“I love dead. Hate living.”
Mary Shelley (Elsa Lanchester), her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley (Douglas Walton) and their friend Lord Byron (Gavin Gordon) are sitting in a warm parlor while a storm rages outside. They are discussing Mary's story of Frankenstein and his monster. Percy remarks that the ending to the book seemed abrupt. Mary teasingly tells them that the book is not the end of the story.
Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) was found in the ruins of his laboratory; however, he did not die. Neither did his monster (Boris Karloff). While he is recuperating he is visited by Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger). Pretorius is a disgraced former colleague. He tries to blackmail Henry to continue his work. Pretorius has been conducting his own experiments. His methods differ from Frankenstein in that he is creating life by using seeds to grow humans. With, of course, different results. He believes that with his help they can create a woman. A mate for the monster. So they can procreate and form a new race. Creepy. Not to mention rather unnatural.
Even if he can convince Frankenstein to work with him he’s got one problem. The monster is running around the countryside somewhere scaring people. Of course the poor monster is just trying to survive and everywhere there is people there is danger. The one friend he makes is a blind man who is taken away from him by a couple of lost hunters. (One of them being John Carradine.)
Trying to take refuge from the never ending mob, the monster finds Pretorius in a crypt. By now the monster has learned a few words from his blind hermit friend. He is able to communicate with Pretorius. He asks if Pretorius also creates men. Pretorius says man no, but a woman for him to have as a friend. Pretorius uses the monster to try to convince Henry to come on board. When he still refuses Pretorius has the monster kidnap Henry’s wife Elizabeth (Valerie Hobson). To save his wife, Henry has no choice but to agree.
“The Bride of Frankenstein” was released in 1935 and was directed by James Whale. The make-up was again done by Jack P. Pierce. Sequels normally suck. But not in this case. Why? One reason is, more monster. We have the original monster, the bride of the monster, and as far as I’m concern Pretorius.
The tiny mermaid in Dr. Pretorius' bottle was Josephine McKim. She was on the 1924 and 1928 U.S. Women's Olympic Swim Teams. She was also Maureen O'Sullivan's body double in the infamous nude swimming scene in “Tarzan and His Mate” (1934).
Doctor Pretorious' full name is "Septimus Pretorious"; Latin for "royal seven" which is a reference to the seven deadly sins. The ‘bride’ in “The Bride of Frankenstein” is on screen for only three minutes. James Whale and the studio psychiatrist selected 44 simple words for the Monster's vocabulary by looking at test papers of ten-year olds working at the studio. There’s a lot of hoopla about subtext in the movie that represents everything from homosexuality to necrophilia to sacrilege. The necrophilia and of course the sacrilege is obvious, however, the homosexuality, if there, is very subliminal. Some view Frankenstein and Pretorious as same sex parents. Frankenstein as father and creator and Pretorious as mother and nurturer. Seems to be a bit of a stretch to me, but if that’s what you see, OK. I just thought of it as a really good movie.