I promise I am not intentionally stacking all these oldies here, this is totally the luck of the random number generator. This post is about the original Frankenstein movie and maybe the monster, too. I started watching another Karloff movie last night, The Ghoul, which I will review in a few days. I realized just how charismatic his performances are. Even the most staid, stale, dusty beginnings of a horror movie are enlivened by his performance. Frankenstein, of course, made him a big star of horror. His departure from the book version is kind of fascinating because it feels like he thought through what it means to be made of dead men. His movements are jerky and forced, like rigor mortis has set in and won't let go. When he becomes reanimated, we have to assume his blood starts pumping again but all those necrotic tissues wouldn't really bounce back would they?
Also, his vocalizations are all grunts and groans as if playing a deaf made who hadn't heard himself speak in years. He can't make his body or vocal chords do what he wants. Likewise, his abnormal brain is constantly rebelling against what he wants to do. Fun times with kids become drowning parties. Lighting a few matches turns into a full-on freak out. And really, as Monster Squad had it pegged, the monster isn't even a villain. It has no real evil about it, just a childlike simplicity that makes it irrational and uncontrollable. Really the villain here is Dr. Frankenstein, who lives to cause more problems with more golems in the future. But again, and really, the show here is Karloff bringing the monster to life.