Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Flavors of Frankenstein

I’ve got Frankenstein on the brain after catching TCM’s Frankenstein Double Feature last night. Anybody who has read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein knows the literary monster is pretty different from (most) cinematic and comic book versions.  Why should we be limited to just mute and misunderstood or articulate and angry in our rpgs, though?  What other creatures can some alternate Victor Frankenstein bring to life?


Movie Frankenstein's monster is often a lumbering and destructive brute--and often misunderstood.  He reminds me a bit of King Kong in all except size.  Scale him up, and you’ve got a kaiju. The Japanese have already done that for us, but hey, we don’t necessarily have to use their version. (Actually, Toho got the idea from an aborted Willis O'Brien project with King Kong.) Now Victor’s got an even better reason not to make him a bride!

Or maybe something less monstrous? A gold-skinned artificial man created by scientists playing God would also describe Marvel’s Adam Warlock (originally known as HIm). Maybe their creation is actually mankind’s natural successor.  Gotta make way for the homo superior, as Bowie would have it. This artificial ubermensch and his bride (and progeny) might choose to save the world that hates and fears them, or maybe (in the words of Victor Frankenstein) they’re  a “race of devils…propagated upon the earth who might make the very existence of the species of man a condition precarious and full of terror.”



Vampire Hunter D heads straight from Dracula into the post-apocalypse (and in an interesting twist, Mary Shelley did write an end of the world novel, The Last Man), so why not Frankenstein? Maybe the monster is a gunman dispensing justice in a post-apocalyptic waste haunted by mutants as ugly as him, or maybe the world is overrun zombie apocalypse-style by monstrosities created by a monster following in the footsteps of his mad scientist creator? Either the future might be pretty grim.

8 comments:

Tim Shorts said...

I've always liked that theme in stories, creators creating something beyond their control. Making them a necessity regardless of the risk makes it an interesting story.

This person or thing maybe was needed to purge the area of the zombie horde is no longer needed once it has destroyed the zombies. What to do with it? Destroy what saved you or send it out and hope it doesn't get mad and it destroys what it saved.

Gus L said...

One of my home gane PCs was secretly a Frankenstien - it was the justification the player used to explain why the short late 40's veteran fighter had an 18 Str. Nobody but me and the player ever knew. I gave him a secret weakness to electricity and secret defense v cold.

Story aside Frankenstien is a great monster/concept for games. I always like Shelly's broiding romantic anti-hero. Reading Milton, trying to be good without a moral underpinning.

Perhaps a one shot where everyone plays classic monsters is worthwhile for next week?

Trey said...

@Tim -It's a great theme, ofor sure.

@Gustie - I'd play that.

seaofstarsrpg said...

Such a classic creature. If you are not building them for war, I would think you would try to shape them to suit their task: intimidating, beautiful, bland . . .

Hmm, Frankenstein bureaucrats . . .

Trey said...

@Seaofstarsprg - Now there's an idea!

Philo Pharynx said...

Dean Koontz has a book series on Frankenstein. Victor is still alive in the modern era, creating a new race of humanity. His original experiment is around opposing him. It was originally developed as a TV series. That deal fell apart and he did it as a book series. Now it's going full circle and they are making a TV series.

Sean Robson said...

I've had Frankenstein on the brain, too, having just bought Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. I've enjoyed most of the cinematic representations, especially the Hammer Films series (who doesn't love Peter Cushing's diabolical Victor Frankenstein), but none of them do justice to Shelley's classic.

Another example from recent movies is Nemesis from Resident Evil 2. And does Peter Weller's Robo-Cop fall into this category?

Trey said...

@Sean - Well, if we include Robocop then Deathlok has to go in too!