Archive for October, 2009

AWESOME-tober-fest 2009: The Thomas Edison Frankenstein movie

Posted in Frankenstein, Halloween, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on October 26, 2009 by Paxton

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Welcome to Day 1 of Frakenstein movie week. Last week I looked at different novels and comic books that featured the Frankenstein monster. This week, I’ll be looking at different movies that feature the Frankenstein monster.

I’m going to start with the first movie to adapt Mary Shelley’s novel. Filmed in 1910, today we are looking at Thomas Edison’s Frankenstein.

1910 Frankenstein

Created by Edison Studios in New York, this was the first filmed adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel.  Also, since horror as a genre didn’t exist in 1910, this also marks the first horror movie ever produced.  At the time of its release, the film was censored and banned as being too frightening and weird (David Lynch would probably have been shot, burned and drowned as a witch in 1910).

Frankenstein title card

Shortly after release, the film was taken out of circulation and prints were scattered.  Some to collectors, some to be destroyed.  The film became so lost that when Universal’s 1931 Frankenstein was released, Edison’s film was never even mentioned.  For many years it was thought that this silent film had been lost for good.  No copies could be found anywhere.  Then, in 1963 a film historian discovered the above Edison Studios catalog with details and accompanying pictures of Edison’s production and a frantic search was begun to find the missing cinematic treasure.  The film never turned up in over 20 years.  Then, in the late ’70s, it was learned that a film collector, Alois Detlaff, had the only remaining copy in his collection.  Rights and money issues are still keeping this film from being released in theaters or on home video.  There is a version of the movie that was filmed from the projected image.  You can see it here.  It’s a short, silent film, but fascinating to watch as an example of EARLY, early filmmaking.

That’s Day 1 of Frankenstein movie week. Check back tomorrow as I review the Boris Karloff Frankenstein movies from Universal.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2009: Frankenstein comic books!!

Posted in comic books, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2009 by Paxton

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This week we looked at Frankenstein’s many appearances in books and novels. Today, I want to take a look at Frankenstein’s appearances in comic books. Specifically, his cover appearances.  Having Frankenstein’s monster make an appearance on a comic cover gave companies an instantly recognizable character that could lure in more readers.  Plus, having your hero battle Frankenstein’s Monster was pretty BAD ASS.

Let’s take a look at some of the cooler comic covers featuring our friend Frankenstein (‘s monster).

Classic Comics 26 Classics Illustrated 26
These are the Classics Illustrated comic adaptations of Mary Shelley’s novel. The comic on the left is the original from 1941. The comic on the right is from ’47 or ’48.  It’s a reprint of the comic on the left with a nice, new painted cover.

Briefer Frank 2 Briefer Frank 10
Artist Dick Briefer created his own version of the Frankenstein monster in the early 1940s. It ran in Prize Comics as a feature. Briefer’s Frankenstein character got his own humor comic in 1945. Issue #2 of this comic is on the left up there and Issue #10 is on the right. Briefer was known for his color and composition. His Frankenstein was very popular and ran well into the ’50s.
Here’s some nice artwork featuring Briefer’s Frankenstein fighting an alligator. Wait…he’s fighting an ALLIGATOR?! I wonder why. Oh yeah, probably because it’s f***ing AWESOME.
Frank vs Gator

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2009: A Potpourri of Frankenstein books

Posted in books, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday with tags , , , , , , , on October 22, 2009 by Paxton

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Frankenstein is one of those novels that always gets really cool, creepy covers.  Here are some covers of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein that I find appropriately scary, creepy and cool (along with some that aren’t so cool).

Frankenstein 2
Penguin Classics always have nice, attractive covers.  Not that I find half naked men bent over at the waist attractive…but this cover is nice in an aesthetic “book cover” way not in an “I love naked men” way.

Frankenstein 3
Very cool, atmospheric cover. However, if that is The Monster on the cover, then he looks more like a demon. Or Rumpelstiltskin. Actually, Rumpelstiltskin is the first thing I thought of when I saw this cover.  Mainly because it looks like it’s 4.5 feet tall, whereas in the book the monster is said to be 8 feet tall.  So Franken-Rumple-stein here is creepy is what I’m really trying to say.

Frankenstein 4
Very nice, painted cover. Interesting that it uses the Universal movie styled Frankenstein and lab. And who is the blonde?  If it’s Elizabeth, Frankenstein’s fiance, then this painting mixes the movie’s look with the book’s story.  Wow, I’m liking the zaniness of this painting the more I stare at it.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2009: Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein book review

Posted in books, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday with tags , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2009 by Paxton

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Continuing my look at books inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Today is a series that is a direct sequel to the original Frankenstein by popular thriller writer Dean Koontz.

Koontz Frankenstein 1

This book was first published in 2005 and is book 1 of a (so far) 5 book series. I actually got books 1 and 2 for Christmas from my brother back in 2006 but never got around to reading them. Koontz is a very popular horror/thriller writer. He wrote the popular Odd Thomas series and many years ago I read two other books by Koontz, Watchers and Hideaway. They were both well-paced thrillers, but nothing to get super excited over (I’ve not read another of his books since). This Koontz Frankenstein series is fairly popular so I thought it would be a good time to give it a shot. And the verdict is…AWESOME.

This is a suspense filled, tightly paced thriller. I loved every page of it. There are numerous subplots going on and despite being nearly 500 pages, it’s a fast read. I originally thought Koontz was completely re-writing the Frankenstein story, but this book is actually a sequel, taking place 200 years after the events in Shelley’s novel. Two New Orleans detectives are on the trail of a serial killer known as The Surgeon who is stealing victim’s body parts. The killer keeps eluding the police and the city is held in fear of this madman. The original Frankenstein monster is summoned by an old acquaintance from his hiding place within a secluded monastery to come to New Orleans and determine if his creator is back performing experiments. It’s an intriguing premise written with speed and lots of action. Also, this book is obviously a series, so you get some closure in this book, but it’s left wide open for the sequels. I don’t want to give much more away, but I highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading Book 2: City of Night.

Dean Koontz Frankenstein GN

In fact, I enjoyed this book so much I may go ahead and order the first book in the Odd Thomas series from PaperbackSwap. Koontz (with the help of co-writer Kevin Anderson) may have just shoehorned himself back into my reading list.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2009: The Frankenstein Papers book review

Posted in books, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2009 by Paxton

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Frankenstein book week continues.

After deciding that I would read Frankenstein this Halloween, I wanted to also read a few other books that were inspired by or based themselves on the original Shelley novel.  One of the books I chose was Fred Saberhagen’s The Frankenstein Papers.

Saberhagen Frankenstein Papers

The Frankenstein Papers billed itself as somewhat a sequel to Shelley’s novel.  Fred Saberhagen is a popular genre writer. He’s written several series of books including The Berserkers and The First Swords saga. Saberhagen has also written several books based on Stoker’s Dracula. The Dracula books (as well as this Frankenstein book) tell the events of the original novel from the monster’s point of view. It’s a clever idea that I found fascinating enough to order it from PaperbackSwap.

Frankenstein papers

This book, not surprisingly is written in a very similar style to Shelley’s novel. The events in this book happen during and in-between the events of the original novel. The monster, after the events in the original novel, is trapped in the far North and finds the captain’s log in the abandoned ship, The Argo (titular ship from the original novel). The monster begins writing down his side of the story, which means the majority of this novel also happens in flashback. As I said, the style and writing is remarkably similar to Shelley’s novel. And, like the original, it starts off a tad slow. But as the story moves forward, the book gains momentum and you start to see the events of the original novel from the monster’s point of view. Also, several events in the original novel are expanded upon. In Shelley’s tale, Victor Frankenstein becomes interested in electricity after watching a tree get struck by lightening. A family friend who’s also an expert in electrical energy happens to be there to explain some of the science to him. This event is given even greater importance in Saberhagen’s book when the identity of the “family friend” is revealed to be Ben Franklin who begins searching for Victor and the monster as he feels partly responsible for the monster’s creation. This chase for the monster and certain revelations about the nature of the monster make this a fun read. The book answers the “truth” about Frankenstein’s monster and what really happened that night of the creation. And it’s…odd. Like completely out of left field. I have to admit, I didn’t see it coming. And it’s so weird that you will either love it or hate it. It’s gonna be that polarizing.

However, despite the ending, The Frankenstein Papers a good book that starts a little slow, picks up in the middle and has an intriguing ending. If you liked the original novel, I believe you’ll like this, however you may hate the ending.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.