James Whale’s Frankenstein not only helped define and popularize the horror film at its outset, it is also one of the most openly queer-coded films ever made. Working with Mary Shelley’s classic text of a doctor so desperate to prevent death he creates a monster; Whale imbued the fearsome tale with iconic images while also creating sympathy for Frankenstein’s monster. Whale was one of the few men in Hollywood (particularly in the 1920s and 1930s) who lived as an openly gay man and many of gone from speculating to outright saying that Whale’s sexuality had nothing to do with his filmmaking. While the art can always be separated from the artist it’s difficult to overlook the film’s sensitive portrayal of monster cast out from society without a queer lens. Frankenstein ultimately asks us to question who is truly a monster versus who we are told is a monster.
Directed by James Whale
1hr 10m | Not Rated