The eight-foot-tall, gruesomely ugly creation of Victor Frankenstein has been called many things. In the original Mary Shelley novel he is named The Ogre. In the credits of the Boris Karloff film he is referred to as The Monster. He’s also been called a fiend, the thing and the demon.
All those terms are apt for a creature born of dead body parts but a new movie adds a different name to the list—Adam. As in Adam Frankenstein.
I, Frankenstein, stars Aaron Eckhart as Adam, the prefab man. He’s now an immortal martial arts expert battling a war between rival clans in an ancient city. The character takes the name from the Shelley book. Sort of.
Shelley never gave the monster a name—people often mistakenly refer to him as Frankenstein—but in the novel the creature says to Victor, “I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel.”
Whatever you want to call him, Frankenstein’s Monster has always been a popular character in the movies.
The most famous film featuring the creature has to be Boris Karloff’s 1931 classic, but it wasn’t the first. Five silent films, one with the dramatic title Life Without Soul and another that featured the brute emerging from a cauldron of fiery chemicals, all played to packed houses.
From those dramatic beginnings dozens of movies followed.
Robert De Niro played the beast in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. On the set director Kenneth Branagh banned the word “monster,” insisting instead that everyone refer to the creature the same way he is billed in the credits, as “The Sharp Featured Man.”
Frankenstein: The College Years is basically an unlikely mix of Shelley’s story and Encino Man. Directed by Tom Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Shadyac, this 1991 comedy sees college student Mark (William Ragsdale) reanimate Dr. Frankenstein’s creature who then becomes a football star and a big man on campus known as Frank N. Stein (Vincent Hammond). “He blends right in,” says Mark of the six-foot-nine Frank, “he’s a regular invisible man.”
The movie The Bride, a 1985 remake of The Bride of Frankenstein starring Sting and Jennifer Beals, gave the fiend yet another name. He was dubbed Viktor but not in tribute to his creator Victor Frankenstein. In this retelling the good doctor is known as Baron Charles Frankenstein. The name Viktor was chosen in tribute to the film’s producer Victor Drai.