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  Bride, The Man Made Woman
Year: 1985
Director: Franc Roddam
Stars: Sting, Jennifer Beals, Clancy Brown, David Rappaport, Anthony Higgins, Geraldine Page, Alexei Sayle, Phil Daniels, Veruschka von Lehndorff, Cary Elwes, Quentin Crisp, Timothy Spall, Ken Campbell, Guy Rolfe, Andy de la Tour, Tony Haygarth, Janine Duvitski
Genre: Horror, Romance, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's a dramatic night as Baron Charles Frankenstein (Sting) prepares to re-enact his experiment to create life from death. It is at the bidding of his first creation, a towering, nameless monster (Clancy Brown), that Frankenstein makes him a mate, and so it is that once the thunderstorm rumbles over his castle the as yet lifeless body of the bride (Jennifer Beals) is hoisted up amongst the equipment. Abruptly, the lightning strikes and the bride's bandaged body contorts with the massive electrical charge, but the bolts also hit the equipment and it looks like the experiment will be a disaster. Frankenstein and his assistant, Dr Zalhus (Quentin Crisp), prepare for the worst, but - she's alive!

Taking as its premise the story of what might have happened after the climax of the 1935 classic Bride of Frankenstein, The Bride presented itself as a feminist telling of the tale scripted by Lloyd Fonvielle, but one which had very little to do with the original Mary Shelley novel. After helping the monster's would-be mate down, Frankenstein seems more interested in keeping her for himself, and that's pretty much the whole story, with the added bonus of the monster creating havoc in the laboratory, killing off Crisp and Igor-alike Timothy Spall (the supporting cast is quite something here), and going on the run to have his own adventures.

These adventures start when he meets Rinaldo (David Rappaport), a dwarf on the way to join a Budapest circus. What this means for the viewer is like watching two films running at once, with the difficult to become engaged with Bride story alternating with the monster's life on the road with his new friend. The monster's story is the more interesting one, with a sympathetic but deeply clich├ęd lovelorn and dumb brute interpretation from Brown, but there's an underdeveloped link between he and the Bride - now called Eva - a possibly psychic link at that with them sharing the odd feeling of dizziness or sorrow.

It's all far too tasteful for its own good, and not only that, once the exciting and explosive opening is over with the whole thing grows desperately predictable. Frankenstein as portrayed by Sting is more of a foppish dandy than a driven man of science, and you'd be surprised if he could change a plug never mind fashion life from stitched together body parts. So of course he falls in love with Eva, and despite his talk of making a new, modern woman capable of her own choices he wants his dinner on the table every evening and demands husband-ly privileges as well. It's a wonder he doesn't announce "I made you, and I can destroy you too!"

Meanwhile, Rinaldo and the monster, named Victor now, reach the circus and get a job performing there with a trapeze act. And what do you know, the act includes Rinaldo pretending to fall to his death but actually using a safety cord and given that the owner (Alexei Sayle) has a real grudge against him, can you possibly guess what happens to the little man? Even as it takes the romantic angle for its creations and downplays the horror, The Bride finds very sparse excitement in its new spin and instead relies on a "men are all after one thing" angle and a Mills and Boon conclusion for its supposedly modern approach. Given that the original film had a perfectly satisfying ending, the only thing this film proves is that they were right to finish the 1930s movie when they did. Music by Maurice Jarre.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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