Evolution of a monster: Six views of Frankenstein’s creature

By Jennifer Abella

Today Frankenstein’s creature is instantly recognizable. But over 200 years, his image has evolved. Here are some of the monster’s notable looks.

1831 edition of “Frankenstein”

This piece — the earliest illustration of the monster — is the frontispiece from Mary Shelley’s 1831 edition of her novel.







1931 “Frankenstein” movie

Boris Karloff filled the role’s big shoes — and thus was born a monster’s enduring image. Bonus: Check out these behind-the-scenes images of Karloff in makeup.





1964: “The Munsters”

In the mid-1960s, monsters were sitcom gold, and Frankenstein (Fred Gwynne) was spotted sporting something new: a smile.

1974: “Young Frankenstein”

The laughs continued into the 1970s. The movie “Young Frankenstein” eschewed the creature’s flat-topped image of old. The chrome dome helps the monster (Peter Boyle) look more like a regular Joe and less like a looming threat.

1994: “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein”

Kenneth Branagh went for a more visceral look for the monster (Robert De Niro), emphasizing his scars and misshapen features.




2017: Artist rendering

Last year, Emory University released a new depiction of the monster by artist Ross Rossin.  “Unlike all other portrayals before, I prefer to see the Creature as a young man,” Rossin said in a release.

About Jennifer Abella

Jennifer Abella is a TV/movie/pop culture/knitting/sewing/Jane Austen geek. Oh, and a total Anglophile. Follow her on Twitter: @nextjen.

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