The Original

Frankenstein’s creation, as described in the novel, has never appeared on film. Mostly we’ve been given reanimated patchwork corpses. When I reviewed the novel I came to the conclusion that, while some of ingredients originated in the charnel houses the creature had to be more than just stitch together body parts. There are a couple of films that apparently come close in appearance – Hallmark’s 2004 miniseries and Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove – but even they are unlikely to have presented him in his full glory. Shelley doesn’t give much of a description –

“His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!-Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath: his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriences only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips”

Beyond that he’s eight feet tall and, unlike most of the slow lurching film versions, he can move swiftly, with agility and quietly.

A good recent depiction I’ve seen was by Steven R. Bissette for, of all things, a recent translation of the Phantom of the Opera. For some reason my links to his site aren’t working so you’ll need to go to and look around in the sketch section.

Berni Wrightson did an incredible illustrated edition of the novel (the 1834 version) in the early nineties. His creature is both sad and hideous.

So the portrait at the top of this entry is my version of novel’s creature as he might have looked in the century after the novel’s events. He’s older. He’s, if not at peace with humanity, no longer at war with the world. He’s found a place for himself and his kind, hidden away in the place human beings don’t think to look.

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