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“Science, like love, has myriad little surprises, as you shall see.” Dr. Pretorius, The Bride of Frankenstein
Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and despite my best efforts to thwart the temporary hormonal imbalance it brings, I found Love tugging at my cholesterol caked heart strings. Love was everywhere, down the aisles at the grocery store, in the eyes of the couples holding hands in the park, I think I even caught hints of it in the air, like walking into the bathroom the morning after Oma had her stewed prune casserole. Fie! No matter how much Lysol I sprayed I could not seem to kill it. Love is a pesky bug that even the staunchest of us mad scientists cannot seem to eradicate.
They* say, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” (*Whomever “they” are.). If it were only so easy. We mad scientists, while being the most virile of men, do not attract the women the way the square-jawed, muscle boys do. So how was I to get my love?
Chemicals and hypnosis? Feh. Yeah, they work, but I did not want to be that guy.
Tinder, AshleyMadison, and QualityRussianWives.com? Feh. I’m not creepy enough to be that guy.
Science! That was how. I would MAKE love. That is, literally create my special lady love.
I decided to investigate how my forefathers did it: Uropa (great grandfather) Doktor in the 30s, Opa (grandfather) Doktor in the 50s, and Vati (father) Doktor in the 80s. Since they’ve all passed on the the great laboratory in the sky, my research consisted of watching The Bride of Frankenstein, Bride of the Monster, and Bride of Re-Animator. Here is the chronicle of what I learned.
How Uropa Doktor Did It: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
This movie was a disappointment. The bride is beautiful, with the most wonderful head of hair, but as perfect a woman as she is she does not show until the last five minutes of the movie. Actually, I am not sure why it is titled Bride of Frankenstein. Frist, as I wrote, she does not show up until the very end. There is precious little bride and way too much of the pointless continuing adventures of the monster. Heck, The Pointless Continuing Adventures of Frankenstien’s Monster would have been a better title. Second, she does not marry anyone. So, she is not even a bride. She is a just a woman creature who was set up on a blind marriage with the monster. In fact, when she sees the “man” she has been set up with she freaks out. I cannot say I blame her. He is a monster—literally. True to the monster boyfriend stereotype, as soon as she shuns him he decides that if he cannot have her no one will. So Love, the laboratory, and some hired help all go up in flames. The End.
While the castle was quite nice, and the lab was to die for, the science: dead wrong. The one thing the movie got right, and spot on at that, was the portrayal of the monster boyfriend. See, ladies, tall, dark, and strong are not all they are cracked up to be.
How Opa Doktor Did It: Bride of the Monster (1955)
I do not know why I thought I could get anything out of an Ed Wood, Jr. movie, but I watched it anyway. I know, shame on me. I did get a good chuckle though.
There’s no bride in this movie. There is one woman. As she is barely a plot device I cannot recall her name, so let us call her Ms. Woman (Loretta King). Naturally she wrecks her car. No good reason other than she was a woman. She proceeds to pass out when she sees a quite random boa constrictor wound around the tree she crashed into. All of this allows her to be captured by Dr. Vornoff’s (Bela Lugosi) man thug, Lobo (Tor Johnson). This is quite fortuitous because Varnoff is always looking for fresh subjects to test his Atomic Super Mutant Radiation Therapy, or ASMRT, on.
For unfathomable reasons, Varnoff dresses Ms. Woman in a wedding gown to prepare her for the procedure. Perhaps the silky materials facilitates radiation particles. Maybe that was the only dress Ed Wood, Jr. had that was clean. So, Ms. Woman is strapped to the table in a flowing wedding gown.
Oh, wait a moment. I forgot to explain what Varnoff is hoping to accomplish with ASMRT. You see, this is the time when we mad scientists were convinced that huge doses of radiation would cause fantastic mutations, transforming the recipients with incredible powers or abilities, rather than cause horribly devastating cancers. In the case of Ms. Woman specifically the ASMRT was going to make her “super strong and super beautiful” as opposed to a steamy puddle of human-goo.
Or perhaps it would do that. Up to this point he was only able to successfully atomic super mutant Nessie (some exposition had him in Loch Ness before he came to America) and a swamp octopus he keeps as a pet to guard his swamp-locked laboratory.
And then, like so many prom night dreams, everything goes horribly wrong. Lobo is in Lurv with Ms. Woman, and while he is enamored of the whippings he receives from his master, he cannot abide by the destruction of his lady love. Despite the fact that she screams and wets herself every time she Lobo, his unrequited love for her drives him to knock out Varnoff, switch Ms. Woman’s place on the table with Varnoff, and, though he can only just manage to put on his slip on shoes, he sets the controls and turns on the machine.
Mostly the ASMRT works. Mostly. Varnoff becomes Atomic Super Mutant Varnoff—with poo-smeared face. He breaks free of the puny restraints and knocks some sense into Lobo. By “knocks some sense” I mean couple super punches puts Lobo down fast as Travis Coates boom stick put down Old Yeller.
Atomic Super Mutant Varnoff takes off with Ms. Woman to do something in the swamp. Lt. Dick, Ms. Woman’s fiancé, pushes a swamp bolder at Atomic Super Mutant Varnoff knocking him into the waiting arms of his pet swamp octopus. A well placed lightning strike hits the struggling mutants setting off an atomic blast.
As the heroes look at the blast, which incidentally is only feet from where they are standing, Capt. Robbins sums up the moral morass of the story with, “He tampered in God’s domain.”
Bride of the Monster is another one that gets the science wrong. Actually, the only “science” in the movie is the wall of test tubes, Bunsen burners, and BLFNAR (blinking lights for no apparent reason). Additionally, there was nothing about brides, not how to make one or win one or even how to use one’s power of hypnosis to force one to your will (see the image for Varnoff’s sweet technique that’s totally wasted). All Bride of the Monster gave us was one test subject made up in wedding dress. That, Mr. Wood, is quite a stretch to add bride to the title.
Bride of the Monster does one thing, which is, warn us mad scientists against trusting our minions to have your back when a lady is involved. So much for mad scientist’s best friend.
How Vati Doktor Did It: Bride of Re-Animator (1989)
Now here is a movie with some substance. Firstly, there is not one, but two mad scientists, Dr. Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) and Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs). I was sure this movie would have some answers for me. And lo, it did! Plus there is plenty of glowing reagent, freak abominations of living body pieces, and hubris that only Jeffrey Combs can embody: “I will not be shackled by the failures of your God.”
Hmmm! Now there’s a mad scientist, mad scientist!
If you love him so much why don’t you marry him?
Shut up, brain, or I’ll stab you with a glass stirring rod.
Like Bride of Frankenstein, in Bride of Re-Animator the two doctors are attempting to construct a woman. Dr. Cain and Dr. West’s creation is more than just random parts, though there are plenty of those, too. What makes her so special is that she starts with the heart of Dr. Cain’s beloved Megan Halsey. Moreover, as a kind of icing on the bridal cake, Dr. West secures the head of Gloria (Kathleen Kinmont), a patient Dr. Cain had recently become emotionally attached to but lost.
What a guy!
Also like in Bride of Frankenstein, bride of re-animator (the woman creature lacks a name) does not show up until later in the movie. Unlike Bride of Frankenstein, she is the actually part of the plot, so Dr. Cain and Dr. West are working on her throughout the movie. Once she is re-animated she has more than 5 minutes of screen time, too.
Sadly, it turns out that as perfect as bride of re-animator may have been, exposed muscles and metal braces holding her skeleton together notwithstanding, Dr. Cain finds something far more attractive in regular old Francesca (Fabiana Udenio), a woman made the old fashioned way, the temporary hormonal imbalance culminating in the sharing of DNA fluids.
Sigh. All that work wasted. Well, there is the cat fight between bride of re-animator and Francesca for Cain’s love. It ends with bride of re-animator tearing out her heart, shrieking, “Is this what you want?” (See the middle picture in the main image.) That was sweet.
Interestingly, just like monster boyfriends, monster girlfriends suffer from homicidal jealously, or in other words, if bride of re-animator cannot have Cain, no one will.
Maybe Capt. Robbins was onto something with the not tampering in Gods blah, blah, blah stuff.
So what is the take away? One, monster boyfriends are hateful creatures. Two, never trust your minion when a woman is involved, no matter how much he says he enjoys being chained to the water heater in the basement. Three, even if one does manage to build the perfect woman, starting with the most tender part of one’s most beloved, as it turns out a good old fashioned girl will win out in the end.
What if you don’t have a good old fashioned girl to win? Well, you can do like I did. Netflix and chill, with yourself.