Take some dead body parts. Stitch them together. Add one mad scientist, and toss in a lightning bolt for good measure. What do you get? The Frankenstein monster! Alternately portrayed as both a mindless killer and a misunderstood gentle giant, the Frankenstein monster is a classic Halloween creep. Learn more about him with these thirteen freaky facts.
1. The young Mary Godwin, later wed to poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen.
2. As a houseguest of Lord Byron, Mary Shelley was invited to participate in a challenge. Byron, Shelley, and the other guests set about writing the most frightening story they could. Shelley won; she claimed that her inspiration came from a vision she’d had, wherein a pale student of science knelt over a body which he had just imbued with artificial life.
3. Doctor Victor Frankenstein is the name of the mad scientist character who created the monster and gave it life.
4. Frankenstein is a German name meaning, “stone of the Franks”.
5. Victor Frankenstein was based on a real person: Johann Konrad Dippel, who was a physician and mad scientist obsessed with creating life through scientific means. His birthplace? Castle Frankenstein, near Darmstadt, Germany.
6. The name Frankenstein is commonly, but incorrectly, used to describe the monster itself. Throughout the novel, Dr. Frankenstein refers to his creation as “devil”, “fiend”, and other venomous epithets – but the creature is never given a proper name.
7. Frankenstein was released anonymously in 1818, and was originally sub-titled: The Modern Prometheus. Both Frankenstein and the Prometheus tale serve as warnings against too-high aspirations.
8. The Frankenstein monster first appeared on film in Edison Studios’ Frankenstein of 1910.
9. Universal Studios’ Frankenstein was released in 1931. Actor Boris Karloff played the role of the creature. Bela Lugosi was initially offered the role, but refused.
10. The Frankenstein movies paved the way for many sequels, including Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, and Ghost of Frankenstein. Some notable Frankenstein parodies include Young Frankenstein, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which features Doctor Frank N. Furter.
11. The Frankenstein monster makes a modern screen appearance in 1994’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, where he is portrayed by Robert De Niro. The monster is also featured in 2004’s Van Helsing.
12. Herman Munster, cosmetically based on Frankenstein’s monster, was the father of a nice, if creepy, family in the television series The Munsters.
13. In 2006, horror writer Dean Kootz penned a series of novels that reimagine the Frankenstein story in present-day New Orleans.
– Wikipedia Entry, “Frankenstein in Popular Culture”. Wikipedia.Org.
– Frankenstein Films Archive, “Frankstein Movies”. FrankensteinFilms.Com.
– Internet Movie Database, “Frankenstein Movie Trivia”. IMDB.Com.
– Stephen Wagner, “The Real Monsters of Halloween”. About.Com – Paranormal.