The Victorians Are Coming!

Reading & Writing, The Arts


Victorians, don’t you love ’em? Empire builders, explorers, domineering Christians, closet cases, don’t you sneakingly miss them just a little bit? Well, Victorian times are coming back.

First comes the news that rickets, the bendy-legged disease cause by a lack of Vitamin D and no sunlight, is making a return in Britain due to the hours that kids now spend in front of computer games (or perhaps they’re reading from eBooks in their darkened rooms – hah!).

Then we hear that Danny Boyle (wasn’t Slumdog Millionaire actually a Victorian novel reimagined in India?) is bringing Frankenstein to the English stage. It’s a long-gestating plan that will hopefully be realised next year. And given the director’s affinity with horror, I imagine it will be bloody scary.

Here’s The Times’ far-from-definitive history of Frankenstein…

1818
Frankenstein, the novel by Mary Shelley, above, is published

1887
Frankenstein, or The Vampire’s Victim, a musical burlesque show by Meyer Lutz, mounted in London

1910
A 16-minute silent picture is directed by J. Searle Dawley

1931
Boris Karloff stars in James Whale’s acclaimed adaptation, left

1935
Karloff reprises his role in The Bride of Frankenstein, above right, second of eight Universal Studios films in the 1930s and 1940s

1957
Hammer Films release The Curse of Frankenstein starring Peter Cushing, a series of seven films focusing on Dr Frankenstein, not the monster

1974
Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder combine to create one of the definitive comedy horror films, Young Frankenstein

1984
BBC adaptation with Robert Powell, David Warner and Carrie Fisher

1985
The Bride stars Sting as Baron Charles Frankenstein and Clancy Brown as the Monster

1986
Ken Russell’s film Gothic retells the legend of Mary Shelley and Lord Byron’s visit to Villa Diodati, resulting in the creation of Frankenstein and The Vampyre

1994
Kenneth Branagh directs Robert De Niro, Helena Bonham Carter and John Cleese in a much hyped Frankenstein

3 comments on “The Victorians Are Coming!”

  1. There was also a fine TV FRANKENSTEIN THE TRUE STORY, from a screenplay by Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, with Leonard Whiting as Frankenstein, Michael Sarrazin as the Creature (who starts handsome and degrades with age — don’t we all?) and James Mason as a conniving Polidori. Haven’t seen it in ages, but I have fond memories of it.

  2. J. Folgard says:

    Nice timeline! Warren Ellis recently wrote a comic-book titled Frankenstein’s Womb, with crisp black & white artwork -it was quite surprising, essentially a vignette featuring Mary talking to her soon-to-be-created “monster”. There was lots of interesting trivia & concordances, and I really, really enjoyed it.

  3. Mike Cane says:

    Bah. Blame Apple for the ricketts coming back. Maybe if kids could easily afford an iPod Touch to play games on, they’d get out more. LMAO! Yeah, I read that news item today and was floored too. What’s next, scurvy?

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