Sci-Fi What Genre Is Frankenstein?

What Genre Is Frankenstein?


  • Total voters
    35

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
#1

Is Frankenstein Horror, Zombie/Undead or Science Fiction?

The 1931 version of Frankenstein is listed by the IMdb as Horror, Scifi. Most every mention of Frankenstein lists Horror as the first genre. Now I know that there is a horror element to the story but to me, Frankenstein is hands down Science Fiction.
The whole concept is of a scientist reanimating dead tissue. Not only is it done in a laboratory with electricity, the animated patchwork man is unable to be re-killed. To me that is Science Fiction.
(yes, I know fire is used to stop him)
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Pennsylvania
#2
It's a horror story that resulted from science-fiction so I'm going with sci-fi as the genre.

The whole concept is of a scientist reanimating dead tissue. Not only is it done in a laboratory with electricity, the animated patchwork man is unable to be re-killed. To me that is Science Fiction.
Exactly. The creation of Frankenstein's monster is speculative science, the ability to not only re-animate dead tissue but to form a new consciousness from the merging of body parts from several different unique donor bodies.
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
#3
There was a mention of SciFi in Romero's Night of the Living Dead.
IMdb said:
Though the radiation of a detonated satellite returning from Venus is theorized to be the cause of the dead rising and attacking the living, according to the filmmakers, the actual cause is never determined.
If that were the case wouldn't the Night of the Living Dead then be considered SciFi?
BTW, Night of the Living Dead is NOT a zombie movie.
It is a Ghoul movie.
According to Romero, Zombies are living people, not dead ones.
Thinking back to when you made Night of the Living Dead, and thinking about zombie films before that – I suppose we point to something like the Jacques Tourneur film, I Walked with a Zombie (1943), which is very different culturally. But I wonder if you derived anything from that tradition at all?

I was almost consciously trying to stay away from it. And I didn’t call them zombies in Night of the Living Dead, and I didn’t think they were. Because those films – the traditional Haitian voodoo zombie – is not dead. And I thought I was doing something completely new by having the dead rise. The recently dead. They’re too weak to dig themselves out of graves. They’re too weak to eat brains, because they’ll never crack the skull. I have these sort of rules that I use, that everyone seems to have gone away from.
If ya think too hard on it (my head hurts) most zombie movies and shows are based in Science Fiction. Viruses are medical science and most movies and shows about zombies depict a virus run rampant.

Frankenstein, being an undead, is depicted zombie-like in animation. He doesn't infect others but kills much like the old Haitian zombies did. Zombification is a suspected to be a derrivitive of plants and chemicals which is Chemistry. Chemistry is also a science.

Frankenstien is also depicted as childlike and learning. It sends a message of purity being tainted which could be viewed as psychology which is also a science. Social science comes to play when the villagers storm the castle to destroy the monster. I have seen movies that explore all the elements of Frankenstein individually. Those movies are listed as science fiction.
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
#4
I don't think either category existed as a genre at the time... Frankenstein was groundbreaking. In hindsight, I'd say it's definitely more sci-fi than horror. On the other hand, I think it's been more influential to the horror genre than sci-fi. What did people consider it at the time?
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
#6
Well, at the time, is no longer possible. In the future if time travel is developed it may be relevant but I am referring to the here and now.
Edgar Allen Poe is not surfing the internet and trying to make sense of the movies he is watching.

I have a passion that with technology and science moving along like it is. Just about any Speculative fiction movie/story can soon be classified as science fiction. Its something I look for when watching any movie. How could this or that be accomplished using science fact or theory.

A wizard disappearing - teleportation - actual science now in infancy
A reanimated corpse - biology science now in infancy
A dragon - Biology and genetic science now in infancy (cloning, gene therapy)

The thing is that people get stuck in the genres and miss out on a lot of science fiction because "Well, I don't watch horror or fantasy"

I watched a movie last night called The Diabolical
It was listed as a horror but it was science fiction for sure.
Hitman Agent 47 was listed as action adventure but was purely science fiction.

Frankenstein is science fiction for me. But then so is the Werewolf, Dracula, the Mummy and Invisible Man.
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Pennsylvania
#7
Frankenstein is science fiction for me. But then so is the Werewolf, Dracula, the Mummy and Invisible Man.
Invisible Man I'd consider sci-fi (since the trope is that the invisibility is gained through science) but Werewolf, Dracula and Mummy I'd lean towards horror or fantasy since those tropes are usually that initial affliction is based on a curse or other mystical.
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
#9
Well, at the time, is no longer possible.
That's not entirely true. There is probably some historical record, some documentation of some kind. As far as the 1931 movie goes, there are probably copies of the original advertising posters, newspaper reviews, etc. So it's not impossible to get some kind of feel for how people thought of it at the time.
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
#10
I'd lean towards horror or fantasy since those tropes are usually that initial affliction is based on a curse or other mystical.
And that is a great point.
However, The Werewolf is based on Lycanthropy. There is a disease known to mankind that mimics the look of a werewolf.
Hypertrichosis (also called Ambras syndrome) is an abnormal amount of hair growth over the body; extensive cases of hypertrichosis have informally been called werewolf syndrome, because the appearance is similar to the mythical werewolf.
Lycanthropy has been diagnosed as a mental disorder by science in which a person believes he is a werewolf.
Clinical lycanthropy is defined as a rare psychiatric syndrome that involves a delusion that the affected person can transform into, has transformed into, or is a non-human animal.
Dracula is based on vampirism. A Vampire is an entity that feeds on the life energy of another being. Blood in this instance but what about the science fiction movie Life Force?

Lifeforce (1985) - IMDb

These 'vampires' feed on the energy of the soul. Those that are fed upon in turn feed upon others.
In a scientific view, all animals are vampires. Humans feed on other lifeforms for proteins and nutrients. Plants sometimes feed on animals. Currently science is vampirizing viruses to create drug delivery systems.
Genetics is a very real actual science that could cause an outbreak of a vampire like disease.

With The Mummy, who knows what combination of drugs, plants or minerals might reanimate dead people. Just because it has not been done yet, doesn't mean that a break-thru in nanotechnology couldn't make it possible. Cell regeneration at the atomic level is a leading medical therapy right now.

based on a curse
A curse is usually spoken. Perhaps in the future, sound will be used to initiate genetic changes in the body. Right now, the military and police forces have sound equipment that can cause you to become ill or unconscious. Where might that technology lead?
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
#11
thought you were talking about the book
I read Frankenstein many years ago. I'm not saying that people don't read anymore I am just acknowledging the fact that MORE people watch movies and shows than read books.

So it's not impossible to get some kind of feel for how people thought of it at the time.
True. But this all goes with the trend of instant gratification. Most people will not research the consensus of a movie before deciding to watch it or not. Most people will look at the listed genre and decide from there. I do it.
I will not actively seek to watch Romance. When viewing candidates for a movie from a list I will not choose romance. I have watched romance movies with a woman but by myself I am not interested.

So when the person loves Science Fiction but hates Horror they miss out on some cool science fiction.
Its about broadening your horizons. Seeing things you never saw. Understanding your passions and gaining new perspectives.

I will never belittle anyone's personal preferences. To each his own. All I am wanting is for people to consider the "IF".
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Pennsylvania
#12
A curse is usually spoken. Perhaps in the future, sound will be used to initiate genetic changes in the body. Right now, the military and police forces have sound equipment that can cause you to become ill or unconscious. Where might that technology lead?
Funny you should say that. Check out the recent Doctor Who episodes (it's a two-parter) "Under The Lake" and "Before The Flood" -- a 'curse' is programmed into people by reading written words and after they die the person who read the words turns into a 'ghost' doing the bidding of the one that controls the curse.
 

Tom

An Old Friend
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Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
#13
Ironically, Ghosts are one aspect of horror that I fail to justify with science. The essence of a human being materializing or affecting objects in reality. For me, Ghost are purely fantasy. So much so I believe that they are among the only fantasy elements available. Angels and demons are right there with ghosts.

Just for a mind play, Lets look at ghosts.

Matter has mass. Mass is affected by temperature and gravity for sure, right?
For all intents and purposes we could say that the soul is a chemical electric feild.
Keyword, Chemical.

A ghost is supposed to be a person that has not passed to another plane (dimension, reality, who cares).
You can't pick up a ghost and throw it.
You can't see a ghost most of the time (unless it wants you to...lol)
A ghost rattles chains, slams doors and just causes a racket in your house moving things, breaking things and scaring little children.
According to Ghostbusters (Cool Movie) ghosts have a subsatnce called exctoplasm. It is a reality slime that a ghost transfers to our real world.
They affect the temperature, static electricity and produce sound.

Sound is vibration and is transmitted thru an object like metal, wood, water or air. The vibration must come from a source able to affect the medium it is encased in. That is why our thoughts do not make sound. A picture does not make sound unless the frame is dropped. A drawing does not make sound unless the paper is crinkled.

The appearance of a ghost. We see because light is reflected onto our retnas from another object. We don't see sound because sound is a wave. We do't really see light either. We see the reflection of light or if you are stupid enough to look directly at the sun, you will see light passing thru our atmosphere right before you go blind, but, we don't actually see the light itself. The ghostly apparition has to have mass in order to reflect the light.

That mass, no matter its volume is affected by gravity. The Earth has a pretty substantial pull on every molecule we have ever encountered. That graviity would affect the ghost. Keeping it to the floor. Without that gravity, a ghost would pass right thru everything, including the Earth. Your ghost is now out in space, never to be seen again because the Earth both rotates, wobbles and revolves. The Sun wobbles and rotates around the galaxy as well. Goodbye Ghost.

Nope, I just can't justify them...
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
#14
What if a ghost is something that's able to act on your mind directly? So you perceive these sounds and visions even though they don't exist in physical reality, the way we perceive things in dreams. Maybe the ghost is real, but the effects it makes us perceive are illusions. The ghost itself might be something we can't even imagine.
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
#15
What if a ghost is something that's able to act on your mind directly?
They call that hallucinating.
The ghost itself might be something we can't even imagine.
That, is tricky. By naming it as a ghost you have already imagined it.
Its like saying that UFO is an alien spacecraft. Its no longer unidentified because by your statement you have already identified it.
Maybe the ghost is real
Reality is not something that is subject to interpetation it is reality even if nobody knows about it.
sounds and visions even though they don't exist in physical reality
That does not compute...Error, Error, Error...
Sound and vision is always in reality. Interpetation is completely mutable.
the way we perceive things in dreams
Am I now to believe that my dreams are reality?
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
#18
You say sound and vision are always in reality... do you experience sights and sounds in your dreams, or not?
The sights and sound of dreams are in my imagination which is also the only place ghosts can be.
When reality shines a light in my eyes or a loud noise is heard I wake up.
How do you know that?
I know many things. I suspect even more.
I have watched a tree die, fall and decompose so when I happen across a decomposing tree I don't automatically assume it always existed that way. I have sadly seen people die and they did not return as ghosts, I myself died and did not exist elsewhere but while my brain was deteriorating I hallucinated as my body went into panic mode as it sensed the lack of oxygenated blood. Endorphines were released that gave me euphoria. If my brain had died I would no longer exist.

Frankenstein is Science Fiction.
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
#19
Here's a treat:
The Silent Frankenstein Film published in 1910 over at Archive.org

Frankenstein : Thomas Edison : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

Here is the file list available for download

FrankensteinfullMovie.thumbs/ 25-Nov-2008 10:01 -
Frankenstein1910.gif 25-Nov-2008 10:02 334.6K
Frankenstein1910.mp4 24-Aug-2007 12:48 39.5M
Frankenstein1910.ogv 25-Nov-2008 10:23 48.6M
Frankenstein1910_512kb.mp4 25-Nov-2008 10:16 51.1M
FrankensteinfullMovie_archive.torrent 18-Mar-2014 01:32 7.5K
FrankensteinfullMovie_files.xml 17-Nov-2014 20:06 11.9K
FrankensteinfullMovie_meta.xml 19-Mar-2012 02:56 1.1K
FrankensteinfullMovie_reviews.xml 17-Nov-2014 20:06 13.0K
 
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