Friday, June 24, 2011

The Diary of Mary Shelley

My favorite classic horror monster of all time is Frankenstein's monster. Which would explain why I'm obsessed with keeping up with Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog. This is an amazing blog loaded with...well...

Everything Frankenstein! It is divine!

I think we all know the story behind the conception of Frankenstein...Mary Shelley and friends write ghosts stories, etc. What I didn't know was that Shelley first made mention of Frankenstein in her diary on June 24, 1831. One hundred and eighty years ago today. [Credit to Frankensteinia: Genesis of Frankenstein]

I'm also currently reading Mary Shelley a biography by Muriel Spark. Actually I've been reading it for some time and I keep getting interrupted. If you are interested in the author I highly recommend it.

And I can't leave this post without at least one movie reference. This was a tough one but I've chosen to take this opportunity to defend Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994). I realize that this may make me unpopular as it seems you either love it or hate it - and it does take some cinematic liberties with the original story.

Personally I found that I could really feel the passion of Victor's character (masterfully portrayed by Kenneth Branagh). His obsession to create life, be damned his moral responsibilities, and his desperate attempt to stop the inevitable destruction of everything that he loved, kept me glued to the screen. While all along you know how the story will end, one gets emotionally involved. First in the hopes of a successful regeneration and then praying that he will stop before it's too late.

I have to admit that when I heard that the Monster would be played by Robert DeNiro I just couldn't imagine that it would work. I was wrong. DeNiro's portrayal was one of the best screen representations I've seen that shows the complexity of the character. I really felt that he was the victim. Shunned by society and abandoned by his own "father", I felt sorry for him. So much so that I could even rationalize his violence.

I could go on and on about this particular film but I'll leave it here and just wrap up with this...For 180 years this story of man's struggle with his own mortality has withstood the test of time and, actually, seems a possible reality by today's standards. The irony is that Mary Shelley's creation has taken on a life of it's own. I like to think she would be pleased.

Haunt on!

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