Frankenstein remix

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Frankenstein remix

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1naimahaviland
maig 15, 2012, 4:15pm

Hi guys,

I found this review about an interactive rendition of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and wanted to share it:

http://www.salon.com/2012/04/30/frankenstein_remixed_salpart/

2alaudacorax
maig 15, 2012, 10:07pm

Hmmm. Can't say that interactive novels have ever really got my attention before. I have mixed feelings.

My first instinct was antagonism towards it - taking liberties with the text and all that. Then I thought about it a bit and realised that was a knee-jerk reaction and that it was really no different to making a dramatisation or a musical of a book. It's actually quite an interesting idea.

Then I wondered about the level at which the reader would be interacting with the novel. Shelley was not just telling a good story, she had deeper things to say and ask. Would the reader be interacting only with the surface story? Would they be guided towards the deeper levels?

Then I decided that I'm never going to find out: the world seems to be always so full of new things and life is so short - we have to pick and choose and I think this is one facet on which I'm going to pass (mind you, it's not so many years since I said the exact same thing about the internet).

And need I point out that there has always been interaction - a two-way process - between thoughtful reader and good literature?

3brother_salvatore
maig 16, 2012, 7:56am

That looks like a very interesting take. When I have time, I'm gonna have to delve into it a little more and see what I think. Frankenstein is one of my favorite novels, and I have very strong opinions about it, so I'm leary about this sort of 'interactive' idea. (Isn't fiction already 'interactive'?)

Thanks for the heads up and link.

4housefulofpaper
maig 16, 2012, 7:10pm

I've been resistant to this sort of thing at least since the early eighties: I kept freeing a poor shackled prisoner in a "choose-your-own-adventure book", and he kept killing me. It both offended my innate sense of justice and demonstrated that I'm really quite stupid!

I like the idea of multi-media supporting materials, like supercharged notes from a Penguin Classic, though.

5frahealee
Editat: ag. 30, 2018, 11:11am

Happy Birthday to Mary Shelley! Cheers to any and every way of keeping her superb Gothic offering alive =)

MWS 1797-1851

I am now, the age she was when she died, and it is startling to think her talent and ferocity was primed to produce Frankenstein at the tender age of 18, published at age 20 in Jan1818. Astounding.

Might treat myself to Elle Fanning's interpretation of this riveting character. Mary Shelley (2017) and maybe watch Gene Hackman as the blind man in Young Frankenstein (1974) just for fun, since 'alaudacorax' has already planted the seed.

What is your favourite? The book? The original film(s)? A graphic novel? Did it begin your Gothic romp or did it appear later, as it did for me? My first read through the original story was only a few years ago, after seeing two movies back-to-back. The Kenneth Branagh version, after stumbling upon the Gothic novel adaptation filmed in Australia, which I knew nothing about at the time. Strange to think it took that long to source out the original. Found de Niro distracting but effective in his role, and loved the extra bits when Bill Nighy was paired with Miranda Otto and Jai Courtney and Aaron Eckhart. Bill, for being such a funny man, was terrifying.

6alaudacorax
Editat: ag. 31, 2018, 4:14am

>5 frahealee:

Not always (perhaps not often) Gothic, but I think it's well worth reading Mary Shelley's short stories; especially as you can get her complete works ridiculously cheaply on Kindle.

Second question first:
I grew up with various incarnations of the screen Frankenstein and I have childhood memories (this would be in the 'fifties) of us kids chasing each other round the back lanes, one of us being 'Frankenstein' - we never distinguished creator and creation - with arms held out in front. But I don't think I read the book or was particularly aware of the author till I did my degree, quite late in life, when it was a set book in one of my courses (the same possibly goes for Dracula). Before anything else, I believe my way into Gothic literature was Poe, and possibly Lovecraft (my early memories are more of his fantasies) - I read both by my late teens, I believe, courtesy of the local library. I still remember what the books looked like. And then, when I was older and had 'disposable income', there were those paperback, horror, short-story anthologies, where I probably first learned of all the other 'usual suspects'.

Your question on favourites has me stumped, to be honest. First of all, I don't think I've ever really connected the book to the film versions. Nowadays, I think Frankenstein one of the great novels, quite transcending both the genre and my love for it. I'd probably put it in my 'top ten' novel list of all genres. As for films, I don't think I can go beyond Karloff in the 1931 Frankenstein and the 1935 Bride of Frankenstein, and the 1957 The Curse of Frankenstein with Lee and Cushing; but to choose between them defeats me (having said that, I suspect there is a bit of nostalgia colouring my view of the latter - part of my youth - and that in reality the two James Whales are the greater films). But I think my subconscious has quite firmly separated films from book.

I've yet to see the Branagh film - probably because I can't get my head around the idea of De Niro as the creature. I really should get round to it.
I note that Mary Shelley, the film, is comparatively poorly reviewed, so I'm not going out of my way to see it until it turns up somewhere I can watch it for free.
Which is the Australian film you refer to?

ETA - Winston Churchill wrote something like, "Sorry this post is so long - didn't have time to write a shorter one."

7frahealee
Editat: ag. 31, 2018, 12:04pm

>6 alaudacorax: I agree. Great novel, far surpassing all film versions. I might even reread it annually as I have done with some Bronte and Dickens books.

Branagh's film Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) follows the novel fairly accurately, with the focus on the blind man in his hut, and the creature learning so much from observing him, and on the existence of the female figure craved by the creature. The Australian film was called I, Frankenstein (2013). The dvd somehow ended up in our possession and I watched the bonus features with my twin sons since they had questions about the very Catholic motif featured in that particular movie. I had not realized it was based on a graphic novel, but the writer has a cameo role in the film, and after piecing it all together, we three watched it multiple times, uncovering more and more detail each time (ie. the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, which my sisters and I learned by rote as children at our separate school, but which my children at their separate school did not so I dug out my old prayer card and the boys were thrilled). Kevin Grevioux wrote Darkstorm Studios graphic novel, and co-wrote the script with director Stuart Beattie.

I watched a 30min interview with Margaret Atwood this week, about Cat's Eye, which reiterated the concept that writers (in the 60s/70s in Cda) had 3 sources to honour; Greek mythology, fairy tales, the Bible. She mentioned that her own schooling had been through the Protestant system, but that she had followed the Catholic tradition closely since images/rituals had a greater impact than her own experience. This I found fascinating, because I had assumed she was Catholic. Seems that, like Leonard Cohen, who grew up in Montreal with it all around him but not participating in it, the visual imprint was vivid but not emotional. (For the record, she keeps Shakespeare in a class all his own. Any use of his themes or words, is an apt homage.)

Anyway, this explains a lot, why the religious element buoyed the graphic novel version, and thus that 2013 movie. Although a financial flop, we liked it because we 'got' it. Same with KB's film, which bombed in the USA but I appreciate his mirroring of the novel (w/lots of spectacle as is his habit). Same with Mary Shelly (2017) … I am no film critic, simply a fan. I avoid reviews, and favour this film from the PB Shelley/poet aspect. Love poet 'bios' regardless, ie. Bright Star (2009).

Poe drew me to Gothic as a pre-teen. Wuthering Heights was a grade 10/1980/age 15-16 highlight, werewolves at the drive-in, then personal interest apart from school led me into some Gothic/horror/sci-fi/fantasy. It all blurs together in my memory now, since at the time I didn't know what to call 'them' but I have never read a book (beyond high school) in order to study it, which I cherish. Every novel/poem/short story/non-fic has been for pleasure. I often read books friends (those who did choose to go to university) recommended. No obligation. My first post on LT was Nov/Dec2017, at which time I decided to try "50Bks in 2018" to glimpse natural habits. It was LT that 'tagged' many of my 200 books as Gothic. I had NO idea that was a reflex having never tracked it before. I love that! I have read many more books than I have entered on this site, but prefer to keep it 'free' for now. Numbers don't matter to me, just patterns.

-ps- conversations should never be edited, only formal writing projects ; D

8frahealee
Editat: ag. 31, 2018, 12:10pm

I might mention as an aside, that my background contains a good view of both sides of the coin. My father was Italian/Catholic and my mother was British/Anglican. Both of her parents were born in England, came to Canada, married, had 4 kids. In the 50s in order for Mum to marry Dad, she had to convert, so we were raised RC. When I mention religion as an element of observation, it is simply my lifelong lens. I am not a tortured Catholic who got slapped on the knuckles by grumpy nuns with rulers. My dad worked at the church during my years in grade school, and I would go next door after school to help out with chores. It was my 'clubhouse', as comfortable as my own skin. The Gothic building was not scary to me even as a child, it had a pious but homey feel and I spent hours there. Mum was in the choir for 40yrs and Dad worked there until his back gave out (scoliosis). My mother converted because she wanted to be buried with my father in a Catholic cemetery, and they are. I still admire her conviction today.

This is just to lend perspective on my comments. Sorry if it is 'too much info' that might be bothersome. I wanted to convey that I've never had a bad faith experience and my view of both Catholic doctrine and the Protestant path are equally respected/understood. I don't mean to kick a hornet's nest, if that's what I've done. =(

9alaudacorax
set. 1, 2018, 6:26am

>7 frahealee:

Ah - my mistake - I thought you were talking about two different films. I've actually seen I, Frankenstein and wrote about it 'luke-warmly' in 'Gothic films - part three'. All the Catholic connection must have gone over my head (brought up English baptist), so now I'm tempted to watch it again. It must have gone over my head that it was filmed in Australia, too.
I quite agree on Nighy's capacity to be downright scary or a funny man - a great actor.
Actually, judging by the post I wrote about it, I must have watched that film with a particularly powerful half-bottle of wine ...

... since at the time I didn't know what to call 'them' ...
Yes! The more traditionally Gothic stories in all those anthologies were my favourites, but I didn't know then that they were Gothic. It probably came from my childhood obsession with two hefty and ancient, handed-down books, one of tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and the other of The Thousand and One Nights - they giving me an abiding taste for the exotic in my horror-stories, as opposed (mostly) to familiar, everyday settings. I'm a sucker for a decaying castle.

10housefulofpaper
set. 8, 2018, 3:13pm

>10 housefulofpaper:
I need to read Frankenstein again. I read the 1818 version in the early 90s and have never read the revised and now "official" version. I have a nice Folio Society hardback edition I should read it before this bicentennial year is up.

My favourite version must be the two Whale/Karloff films. I'd soaked up a lot of the imagery second hand through popular culture - the 1970s might have been the high water mark for recycling scary or violent or somehow "edgy" material for children - but I didn't see the films (on TV) until I was 16.

There were two sources that gave more specific information, one about the novel and one about the films. Firstly, the novel. There used to be a weekly educational magazine for children called "Look and Learn" that consisted of illustrated articles on all manner of subjects. A hardback "annual"was issued for the Christmas market. It may have recycled material from the weekly magazine, I don't know, But the annual for 1975 did have a piece on the creation of the story, focusing on the Villa Diodati storytelling contest and featuring an illustration of the creature supposedly based on Mary Shelley's original description, as a counterpoint to the Karloff makeup.

The TV mini-series Frankenstein: the True Story was shown around the same time I think. I was at least aware of it sufficiently to wonder if it was real!

A year later I received for Christmas The Whoopie Book of Frankie-Stein, which needs some explanation...Frankie-Stein was a comedy version of the creature (closely based on the Karloff make-up of course but otherwise more like a children's version of Herman Munster) created in the 1960s by artist Ken Reid. By the 1970s the character was a mainstay of a weekly comic called Whoopie. The book is a big annual in all but name. Between the reprinted comic strips there were a few text-based articles, one of which was a chronological overview of "Frankenstein" in films, starting with the 1932 film and focusing on the Universal sequels before touching on the Hammer version and I don't recall what other films. I'm pretty sure Munster Go Home! was mentioned. The piece was illustrated with stills and publicity photos (I'm pretty sure Christopher Lee's makeup was included).

There was another version of Frankenstein (meaning the creature) around at this time but I didn't get to see very much of it: this was a version that Marvel created, I believe actually for their black and white magazine line in the States which sidestepped the Comics Code Authority but nevertheless it was included in a horror-based weekly UK comic. Like all UK comics at the time, it was sold to and thought of as being solely for children, even though all the Marvel UK comics reprinted material that was aimed at more of a teenage or college readership.

But my mother drew the line at horror comics and I didn't get my hands on a copy of Dracula Lives! (Marvel's Tomb of Dracula was the lead feature being reprinted) until many years later.

11alaudacorax
abr. 30, 2019, 7:10pm

Weird and surreal experience tonight (it's 11:30pm as I start to type):

On holiday and knackered after a day's walking on sand dunes and salt marshes (and a winter putting on fat), I was vaguely looking at the Gothic collection on my Kindle for something to read and I fell asleep--this would have been about eight. I dreamed someone was reading aloud from a love-letter to Mary Shelley. I listened for a while before gradually waking up to find the voice still speaking! Tonight's edition of The Essay on BBC Radio 3, "'Dear Mary'--Continuing his imaginary correspondences with some of the world's great writers, Ian Sansom has put together a letter to Frankenstein author, Mary Shelley."

I suppose I'll re-listen to it on the iPlayer over a very late dinner ... saves the chore of deciding on something to read ...iplayer over a very late dinner ... saves the chore of deciding on something to read ...

Forgot to click 'Post message' ...

12alaudacorax
abr. 30, 2019, 8:29pm

More weirdness: when I listened again it became clear that I'd actually heard it all, even though I was asleep--I hadn't got the sense of it first time round, but I could remember all the words and phrases.