with a myriad of ghoulish phobias. Strange lights up on that hilltop? Definitely a monster coming to life somewhere nearby. Graveyards at night? There’s a looting for sure. Standing anywhere near a pond holding a flower? No thanks.
Now take that story, the legend of a mad scientist and his madder assistant crafting together a hulking man made out of spare parts – the ones just laying around a cemetery, like they do – and that monster’s quest to function in everyday society without accidentally murdering anyone, maybe get married to a lady with amazing hair, and just go one day without someone calling him Frankenstein, and think of ways to improve it. More pitchforks? Nah. Make him wear a cute hoodie? Sorry, I, Frankenstein already beat you there.
Set the story in modern times and move the action to Los Angeles? Bingo.
Though this regretfully isn’t called Beach Frankenstein and features a totally tubular surfing sequence with the Wolf Man and the Hunchback, what is promised for the modernized monster is horror and violence, and how welcomed that is. Frankenstein is helmed by Bernard Rose, the director of Candyman – another nightmare staple. Rose has adapted the script himself from Mary Shelley’s original classic, meaning that although the setting seems a little odd, he’s been straight to the source for inspiration and information. All good signs.
Our titular monster (Adam – Frankenstein is like his Dad, okay?) will be played by Xavier Samuel (Fury, The Twilight Saga), and the story will be told from his perspective. Adam was created by a husband-wife team of mad scientists (Danny Huston and Carrie-Anne Moss, respectively) with the same intentions as the original story, in that they’re insane and want to create a human by themselves. Their little experiment goes awry when Adam is thrust out into the real world and is somehow met with “aggression and violence” from the world around him. Can anybody think of why that might be?
To make an iconic such replicated story feel original again will be a feat. It could be a major misstep, like the infinitely cartoonish and un-scary demon war presented in I, Frankenstein. It’s going to take a lot more than just moving the monster to 2014 and setting him up in a great place near Santa Monica. With Rose directing and writing, the outlook is good; as someone who has proven himself in the horror genre, and again, someone who thought to consult the original work while penning the script, it’s likely that we’re going to see a breathtakingly bloody adaptation.
Mary Shelley would be proud. It’s clear that Frankenstein is en vogue, even 196 years after she published her novel. With this Frankenstein to add to the roster of adaptations – both good and not so great – it will be interesting to see how this film does near the biopic of the author herself, Mary Shelley’s Monster. Bring on the science experiments and let’s see this modern-day monster.