From the early stages as a 19th-century story of reanimation to today as an unmissable principal player of the horror community. Frankenstein’s monster is safe to say emblematic. But there isn’t that much to say about Frankenstein himself, sure his motivations to create a perfect being are often examined, but the folks are only interested in the creature. (Even going as far as to get the unarmed behemoth confused with Frankenstein himself). In 2015, Max Landis graced cinema screens with his telling of the legend of the promethium man, with a twist.
Rescued from a life of brutality in a 19th-century circus, an unnamed hunchback with an encyclopaedic knowledge of anatomy quickly becomes friends with his liberator, Victor Frankenstein, a young medical student. They quickly become partners, with the hunchback taking on the name of Victor’s mysteriously missing flatmate, Igor. With their love of anatomy, they quickly set to work, pushing the boundaries of medical science at the time, further and further, but at what steps does this scientific curiosity turn into obsessive sacrilege?
The majority of the film’s charm comes from the relationship between James McAvoy’s Frankenstein, and Daniel Radcliffe’s Igor. McAvoy manages to flawlessly blend between the comedic and serious moments of the script. But the film has other strengths, don’t get me wrong It has top-notch visuals, from the designs of Victor’s early attempts at reanimation to the impressive locales Victor and Igor find themselves in.
While the story could be considered a remake, it is very much an adaptation, focusing almost exclusively on the creation of The Monster, from Ivor’s perspective. Innovations are plentiful as early on Igor is released of his ailment (mainly so we can see Radcliffe poised as his young heartthrob self) and not the cackling hunch-back we’ve grown used to. Igor’s backstory has also been fleshed out, with ambitions of anatomy and a romantic condenses of a fellow trapeze artist of the circus. Landis does give us (but mainly newcomers) the bare bones of what we expect from the telling of Frankenstein but manages to also augment and adapt it for fashionable current audiences.
In Victor Frankenstein, we get the same treatment of the story, as the monster did in the novel, a recharging burst of electricity that brings new life and a new perspective to the fable. With strong chemistry, a delightful wit, and pleasing visuals make this a charming entry point for newbies, and a fascinating adaptation for those who want variation in their horror classics.
Some of Frankenstein’s earlier projects manage to be fascinating and creepy at the same time.
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