The Bride of Frankenstein is a fictitious character that first appeared in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, and was later adapted into a film in 1935. Elsa Lanchester portrays the Bride in the film. The character sports a conical haircut with white lightning-trace streaks on each side in the film, which has become an iconic symbol of both the character and the film.
In Bride of Frankenstein, Henry Frankenstein’s (Colin Clive) tutor, Doctor Septimus Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), proposes that the two of them construct a spouse for his monster (Boris Karloff), with Henry providing the body and Pretorius providing an artificially-grown brain. Henry is first opposed to the proposal, but Pretorius threatens to expose him as the monster’s creator to the authorities.
To show how the story — and horror in general — comes from the dark side of the imagination, James Whale decided early in the production that the same actress hired to play the Bride should also play Mary Shelley in the film’s prologue. Before settling on Elsa Lanchester, he contemplated Brigitte Helm and Phyllis Brooks.
Jennifer Beals portrayed the Bride of Frankenstein as Eva in The Bride, opposing Clancy Brown as the monster Viktor. Baron Charles Frankenstein and his assistant Paulus produced her. She gets revolted when she sees Viktor. When Viktor discovers Eva at the monastery outside of Frankenstein’s castle later in the film, she falls in love with him.
Helena Bonham Carter plays a version of the character in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which was released in 1994. In this version, Victor tries to resurrect his wife Elizabeth after she is killed by the Monster by placing her head on his hanging servant Justine’s still-alive body. He succeeds, but the Monster intervenes, seizing Elizabeth as his Bride.
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