Last weekend, I traveled to Orlando for "Halloween Horror Nights" at Universal Studios, where I also had the good fortune to find James Whale's FRANKENSTEIN playing on the big screen in City Walk. Naturally, I gobbled up the chance to take in the big screen experience, though the afternoon showing I went to only had six people in attendance--and that included me, along with the two people I talked into tagging along. Still, watching Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, and Dwight Frye in larger-than-life form made the early evening drive back home very much worth it.
The big screen also gave me an opportunity to soak in one of the my favorite moments of the film, specifically when the monster intrudes on Elizabeth as she prepares for her wedding. This sequence has never lost its unsettling impact for me, as we see the monster clearly unhinged after accidently drowning a young girl, and it doesn't seem entirely outside the realm of possibility that he does something unspeakable with Elizabeth. The implication seems all the more evident when we consider the need he feels for a mate in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.
I love how Whale frames the scene to look like Fuseli's 1781 painting, "The Nightmare," which features an incubus crouching atop a sleeping woman. Perhaps Whale structured the scene this way intentionally, calling upon an association with the painting's metaphor for transgressive sex. Or maybe I just want to view the film in a kinky way . . .