Friday, April 15, 2011
Guest Post & Giveaway - Michael Lee - My Frankenstein
There are three ways you can go when you’re retelling or re-imagining Frankenstein. Three basic approaches.
The first approach is to bring the story into the modern day. Hollywood has been doing this since at least the 50’s with movies like I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and Frankenstein 1970. Several other writers have brought the story into the modern age. Most of them like Vindicator aren’t apparently Frankenstein at first blush. That’s because modern advances in science have given us many more options for resurrecting the dead and near dead. You can think of the Six Million Dollar Man as a Frankenstein story updated to the 1970s. Mary Shelley may have helped spawn science fiction but genre has advanced quite a bit since her time. It’s given us plenty of robot and clone stories. Almost all of these tales owe at least a little bit to Frankenstein but very few retain that true gothic flavor. One of the best examples comes from horror maestro Wes Craven, Deadly Friend. In it a teenage prodigy builds a cute robot. The robot gets destroyed by a cranky neighbor and soon after the boy’s love interest is killed by her wicked father. Our hero uses the parts from his robot to resurrect the girl, mayhem ensues. It’s one of Craven’s better movies. The boy and the girl are so sympathetic that what happens to them is tragic. It predates the Paranormal YA craze by at least a decade and deserves to be rediscovered.
The next method literally involves literally bringing the big guy into modern times. In this case the Shelley story serves as an origin for the creature who survives until present day. You see this paradigm a lot in comic books. There’s the Marvel comics Frankenstein, the soon to be adapted I, Frankenstein, Doc Frankenstein and Dean Koontz’s series. All of these have a kind of super heroic tone to them. The Creature becomes sort of like Batman or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The final version is both oldest paradigm and the one I used. It means going back and retelling the story in its original time period or near enough. Almost from the moment of its publication Frankenstein was adapted to a popular stage play. That tradition continues with Danny Boyle’s acclaimed stage production. In the movies Frankenstein has been retold first by Universal studios who created the iconic square headed look of Boris Karloff and by Hammer studios with Peter Cushing’s amazing interpretation of the doctor. Finally other novelists have taken a stab at the story like Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Theodore Roszack. These retellings all involve looking at the story through new eyes.
To this long history of Frankenstein I’ve made my contribution. How does it compare with those who have gone before me?
I guess you’ll have to tell me.
About the author:
"Michael Lee is a script consultant, judge and entertainment blogger for The Wrap.com and has lived in Detroit, Connecticut, Ohio and Los Angeles."
Michael is offering one commenter on this blog a Kindle edition of My Frankenstein.
Leave a comment with your email and a winner will be drawn and notified on April 22.