The Bride of Frankenstein

The Bride of Frankenstein ★★★★★

There is no question in my mind that The Bride of Frankenstein is one of the best sequels of all time, vastly expanding on the most important parts of its already brilliant predecessor. Where the first film focused on the possibility and consequences of creating life, James Whale takes it a step further here, realizing that life is one thing, but life that has the ability to reproduce and develop into an entire man-made race of humans is true power. In itself this seems like a fascinating scientific project, but the scientists repeatedly insist that their intent is to undermine God and, once again, go mad from the very idea of it. Their demented egomania becomes the driving motivational force rather than curiosity and scientific intrigue, and so blinded by the prospect they never stop to think of the consequences. Dr Frankenstein is right back in the cycle of obsessive mania, hinting that perhaps this is a state he will constantly revert back into.

In such a way it is a tragedy of man, but the film's focus lies not in the recurrent cruelty of the inflicter, rather in the pain of the inflicted. More than previously, it is made almost explicit that if the monster were treated properly and taught right from wrong, he wouldn't be a monster at all. And yet even here, where the scientists want to further their experiment by adding a new life, they make the same mistake, only taking into account the life they have already created and neglecting the one they plan to create. She is dubbed the bride of Frankenstein before even being alive, and Frankenstein is told he will have a friend. She is not really created to be alive, but to be a mate to Frankenstein and bear children. Needless to say, it doesn't work out.

Basically, there is more to being God than simply creating life: one must actually care about the life beyond merely granting its existence. Moreover, it would appear that humans are not capable of the necessary forethought for such an endeavor, meaning if there is a God, He cannot be merely physical. As such, certainty about the existence of the supernatural order—either for or against—is clownery. Certainty about the inherently unknowable is a definitive barrier to intellectual honesty and scientific pursuit.

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