And yet, I’m being unfair, because on the surface, The Bride from 1985 isn’t completely without merit. The film was not well received when it was released, and beautiful Jennifer Beals was nominated for a Razzie for her performance as “Eva”, this film’s version of The Bride of Frankenstein. This I found particularly unfair. Beals well served the role that was written, right down to the helpless Gothic heroine hamming. But, the flashes of strength and independence she briefly snuck in, including the reference to Mary Wollstonecraft, were subversive, more important and telling than the Sting character’s pathetic blather about an “equal” woman.
But more on that below. For now, see details….
Director: Franc Roddam
Writer:Lloyd Fonvielle (screenplay)
Notable Cast: Sting, Jennifer Beals, Anthony Higgins, Geraldine Page, Clancy Brown
Plot: After the creation of his creature, Dr. Frankenstein researches and creates a perfect woman, Eva, to be the mate of the creature. However, the anxiety of the creature creates havoc in the laboratory that is burnt down and explodes, killing Frankenstein’s assistants Dr. Zahlus and Paulus. Dr. Frankenstein believes the creature died too but he flees to the woods. Soon he meets and befriends the dwarf Rinaldo, who gives a name to him, Viktor, and invites him to work in a circus in Budapest. Meanwhile Frankenstein and his house keeper Mrs. Baumann (Geraldine Page) teach Eva how to behave and to be independent. One day, Frankenstein introduces Eva to the high-society, telling that she was found amnesic in the woods and has become his protégée. But Frankenstein becomes obsessed of Eva while Viktor and she have a strange connection. What will happen to Eva? – source: Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on imdb.com
Yes, there is a lot to ridicule about this production, particularly its opening scene. It is a protracted and campy lab scene that is the stock of Frankenstein movies, but presented with a bizarre earnestness and even an awkward attempt at gore-horror.
You could criticize the plot thread with the Monster, named “Viktor” (while the Sting Frankenstein character himself bears the name Charles, and why?). Viktor runs off after his rejection by the Bride and joins the circus, befriends a little person (Anthony Rappaport as Rinaldo), is chased by the requisite torch-bearing mob, and is ultimately reunited with Eva. But there is no reason to do so. The Monster was played by renowned actor Clancy Brown, and very well so at that. There was a heart and a tragic pathos there, whether or not the execution was lengthy and horror-free.
And then there is Mr. Gordon Sumner himself. I mean, Sting is easy to hate, and he’s easy to hate in this movie. As the froofy, creepy-rapey ‘Charles’ Frankenstein, in 1985 he was probably very sexy to moviegoing audiences. In this present day he’s a chore to tolerate. He’s the villain, and an asshole, paying lip service to the very feminism he undermines with his actions and obsessive possessiveness – and it’s not like that wasn’t in many, many Police songs? Every Breath You Take, Can’t Stand Losing You, Don’t Stand So Close To Me? All songs speaking to a man wanting to create a woman and fill her head with his own ideas and values and preferences.
Plus, Sting – easy to hate for his rich rock star status and PC platitudes – once was punk/new wave royalty, possessed of beauty and presence. AND YET he willingly participated in this unforgivably atrocious human-rights violation:
Look, at the end of the day, is there much difference between The Bride and any old school Hammer Horror film that I loved for its lush Gothic atmosphere? Not really. There were cool visuals in this, despite the hammy story and roles.
And if nothing else, it highlighted just how awful a mansplainy, manipulative gaslighting Pygmalion douchebag can be to women and to feminism. Sting’s Charles Frankenstein was the proto-woke hipster bro “feminist” with a nasty, misogynist side under the surface.
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