Frankenstein's Monster

"It's alive, it's alive, it's alive! It's alive!"
Dr. Henry Frankenstein, Frankenstein (1931)

An iconic product of mad science, the creature has lumbered through scores of films and TV series, monstrous yet also pitiful.

*Warning: Spoilers Ahead!*

In the original 1818 book by Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein creates the monster, then, repulsed by his creation, immediately throws it out. Later, it returns and demands that Victor make it a wife. He agrees, then reconsiders and destroys the half-completed bride. The monster retaliates by killing Victor's best friend and threatens more death should Victor ever marry. Victor marries his adoptive sister, who is also his cousin, Elizabeth, who is promptly killed while Victor is dutifully staying away from her thinking the threat was to him. Victor then chases the monster into the Arctic, where the weather kills him. The monster then goes off and kills himself (or at least he says that's what he's going to do).

Few of this book's tropes were original — most were commonplace in Gothic novels of the eighteenth century — but they provide the oldest examples that are still widely read today. In it, the monster is created a blank slate, but is driven to evil by the way society mistreats it.

The book was first filmed in 1910, but the 1931 Universal Pictures production was the most influential version. This film added several now familiar tropes to the story, including:

In the early films, the monster is evil because a criminal or damaged brain was used. Modern films and TV series often revert to the original idea, depicting the monster as an innocent trapped in a monstrous body, unaware of the damage he can do, rejected by a cruel world. When it starts out as an Evil Minion, it often does a Heel–Face Turn.

The name of the monster himself is up for debate. Popular culture and even a couple of the movies just go ahead and refer to him as "Frankenstein" because he's a sort of "offspring" of the doctor. Originally, his name is Adam, at least according to readings given by Shelley during her lifetime. In the text of the book itself, though, he is generally referred to as "the creature" or "the daemon" (Frankenstein didn't care about him enough to give him a name, and since the creature never made any friends, he didn't bother to name himself). See also Dr. Fakenstein for cases where this naming issue is averted.

Part of the classic Monster Mash with Dracula, Mummy, and the Wolf Man. Compare also with the Flesh Golem.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Soreike! Anpanman has Frankenrobo, which is a robot form of a Frankenstein's monster.
  • Nobuhiro Watsuki (creator of Rurouni Kenshin and Busou Renkin) made a one-shot called Embalming: Corpse and Bride. The main character is a monster called John Doe, and other monsters are the bad guys. A modified version with new main characters (but with John lurking in the background) is now running under the title Embalming: The Another Tale of Frankenstein. The premise of both is that Frankenstein's notebooks survived his death, and a thriving underground corpse-raising industry has resulted.
    • Speaking of Busou Renkin, that series has a character who has traits of both the good doctor and his creation- not as seen in the movies, but as presented in the original novel. The character Victor is a human alchemist-turned-hommunculus who is unstoppably destructive (against his control), and is a highly intellectual Tragic Monster.
  • In Soul Eater Dr. Franken Stein (First name Franken, last name Stein) is a (barely) good guy who literally has a giant screw loose in his head; he constantly is tightening it. Obsessed with vivisection (he has taken his own body apart and stitched it back together), the very concept of insanity, and the nature of knowledge of man in respect to God; he's an amalgamation of Frankenstein's Monster and Dr. Frankenstein himself. Being clever, the writers eventually give him a partner named Mary.
    • Stein has had his own test-subject in his former Weapon, Spirit Albarn (himself descended from people experimented on by the witch Arachne). Franken also frequently expresses desire to cut up/dissect various characters, including child god Death the Kid. Which, given his issues with gods, is something that might be worth keeping an eye on. Maybe.
    • Technically, unless fan translations are consistently wrong, Stein's partner is named 'Marie'. Just to clarify.
      • Because "Marie" Shelley wrote Frankenstein, right?
  • In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, attempts to revive the dead with alchemy results in Homunculi, Frankensteinian monsters with special powers. Several of these monsters also feature the same kind of pathologies and relationships with its master as Frankenstein's original monster.
  • From the same creator is Raiden 18, a recurring Black Comedy series about a girl who's favorite hobby is creating frankenstein monsters.
  • The original Dragon Ball Goku befriends the Red Ribbon Army's Android #8, who was an obvious reference to the Monster. Strangely enough, he only plays a bit part in Z, although several other androids in the same line show up and play major roles in the storyline.
    • The real Frankenstein's Monster is Cell, who was created from the cells of Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta, Frieza, and King Cold.
  • The Mariages from StrikerS Sound Stage X. Also known as Corpse Weapons, these are mass-produced artificial soldiers created from corpses, courtesy of the technology from Ancient Belka.
  • Franken Fran has... well, Fran. She's what would happen if Frankenstein had made a Cute Monster Girl and sent it to medical school. While skipping ethics class.
  • There's a 1981 anime adaptation of Shelley's original novel. The monster never gets beyond inarticulate grunting, there's a poorly executed Christ metaphor, and to cap it all off, the ending is pure Trauma Conga Line as the monster, realizing that he's hurting people, throws himself off a cliff in front of the little girl he befriended. As she's mourning him, her father, one of the people who persecuted the monster, shoots himself. Poor little girl. The best place to find this is the Anime Hell panel of several American conventions.
  • Junji Ito has done a manga adaptation. With his signature artistic style, it's quite creepy and notable for following Shelly's original story very faithfully.
  • Zombies from The Voynich Hotel tend to look like this.
  • Akim Papladon from Blood Lad is an artificial demon who is created by Doctor Franken who has screws in his head. Akim steals body parts he likes from other beings and attachs them on his body. His heart can be transplanted into other corpses.
  • The Halloween Episode from Bleach has Ichigo Kurosaki alias Franken Ichigo who was revived by his sisters Karin (the doctor) and Yuzu (the assistant).

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering tends to do this to the tougher zombies that you can play that aren't zombified version. Not to mention the monster himself.
    • The Innistrad set takes this idea and runs with it with their Blue Zombie cycle. Skaab and Stitched creatures are made from the combined corpses of various other creatures, and this is represented in-game by how you must remove a number of creatures from your graveyard as an additional cost to summoning them. To drive the point home, the card Rooftop Storm, which resembles a mad scientist's laboratory, makes all zombies cost 0 mana, but you still need bodies to play them.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
  • Golden Age cartoonist Dick Briefer had a noteworthy run in the 1940’s/1950’s which went through three distinct changes in style. The first incarnation, beginning in Prize Comics #7 (1940) presented the creature as a Villain Protagonist of high intellect battling first his own creator and later the superheroic Bulldog Denny. (The monster was eventually defeated by a coalition of Prize Comics’ co-stars in one of the first superhero crossover stories). The tone shifted to humor in Frankenstein #1 (1945), with stories that could be considered precursors to The Munsters and The Addams Family. Finally, in the early 1950’s, with EC Comics dominating the market, Briefer returned the monster to his more horrific roots with a memorable re-imagining of the monster as a mute wanderer. Examples of Briefer’s work from all three periods can be found at these blogs: Early Horror. Humor. Later Horror.
  • The latter of the two title characters in the comic book miniseries Doll And Creature is essentially a '50s greaser version of Frankenstein's monster from a freaky future world. Doll is a human woman, but she has the classic Bride of Frankenstein two-tone beehive hairdo.
  • Appears as a (titanically Bad Ass) hero in Grant Morrison's comic Seven Soldiers of Victory. The name issue is resolved by stating that he's deliberately taken Dr. Frankenstein's name as his own. The Bride also features, not just with the classic hair-do, but also with an extra pair of arms.
  • The monster also featured in Hellboy, where he was forced by a Mexican Mad Scientist (who bought him) to fight Hellboy in a wrestling match. He got his own spinoff series in 2015.
  • In a Howard the Duck comic from the '70s, Steve Gerber revived the story with two twists. One, the Dr. Frankenstein figure was a little girl. Two, the monster she created was a seven-foot walking gingerbread man.
  • Little Gloomy has Frank, who is, well, the Monster. He's slightly dim (slightly), and parts of him occasionally fall off and need to be restitched. He's actually one of the main characters, with a crush on Gloomy herself (though eventually he gets a "bride", Shelley).
  • The 'actual' Frankenstein's Monster has showed up many times over the years in comic books, but DC's Swamp Thing also had The Patchwork Man, a normal man who was 'repaired' (badly) by Swamp Thing's enemy the Mad Scientist Anton Arcane. Adding to the tragedy, the unfortunate in question was Anton's brother, and the father of Swamp Thing's human girlfriend.
  • Volume 2 of Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic book includes a "bonus" world almanac of fantastical places, which reveals that after jumping off the ship at the end of the original novel, the creature found his way into Toyland, and married the queen.
  • Bizarro, in incarnations where he is an imperfect clone of Superman created by Lex Luthor, such as on Superman: The Animated Series, is pretty much Frankenstein's Monster.
  • Like Dracula, Dell Comics turned Frankenstein's Monster into an honest to goodness Super Hero.
  • In Fables, Frakenstein's Monster was animated by Nazis during World War II. Bigby fought the monster (in a reference to the 1943 film Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man) when he and a squad of Allied soldiers stormed the castle where the experiment was being performed. The Monster's still-animated head is kept in the business office in the Woodlands building where Bigby chats with him from time to time. He often has phantom thirst and is given drinks by Bufkin, though the last time this happened, the bottom of his cage rusted out.
  • In the Batman Elseworlds comic Castle of the Bat, set in 1819 Germany, Bruce Wayne's desire to bring back his father leads him to play out the role of Dr. Frankenstein: He constructs a patchwork body from corpses, and places Thomas Wayne's brain inside. Then he injects the reanimated

Alternative Title(s): Frankenstein Monster