I'm not convinced that The Bride -a film that must have been pitched
to the investors as "Frankenstein meets Pygmalion meets Little And
Large, with Sting in it" - would get made in this day and age. It's
one of those films (like Company Of Wolves)
that has "sell by date: December 31, 1989" stamped across it
in broad letters. Considering it's supposed to be set in ye olden days,
the thing positively screams 80s rock video, and would do even if it didn't
have Gordon "I can play the cello and I used to be a teacher"
Sumner under-acting throughout it.
The thing is also so stuffed full of clichés - beginning as it
does with a big castle, a storm and a laboratory copied faithfully from
Hammer's blueprints nearly 30 years before - that its claim to be a "variation"
on the Frankenstein theme is frankly laughable.
But there is much fun to be had between the typical mid 80s pomposity.
The first scene - as The Bride is created - is hilarious, featuring as
it does Sting, the monster (Clancy Brown), Timothy Spall and Quentin Crisp
(!) who are busy creating a woman using the power of the bungee (I kid
you not). The shot when they all look at each other expectantly before
she awakes is priceless, and you will find yourself marvelling at what
can only be described as a "fanny in a jar" whilst simultaneously
Of course it's not long before Spall's doltery leads to disaster, and
he and poor old Crisp get quite literally burned to one. Sting and his
new creation (yes, it's Jennifer Beals from Flashdance, folks)
escape, whilst his old creation buggers off and meets a dwarf called Ronaldo
(David "Time Bandits and those old Tizer ads"
Frankensting is determined to create a bra-burning Germaine Greer type
out of his arc welding disco dancer (oh, watch Flashdance if you
don't get that one), whilst his mate Clavell reckons he'd be better creating
a "pliant mistress". There's a great scene where Beals wanders
naked downstairs, a shaft of light illuminating her "woman's area"
(what this is supposed to mean I have absolutely no idea - see Link
for more mid 80s random nakedness by American film stars), and at this
point he decides to call her Eva.
The plot, split as it is into two tales of woe, now comes together almost
cleverly. Both of Frankensting's creations are being taught manners -
Beals by Sting (don't hold out much hope there, then) and the monster
by Rappaport (even less chance). There's a great Hammeresque pub scene
were the vertically challenged Rappaport wanders in, only to be told by
the Michael Ripper-alike landlord: "Clear out, you little pygmy -
we don't want your sort here!" (enter monster, landlord hardly pauses)
so, you'll be wanting a beer, then?"
The pair of them get hammered in the pub and end up being run out of town.
"There's a lesson to be learned here," says the by-now-annoying
Rappaport, "and I hope to God I never learn it
The pair of them join the circus (what else?) where they fit in very neatly
beside Alexei Sale, Phil Daniels and his performing wig, and what looks
like glamour model Jordan, but with bigger tits. Of course, it's not long
before Rappaport has annoyed everyone enough to sign his own death warrant,
and the berk even manages to ruin his own death scene.
Looking back over this review, I think I've actually succeeded in making
The Bride sound more interesting than it actually is. The thing
is ridiculously long, and it's all been seen before (as long ago as James
Whales' Bride Of Frankenstein, to be exact). It's just one long slog to
get to the point where the monster is reunited with his maker and his
bird. There's not even a great deal of gore (although Victor's revenge
on the circus folk is swift and bloody). Throw in a bit of bizarre 80s
half-arsed feminism ("The trouble with free women, Charles, is that
they are free to despise us," Clavell notes at one point) and some
horrible clichés (torch wielding villagers, anyone?) and you've
not got a great film, however you look at it. But on the plus side, it
does have one scene of gratuitous nudity and some occasional unintentional
Sadly, there are also a number of horrible attempts at post modernism
throughout the proceedings. Not only does Ronaldo call the monster "Victor"
(ho ho), but part of Eva's education involves her reading "Prometheus
Unbound" (which has something to do with Mary Shelley's original
novel, I believe).
There are only two moments of near-greatness - one is the reaction of
the token "blind man", and the other is the unexpected (and
almost touching) little scene between the monster and a travelling salesman.
But they really aren't worth wading through 114 minutes of video tape
for, unless you laugh at crapness and don't mind annoying dwarfs.
Speaking of video, I'd like to leave the final words to the hilarious
gubbins on the back of the box: "This variation of the old Frankenstein
story stars STING, now showing his mastery of screen acting - and JENNIFER
BEALS, the sensational discovery of Flashdance. Fine support from
CLANCY BROWN and DAVID RAPPAPORT, the tiny scene-stealer from The Time
Bandits, in a touching portrayal of a monster-and-midget friendship
to the death".
And you know what? It's still better than that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein