Otherwise Known As: Frankenstein, The Monster, The Creature, Adam
Similar Gestalt Entities: Coldstone, Fran Madaraki
Commonly Featured In: Film, TV, & Cartoons
The Frankenstein monster… I suppose that the first thing I should speak about in reference to this creature is something that has been something of a pet peeve with me for the longest time. That peeve being the creature’s name is, in fact, NOT Frankenstein despite having been created by the scientist of the same name.
In point of fact, the original novel version of Victor Frankenstein never bestows the creature with a name, calling it “fiend”, “thing”, and “ogre” just to name a few. In more modernized retellings or original interpretations of the creature, many have come to name it either straight up Frankenstein after its creator or by the name of Adam thanks in part to a direct quote from the creature when it refers itself as the “Adam of your labors.”
Though arguably a creature belonging to the undead, Frankenstein’s monster is in fact a living being despite its horrendous origins. To those whom are unaware of what the Frankenstein monster truly is, it is the end result Victor Frankenstein and his attempt at besting death. The doctor accomplished this by way of creating a literal gestalt entity, a body composed of various corpses that he and/or his servant had scrounged for through legal or illegal methods.
Though the body was rendered whole, albeit in a fashion that made it a truly horrendous sight to behold by anyone with even an ounce of common decency, Victor brought it fully to life by means of alchemic formulas with lightning often being the “jump starter” to the creature’s heart.
Upon witnessing just what he had done, Victor disavowed the whole experiment and drove the creature from his home. The monster, despite being an adult in body possessed the intelligence of a child and did not immediately comprehend who or what it is. It isn’t until it stumbles upon a lone cottage in the wilderness that it begins to educate itself by way of eavesdropping on the family within, learning to speak and become surprisingly well mannered. That is, until the creature comes to realize the one of the worst faults of humanity.
Our inability to tolerate what is different from us. Our fear of things that we don’t understand and as a wise little muppet once said, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.
Suffering is something that the creature in most of its stories knows all too well in one form or another.
In most interpretations of the creature, it is distinctly inhuman in some form or another, either being grotesquely scarred with stiches and portions that don’t match correctly, i.e. a lopsided gait or a deformed head made up of various craniums. Another notable feature, made popular by the 1931 film Frankenstein, is mechanical elements to the creature, most notably a pair of screws or bolts upon the neck. The most noteworthy aspect of the Frankenstein monster however is its coloration, ranging from a paleness that makes the workings of arteries and muscles disgustingly transparent to sickly shades of deathly blue or decomposing green.
The prowess of the Frankenstein monster is variable by the retelling but its most common power is an incredibly inhuman strength on par to what I described that certain types of zombies can do. There is also the concept that the creature is either incredibly durable to the point of being immortal in the sense that it neither ages and can, possibly, survive most mortal wounds.
One aspect in particular that has been a recent trend in the movie industry of late is the idea that the Frankenstein monster can be used to bring life to the lifeless either in the rediscovery/reverse-engineer the original experiment. The film Van Helsing in particular utilized the idea of Dracula commissioning Victor’s experiment to utilize the process, and later the resulting creature, to bring his own undead children to life.
Lightning and electricity is also a popularized element to the creature, but is not one that has been notably used as a power by the creature. More often than not, lightning and/or electricity results in the creature’s resurrection from a supposed death but there have been instances wherein it utilizes electricity as a form of attack either through mild electrocution to full out thunderbolts.
As to weaknesses, it has been comically shown in the films Hotel Transylvania that the creature has a pathological fear of fire but again this is a result of popularized media more than the original book. Though, to use the same film as an example, the creature may be as close to immortal as anything can get, it can still die or, at the least, enter a coma like state. Despite its horrendous origins, the Frankenstein monster is still made up of human parts and so can be killed though the ease of this is debatable.
While there is no one film example that I can say showcases the monster to its true potential asides from the original 1931 film or the Hallmark mini-series, I can say that there is a surprising number of characters whom are based directly or indirectly on the creature itself.
The first one, apropriately named as Coldstone, is a character from the Disney cartoon series Gargoyles whom was a joint creation of Demona and David Xanatos via magic and science respectively. Heck, Xanatos himself even goes so far as to cry out, “It’s alive, it’s ALIVE!” followed shortly by a confession of him always wanting to say the line but never having a reason to before then. Coldstone appears are first to primarily be made up of a singular gargoyle and cyborg components but later appearances reveal a far more dreadful truth.
Coldstone is in fact made up of three separate gargoyles and unfortunately a lover’s triangle of sorts. The first gargoyle, Othello, is the one originally believed to be the sole soul behind Coldstone and is the mate of Desdemona, a female gargoyle, and rival/enemy to Iago who vied for Desdemona’s attentions in life. The three of them had been something of a… tug-of-war over control of the Coldstone body until robotic duplicates were made for Iago and Desdemona, aptly named Coldsteel and Coldfire respectively.
That… was a rather horrific interpretation of a Frankenstein monster if ever there was one. The idea of the composite parts being able to not only retain the souls of the original body parts but that said parts would know and recognize each other…
It has only been done in one interpretation of the Frankenstein novel and even then not to this extreme. It was made worse by the fact that whenever Iago or Desdemona took control over Coldstone’s body, there was no clear way to tell aside from their mannerisms as it was Othello’s neck and head that was used and such was always his voice. That… had to be unbelievably awkward for Desdemona but that’s neither here nor there.
Another far more terrifying and utterly gory example of the Frankenstein monster being the inspiration of a whole new type of character can be found in the being known as “Franken” Fran Madaraki, the “daughter” of Naomitsu Madaraki. In truth, she is both his greatest masterpiece and, personally speaking, his greatest failure. Born in a similar manner to the original Frankenstein monster, Fran follows in the example of her creator in that she, much like him, has a very… unique… moral view.
Oh she is a… good… person… Willing and gladly helping anyone whom asks her for her assistance and especially so for cases that she finds emotionally moving, being something of a romantic. It’s just that Fran’s interpretations of making someone’s dreams come true more often than not coincides with showing them their absolute worst nightmares too. She has sworn to never take a life and she means it to a horrifyingly awful degree via this quote: “Regardless of the shape or form, if it can function as a living organism, it is good.”
You… really don’t want to know the results of this line of thinking from Fran “the Ripper.” I’d use some examples of her experiments but I want to keep this blog at a PG(-13) rating and honestly, that’s what Google is for. I warn you all now though if you do look up the manga, be prepared for a host of horrors that no amount of brain bleach will ever wipe away.
That being said, the Frankenstein monster as an aspect of Halloween is probably at the forefront, easily surpassing the likes of vampires, werewolves, and even zombies for the sole fact that he, contrary to them, is a unique individual. There is no one name that best refers to what manner of creature the monster is and though many interpretations and variations have been made, when one hears the name of Frankenstein they do not think of the man behind the monster but the monster itself.