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15 best Frankenstein movies

6. Young Frankenstein (1974)

The Frankenstein movie: Spoof? Parody? Homage? Whatever you choose to call it, this is Mel Brooks as his finest, poking fun at the entire Frankenstein mythology through this brilliantly-realised comedy.

Where it stands apart from what we've now come to describe as "spoof" is its attention to detail. Many particulars of Shelley's story are expanded upon and mercilessly mocked all in the name of subversion. The un-PC gags at the expense of the little girl and the blind man are two of its best. Bringing aboard a stream of top comics like Gene Wilder, Madeleine Kahn, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman and Teri Garr is what makes this tickle the funny bone with each repeat viewing.

Monstrous moment: When the Monster hits the stage decked out in his tuxedo and busts out some killer tap-dancing moves.

5. The Monster Squad (1987)

The Frankenstein movie: The popularity of The Goonies and Ghostbusters with a younger demographic led to this underseen eighties gem. The Monster Squad brings humor to an assembly of Universal's most revered monsters, thanks to horror director Fred Dekker (Night of The Creeps), who co-penned the film with a young Shane Black before his foray into actioners.

Here's what happens: a bunch of kids who love monster movies discover that an old incantation and an amulet can bring all those creatures to life. Make no mistake: this is a love letter to youth. Kinda like Stand By Me but without the MacGuffin-ous corpse.

Monstrous moment: See how long you can keep the tears at bay when the Monster sacrifices himself in order to let everyone else survive.

4. Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein (1948)

The Frankenstein movie: Abbott and Costello worked through one period of their illustrious career by placing themselves into many parodic scenarios with Universal's monsters. This movie marks the beginning of that era, and is still considered to be their best attempt at humorous crossovers.

Count Dracula and The Wolfman join together in an effort to revive Frankenstein's Monster, which is in need of some major upgrades including a new brain. Enter Abbott and Costello, as a pair of baggage handlers who cross paths with Dracula and Wolfman, the former deciding that one of them would make an apt candidate for the job.

Monstrous moment: Amped up with enough voltage to power Blackpool Illuminations, the Monster leaps from the table and pushes Dr. Sandra Mornay out of the window to her death. Well, she was in on the whole ruse to steal a brain.

3. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

The Frankenstein movie: The first in Hammer Films' bracket of gothic horrors re-introduced the Frankenstein myth with a distinctly Anglo-vibe. Eager to outperform their main rivals Universal, the studio went all out to make a solid genre movie that would appeal to the masses. This is no ordinary monster movie: it was also their first attempt at filming in colour.

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee emerged as equally formidable talents tackling the roles of Victor Frankenstein and Frankenstein's monster. Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff might have got their first, but with Lee cutting such an imposing figure his Monster remains the more fearful.

Monstrous moment: The creation of the Monster is drenched in gore, never once does the camera veer away as Victor sews together the bloody organs and limbs of his creature.

2. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The Frankenstein movie: One of the first - and best - horror sequels to achieve the same levels of success as its predecessor. James Whale returned to shoot his second Frankenstein movie, lured in by the promise of creative control: a risk by the studio that paid off. Bride takes its cues from what made the original such a mega smash, and pushed it farther, as a kind of riff on romantic comedies.

Boris Karloff reprises his role as the Monster, who this time around is desperate for a mate. Elsa Lancaster took on the part of his wife, a companion whose zigzag shock of white cut through her towering hairdo made her an equally iconic figure.

Monstrous moment: The single line the Monster utters as sets the laboratory to explode, taking both he and his new bride up with it. "You stay. We belong dead."

1. Frankenstein (1931)

The Frankenstein movie: A true classic that never goes out of style. James Whale's stalwart offering set the bar for every other Frankenstein film that followed in its lumbering wake. As influential as the actual novel itself, there's many tropes created solely for the film which later outings would mimic to lesser effect. The bumbling walk of the Monster was created by stuffing weights into Boris Karloff's shoes. The eerie lighting a part of the commendable production design. And the histrionic acting of Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein, the first Scream Queen.

Of everything the film gifted to cinema, it's the iconic figure of Karloff's Monster which audiences remember. Less of a sympathetic, misunderstood creation than Shelley's, Whale casts him as an abject being. Something other. Something to truly be feared.

Monstrous moment: The Monster at last finds peace when he happens upon a young girl, innocently tossing flowers into a lake to watch them float on the water's surface. When they're all gone, the Monster assumes the child will do the same and throws her in.

Gem is GR+'s west coast entertainment news reporter. She’s a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator.