Bride of Frankenstein (character)

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Bride of Frankenstein
Bride of Frankenstein character
Elsa Lanchester as the Monster's Bride with Boris Karloff as the Monster in Bride of Frankenstein. The bride's conical hairdo, with its white lightning-trace streaks on each side, has become an iconic symbol of both the character and the film.
Created by William Hurlbut
Portrayed by Elsa Lanchester
Gender Female
Family Heinrich "Henry" von Frankenstein (creator)
Septimus Pretorius (creator)
Frankenstein's monster (companion/predecessor)

The Bride of Frankenstein is a fictional character briefly mentioned in the novel, Frankenstein, and officially introduced in the film, Bride of Frankenstein.



In Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein is tempted by his monster's proposal to create a female creature so that the monster can have a mate. He promises that if Victor grants his request, he and his mate will vanish into the wilderness of South America, never to reappear. Fearing for his family, Victor reluctantly agrees and travels to England to do his work. Working on a second being on the Orkney Islands, he is plagued by premonitions of what his work might wreak, particularly the idea that creating a mate for the creature might lead to the breeding of an entire race of creatures that could plague mankind. He destroys the unfinished female creature after he sees his first creation looking through the window. The monster witnesses this and vows to be with Victor on his upcoming wedding night. True to his word, the monster murders Frankenstein's new wife Elizabeth.


In Bride of Frankenstein, Henry Frankenstein's former mentor Doctor Septimus Pretorius proposes to Henry that together they create a mate for his Monster with Henry creating the body and Pretorius supplying an artificially-grown brain. Henry initially balks at the idea, but Pretorius threatens to expose him to the authorities as the creator of the Monster. Henry eventually agrees to help his mentor when the monster kidnaps Henry's wife Elizabeth. Henry returns to his tower laboratory where in spite of himself, he grows excited by his work. After being assured of Elizabeth's safety, Henry completes the Bride's body. A storm rages as final preparations are made to bring the Bride to life. Her bandage-wrapped body is raised through the roof. Lightning strikes a kite sending electricity through the Bride. They remove her bandages and help her to stand. Pretorius then declares it "The Bride of Frankenstein!" The excited Monster sees his mate and reaches out to her. When the monster quotes "friend" to it, the Bride screams in horror at the sight of him. When the Monster tries to advance on her, the Bride screams again as the Monster quotes "She hate me! Like others." As Elizabeth races to Henry's side, the Monster rampages through the laboratory and puts his hand on a lever. When Henry tells Elizabeth that he can't leave his creation, the Monster tells Henry and Elizabeth "Yes! Go! You live!" To Pretorius and the Bride, he says "You stay. We belong dead." While Henry and Elizabeth flee, the Monster sheds a tear as the Bride hisses, and he then pulls a lever to trigger the destruction of the laboratory and tower. The following film Son of Frankenstein reveals that the monster survives the explosion while the fates of Pretorius and the Bride are unknown.

Production info[edit]

Early in production, James Whale decided that the same actress cast to play the Bride should also play Mary Shelley in the film's prologue, to represent how the story — and horror in general — springs from the dark side of the imagination.[1] He considered Brigitte Helm and Phyllis Brooks before deciding on Elsa Lanchester. Lanchester, who had accompanied husband Charles Laughton to Hollywood, had met with only moderate success at that point. Lanchester had returned alone to London when Whale contacted her to offer her the dual role.[2] Lanchester modeled the Bride's hissing on the hissing of swans. She gave herself a sore throat while filming the hissing sequence, which Whale shot from multiple angles.[3]

The Bride (1985 film)[edit]

A version of the character appears in the 1985 film The Bride, played by Jennifer Beals.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994 film)[edit]

A version of the character appears in the 1994 film Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, played by Helena Bonham Carter. In this version, Victor attempts to revive his wife Elizabeth (using parts of a dead maid named Justine) after being killed by the Monster. He succeeds, but the Monster interrupts their reunion, claiming Elizabeth as his own Bride. The transformed and apparently amnesic Elizabeth feels attracted to the Monster and caresses his face, but after realized she has the same scars as he, she realizes what Victor did to her. Victor and the Monster fight for Elizabeth, but she feels disgusted with herself. She rejects Victor (with guttural sounds) for what has done to her. and commits suicide by setting herself on fire.


In the horror drama series Penny Dreadful, Victor Frankenstein gives in to the monster's demands and brings his mate to life. Here she is named Lily Frankenstein and made to believe that she is Victor's cousin. She is played by Billie Piper.


  1. ^ Vieira, Mark A. (2003). Hollywood Horror: From Gothic to Cosmic. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. p. 82. ISBN 0-8109-4535-5. 
  2. ^ James Curtis (2003). James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 243–44. ISBN 978-0816643868. 
  3. ^ Vieira, Mark A. (2003). Hollywood Horror: From Gothic to Cosmic. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. p. 86. ISBN 0-8109-4535-5.