Mary Shelley first published the story of Frankenstein in 1818. The story of a scientist tormented by the life he had created easily captured the imagination of the public. In 1910, Thomas Edison created the first film inspired by the characters, which I reviewed earlier this month. Universal Studios released their version in 1930, and Boris Karloff is still the iconic version of the monster. Since then, dozens of films have been released that are either direct adaptations of the novel, or inspired by Universal’s film, or just use the characters in some form or other. There is no shortage of films with which to compare the novel to, but for this edition of “Version vs. Version”, I decided to go with the 1994 film, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. Marketed as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, it purports to be closer to the original novel than other films.
In some ways, this is accurate. In other ways, it really, really isn’t. Continue reading →
It’s the first Friday in October, and you know what that means! Being Friday means it’s time for the Weekly Weblinks, and being October means there’s a lot of spooky and scary content to be shared. From other bloggers, we have reviews of two spooky flicks for kids, a horror anthology for adults, and an in-depth look at the master of suspense, plus a new sci-fi feature that’s getting a lot of love lately and a whole lotta love for some actors who don’t get the spotlight often.
The press agencies are getting into the Halloween spirit as well, although there aren’t any horror films mentioned in the news bites. No, instead they’re settling for just making the news itself horrifying. You’re sure to find something to scream about, so read on for the Weekly Weblinks! Continue reading →
Mary Shelley published Frankenstein in 1818. The mad scientist and his monster have become icons, used and referenced in literature and film and television ever since. And in the case of film, that goes back nearly all the way to the birth of the medium, with a 1910 short silent film produced by the Edison Manufacturing Company. Like a lot of things with Thomas Edison’s name on it, Edison had no direct hand in the film, though he may have acted as producer, and credits were not given to any of the crew. Further, the film itself was long considered lost. Fortunately, however, The Edison Kinetogram, a film catalog, was discovered in the 1960s, which reminded people of the missing film, as well as informing who performed the roles. The film itself was rediscovered in the 1970s. It’s not in the best condition, visually, but it’s still possible to make out what’s happening, and even a suboptimal copy is better than it remaining lost. After all, this is the first appearance of Frankenstein’s monster on the screen. Continue reading →
Before I begin, I feel obliged to apologize for starting my “Recommended Reading” series of posts with a book that may be hard to come by. Not the most heavily published novel to begin with, A Night in the Lonesome October has apparently gone out of print in recent years, and online markets seem to be starting the prices at $14 and up for even a paperback edition. It’s just the way of things… when it comes to science fiction and fantasy, things only stay in print if the author is alive and writing, has been dead for more than 100 years, or if the book has recently been turned into a major motion picture. With Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October, none of those things is true, and so it’s become a bit scarce. We can hope that NESFA, the publishers of the Collected Roger Zelazny series of short story compendiums, will eventually get around to reprinting some of his novels, but it hasn’t happened yet, and “Lonesome October” may not be one of the early selections in any case.
Still, though it may require you to scour the used book stores, I feel strongly about recommending this novel, especially at this time. We are, after all, approaching Halloween season, so it will soon be the optimal time to read it. Although I’m jumping the gun a bit on the season, I figured the extra lead time would hopefully give people a chance to pick it up while it’s still Halloween time. And this is a great book, one of my favorites. Published in 1993, it was the last novel completed by Roger Zelazny before his death due to cancer, and he is at the top of his game here. One of his few novels to deliberately have a light-hearted, humorous feel to it, A Night in the Lonesome October is also full of intrigue, sinister plots, and just enough action to keep things exciting without overwhelming the mystery. It was nominated for the 1994 Best Novel Nebula Award, but lost out to Greg Bear’s Moving Mars.