Critics Consensus

Still unnerving to this day, Frankenstein adroitly explores the fine line between genius and madness, and features Boris Karloff's legendary, frightening performance as the monster.



Reviews Counted: 46

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Average Rating: 3.8/5

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Movie Info

"Frankenstein" is a film about a mad, obsessed scientist, Dr. Henry Frankenstein", who creates a monster, by taking body parts from dead people. Upon placing a brain inside the head of the monster, Henry and his assistant Fritz are amazed that the experiment is alive. When the monster mistakenly kills Maria, a young girl he meets down by the river, the town is up in arms and aims to bring the monster to justice. They find the monster and his creator in an old windmill, where the monster is attempting to kill his maker.

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Colin Clive
as Henry Frankenstein
Boris Karloff
as The Monster
Mae Clarke
as Elizabeth
John Boles
as Victor Moritz
Edward Van Sloan
as Dr. Waldman
Frederick Kerr
as Baron Frankenstein
Lionel Belmore
as Herr Vogel, Burgomaster
Michael Mark
as Ludwig, Peasant Father
Marilyn Harris
as Maria, the Child
Arletta Duncan
as Bridesmaid
Pauline Moore
as Bridesmaid
Francis Ford
as Villager
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News & Interviews for Frankenstein

Critic Reviews for Frankenstein

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (8)

Audience Reviews for Frankenstein


This is one of the best horror classics! As a non-horror fan, I can honestly say that this film blew me away, from the great tone, to the great acting, to the fantastic camerawork, it just adds to the perfection of the story. Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster that has lived on from generation to generation and even with an age of 90 years, the monster is quite terrifying. Although it is not without it's slow moments, I was so invested in the story that the funny practical effects that don't really hold up, didn't even phase me. I was drawn into this story until the very last moment, which is extremely intense by the way. Over time, films like these can degrade themselves, and to some, it definitely will, but "Frankenstein" is still fantastic!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

A timeless classic, perhaps the most notable and influential of the Universal monsters, and even if more amusing than terrifying for today's standards, it remains a striking experience, with stunning visuals that owe their inspiration to German Expressionism.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


The very original monster movie, based upon the book by Mary Shelley, James Whale's cinematic masterpiece remains one of the best horror movies of all time. It remains a highly adapted piece of fiction, and this was the first film adaptation. It was also the birth of the Universal monster movie canon, which would later include the films "The Wolfman" and "The Mummy". This is the epitome of good creature feature while retaining intelligence and posterity for the world of the unknown. It's a film that still remains creepy even eighty years later, and though its subject matter has been twisted and changed for many different mediums, it still stands alone as an immense achievement. Veering from the original subject matter consistently, this version has Dr. Frankenstein locked away in an old tower with an assistant, trying to reanimate dead tissue on a laboratory table, and digging up dead bodies to get what he needs. He reanimates the creature using an abnormal brain stolen from a medical college, but the beast gets loose. He goes about terrorizing the countryside, but is felled and the doctor marries his darling Elizabeth. Even with the changes in script the film retains its poignancy for the gothic, and the transparency of human life rebuilt to accommodate the lunacy of a madman. Every player in this story is significant, every moment of horror at the grotesque appearance of the monster is appreciated, and the entire cast gives enlightening performances. Boris Karloff as the monster has to be the greatest of a Universal monsters besides Bela Lugosi as Dracula. Colin Clive is the seminal Dr. Frankenstein, unmatched in any adaptation as he is both ruthless for the power of God and mad with his own crazed psychosis. The sets look amazing, the mood and tone remain classic, and it gives a lot of insight into the world of monsters, which became apropos in the thirties. Simply a must see for anyone.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

It's finally October and I've decided to do reviews of notable horror movies for the whole month. Any review I post (other than the ones of movies that are released into theaters) will be a review of a horror film, so let's begin wuth 1931's Frankenstein. It's based off of Mary Shelley's novel about a mad scientist who creates a monster in his attempt to play God. Boris Karloff plays the monster and he is just fantastic. Karloff's performance required him to be completely covered in makeup and the actual design of the monster looks great. It's a face that will be forever remembered when it comes to movie monsters. Karloff is one of the greatest horror icons of all time and this movie is what introduced him into the mainstream. Colin Clive is also great as Dr. Frankenstein and Dwight Frye is excellent as Fritz, the hunchbacked assistant of Frankenstein. The set design for the movie is terrific. Parts of the movie have scenes in a laboratory and the overall design of the lab in this movie is so good. I didn't feel like I was watching just some phony set, I really believed that this was the lab of a crazed scientist. The movie also includes shots a villages and castles and those are also great. While the film is visually stunning, the story also holds up, even to this day. There are parts where you actually sympathize with the monster. He's really nothing more of a freak of nature part of an experiment that went awry. He's a curious thing, but people still scream at him and want to burn him. One scene that always stands out in the movie is when the monster is sitting by a lake with a little girl and she's acting all innocent and sweet and out of nowhere, the monster grabs her, throws her in the lake and drowns her. The little girl didn't even do anything, yet the monster kills her anyway. (Sigh) What a lovable dumbshit. That's really one of a lot of memorable scenes in the movie. It all ranges from the part where Dr. Frankenstein yells "It's Alive!" to the climax of the movie. The movie even has its fair share of themes including the darkest side of Xenophobia and the consequences of playing God. One thing that I want to address is that nowadays people refer to the monster as Frankenstein even though Frankenstein is the name of the doctor who created the monster. I've never understood how people started that. Anyway, Frankenstein is one of the greatest monster films of all time and it's a staple of Halloween pop culture. Boris Karloff's outstanding performance is what brought the monster to the light of day. From what I've heard, the movie doesn't really follow the novel by Mary Shelley, but I really don't think that matters. Frankenstein is great either way and it really does stand the test of time.

Tyler Robertson
Tyler Robertson

Super Reviewer

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