Magazine Review: Bride of Frankenstein 1935 Ultimate Guide (Classic Monsters)

Bride-of-Frankenstein Classic Monsters 2016By Ben Bussey

It’s strange for thirty-somethings like myself to realise that many of you reading this now might not remember a time before everyone had access to the internet. Now that we’re all online every hour of the day, able to uncover just about any nugget of film trivia as soon as it comes to mind, it all seems very far removed from the movie fan experience of years gone by. Ye see, young folk, in my day we couldn’t just flick onto IMDb to look up an actor or director’s complete list of credits, or find out movie news day-by-day; we relied on glossy periodicals, published monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, loaded with reviews, interviews, photographs and enough information to leave you with an even greater affection for the films among them which you’d already seen, as well as anxious to see the ones you hadn’t as soon as possible. And whilst a great many such magazines covered new releases, there was also a particular emphasis on older movies.

New British magazine Classic Monsters of the Movies was, it would seem, born out of a desire to bring a bit of the old horror movie magazine flavour back in the 21st century. Its second issue was recently published, and makes the publication’s interests crystal clear: it’s vintage horror all the way, which means primarily Universal and Hammer. And in addition to their periodical, the Classic Monsters team are also building up a good sideline in one-off specials which focus on key films of interest. It’s only natural, then, that their most recent special edition would be about the undisputed crowning achievement of Universal’s monster era, and one of the single greatest horror films ever made: James Whale’s 1935 masterpiece The Bride of Frankenstein.

If you’re not too familiar with the iconic sequel, the people who made it, and its vital role in horror history, then this Classic Monsters guide is without doubt a great place to start. You’ll learn the essentials on James Whale, Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Elsa Lanchester, Valerie Hobson and more. That having been said, if you’re already a confirmed admirer of The Bride of Frankenstein, there might not necessarily be a huge amount you haven’t heard before. But doesn’t mean the publication is without its appeal. It’s pitched as “the brochure you might have bought at the cinema in 1935”; as such, it’s a throwback to a bygone era in more ways than one. Nige Barton and Jamie Jones write in a more old-fashioned, sedate, fact-based style than the more impassioned, personalised and often profanity-strewn film writing we’re more accustomed to in the internet era (and not just here at BAH). For some contemporary readers this may seem out of touch with the times; but again, given the publication’s emphasis on days gone by, this may be deemed entirely fitting.

Either way, along with The Monster’s Almanac (which Karolina took a look at back in February), this Bride of Frankenstein guide shows that Classic Monsters means business, and is worth keeping an eye on.

Buy your copy of the Classic Monsters Bride of Frankenstein Ultimate Guide here, and explore the website to see their other publications.