This Dark Endeavor: Other Frankenstein Spin-Offs

Part of what makes This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel so much fun to read, is that it offers a fresh take on the classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

There have been countless adaptations and “twists” of the beloved tale over the years, so today we take a look at some of our favorites from film, TV, and print.

On Screen

Frankenstein (1931)

This is, perhaps, the most iconic of all adaptations. Universal’s 1931 adaptation is a far cry from the original source material, but provided a lot of the iconic imagery still associated with Frankenstein today — and launched Boris Karloff into eternal fame.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

This movie adaptation is a bit more accurate to the source material than the 1931 version. It stars Kenneth Branagh as Victor Frankenstein, with Robert de Niro as his monster. ‘

Young Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s classic gets a comedic send-up in this classic Mel Brooks’ film starring Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, and other all-stars. The film mostly riffs on the 1931 Universal movie, but has plenty of references to Shelley’s original tale — despite taking MANY liberties. It’s also since been adapted into a Broadway musical.

The X-Files: “The Post-Modern Prometheus”

This classic episode of the hit TV series The X-Files is a veritable smorgasbord of tributes to the Frankenstein novel, the 1931 movie adaptation, and the music if Cher. The episode features a loose Frankenstein-esque storyline, references to the original text, and was filmed in black and white as homage to the 1931 movie.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Though a far cry from anything Mary Shelley could have ever imagined, this campy cult-classic features the iconic Dr. Frank-N-Furter (portrayed by Tim Curry), who — instead of creating a monster — creates the perfect man. The plot of Rocky Horror really has nothing at all to do with Frankenstein, but anyone who knows the book can see where filmmakers found their inspiration.

On the Page

Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein Series

Best-selling thriller-horror author Dean Koontz made his stamp on the Frankenstein lore with a series of novels that offer a modern-day retelling of Mary Shelley’s novel. Over five books, Koontz and co-author Kevin J. Anderson pit a reanimated giant and two police detectives against the scientist who created him.

The series was also adapted into a TV movie for the USA Network in 2004, and a graphic novel adaptation is also in the works.

For the comments: There are certainly plenty of other references, adaptations, and new takes on Frankenstein in pop culture. Tell us your favorites below!


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