Long before a neck-bolt-adorned green monster advertised candy at Halloween, a young woman wrote a story to tell to a group of friends. This story was later developed into a novel and published. Though not written for
Halloween, it has become an icon of horror in all forms of media and is recognized by a vast number of people.
The book is, of course, Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein,” but the monster that is one of the most visually recognizable is more a creation of Universal Studios than Shelly’s imagination.
In fact, while most people simply refer to the monster as “Frankenstein,” he has no name in the book. Victor Frankenstein is the scientist who created the monster, not the monster himself.
“Frankenstein” is indeed frightening, but it is frightening more on principle than in a blood-and-guts sort of way. What is frightening is Victor Frankenstein’s attempt to independently create a creature and give it eternal life. The thought of a soulless, vengeful being roaming freely about the streets is enough to give anyone nightmares.
Victor Frankenstein’s intention was not to unleash a monster, nor is he the insane, wild-haired mad scientist the media popularly portrays. He is merely an ambitious young man whose goal is to create a form of undying life.
The current zombie craze is, in a sense, just that. Zombies are essentially people who ought to be dead but who, for one of a variety of reasons, are still walking about terrorizing the population.
Since Frankenstein’s monster is made up of parts of dead bodies that have been reanimated using electricity, he is something of a zombie. Rather, a bit of a conglomerate zombie. This theme of death and eternal life has always fascinated people. From the oldest cultures who took certain precautions during burial to ensure that the dead person was indeed dead to the modern films that show the terror of the “zombie apocalypse” and how to avoid it, people in general seem to want to make sure that the dead stay dead — well, most people.
What is surprising is the fact that Frankenstein’s monster was not always a “bad