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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
Created byWilliam Hurlbut
Mary Shelley
Portrayed byElsa Lanchester
In-universe information
FamilyHeinrich 'Henry' von Frankenstein (creator)
Septimus Pretorius (creator)
Frankenstein's monster (companion/predecessor)

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The Bride of Frankenstein is a fictional character first introduced in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus and later in the 1935 film Bride of Frankenstein. In the film, the Bride is played by Elsa Lanchester. The character's design in the film features a conical hairdo with white lightning-trace streaks on each side, which has become an iconic symbol of both the character and the film.



In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, Victor Frankenstein is tempted by his monster's proposal to create a female creature so that the monster can have a wife: 'Shall each man,' cried he, 'find a wife for his bosom, and each beast have his mate, and I be alone?'[1] The monster 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 the Orkney Islands to begin his work on the creature's mate. He is plagued by premonitions of what his work might wreak, particularly the idea that creating a bride for the monster might lead to the breeding of an entire race of creatures that could plague mankind. After seeing his first creation looking in the window, Frankenstein destroys the unfinished bride. 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 (Colin Clive) mentor Doctor Septimus Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) proposes to Henry that together they create a mate for his monster (Boris Karloff), 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 (Valerie Hobson). 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. Upon seeing the monster, however, the Bride screams in horror. When the monster tries to touch her, the Bride screams again; heartbroken, the monster says, 'She hate me. Like all the others.' As Elizabeth races to Henry's side, the monster rampages through the laboratory and finds a lever that will destroy the castle. The monster tells Henry and Elizabeth to leave, but orders Pretorius and the Bride to stay, saying, 'We belong dead.' While Henry and Elizabeth flee, the monster sheds a tear as the Bride hisses, and he then pulls the lever, triggering the destruction of the laboratory and tower.

The following film, Son of Frankenstein, reveals that the monster survived the explosion, while Pretorius and the Bride presumably died.

In the Dark Horse 'Universal's Monsters' novel The Bride Of Frankenstein: Pandora's Bride, Pretorius and the Bride survive the explosion. They escape to Germany where he teaches her to become her own woman.

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

The Bride (1985 film)[edit]

The Bride of Frankenstein was portrayed as Eva in The Bride played by Jennifer Beals, opposite of Clancy Brown as the monster Viktor. She was created by Baron Charles Frankenstein and his assistant Paulus. When she sees Viktor, she is revolted. Later on in the film, Eva falls in love with Viktor when he discovers her in the monastery outside of Frankenstein's castle.

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 after being killed by the Monster by placing her head on the intact body of his hanged servant Justine. 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 realizing she has the same scars as he, she understands what Victor did to her. Victor and the Monster fight for Elizabeth, but she feels disgusted with herself. She rejects Victor (with guttural sounds) and commits suicide by setting herself on fire.

In other media[edit]

Since the original film, characters based on the Bride of Frankenstein have been featured in different media. Unlike the original, most of these later incarnations of the Bride depict her as reciprocating the Monster's affection for her:

  • The Bride of Frankenstein appears as 'The Monster's Mate' in the 1967 film Mad Monster Party? voiced by Phyllis Diller (whose likeness was used for the Bride's design). She was seen with Frankenstein's Monster (who she calls 'Fang') where they live with their creator Baron Boris von Frankenstein on the Isle of Evil.
  • The Bride of Frankenstein appears in the 1972 film Mad Mad Mad Monsters (a 'prequel of sorts' to Mad Monster Party) voiced by Rhoda Mann. This version is shown with hair over her face where her face wasn't seen until the end of the film. She was created by Baron Henry von Frankenstein to be the mate for his monster. Of course Henry's assistant Igor wants the Bride for himself at the time when Henry makes plans to have a wedding at the Transylvania Astoria Hotel on Friday the 13th.
  • In the 1974 film Young Frankenstein, the hairstyle of Elizabeth (portrayed by Madeline Kahn) is a homage to the Bride where she is seen engaged to the Monster.
  • The Bride of Frankenstein appears in the Looney Tunes 1988 animated short The Night of the Living Duck. She is seen in Daffy Duck's dream amongst the monsters in the nightclub that Daffy is in and accompanied by Frankenstein's monster. When Daffy asks Frankenstein's monster how the 'Mrs.' is doing, the Bride hisses at Daffy.
  • In the 1988 animated film Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf, the Bride of Frankenstein is featured where she is named Repulsa and voiced by B.J. Ward. In another Scooby-Doo special, Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, the bride herself doesn't appear, but Frankenteen Senior has a daughter, Elsa, who closely resembles her.
  • In the 1990 animated series Gravedale High, the character Miss Dirge (voiced by Eileen Brennan) is based on the Bride of Frankenstein.
  • The Bride of Frankenstein appears in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy voiced by Jane Carr. She is shown as an inhabitant of the Home of the Ancients retirement home where she is friends with Dracula and Wolfman.
  • The Bride appears in 2005-06 in DC Comics' Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein and in subsequent stories featuring that version of the Creature (who calls himself Frankenstein). She is an agent of the supernatural government organisation S.H.A.D.E. and is separated from Frankenstein, with the Bride claiming 'It's nothing personal, but you were never my type.' This backstory gets reworked in 'The New 52' title Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., in which they separated after their son proved to be a homicidal monster and Frankenstein was forced to kill him.
  • The Bride of Frankenstein appears as Eunice in the Hotel Transylvania franchise voiced by Fran Drescher. She is portrayed as Frankenstein's wife, the best friend of Wanda the Werewolf, and also as the aunt of Dracula's daughter Mavis. She is a diva, dressed in a black miniskirt and fluffy pink turtleneck jumper.
  • In the Showtime TV series Penny Dreadful, the Bride appears as Brona Croft (portrayed by Billie Piper), an Irish immigrant with a dark past who dies of tuberculosis at the end of Season 1. In season 2, she is brought back to life with no memory after Frankenstein's monster demands a bride and given the new name 'Lily Frankenstein' by Victor (who passes her off as his cousin). It is later revealed that she knew Victor was her creator from the very beginning which she reveals to the monster after stating that they will bring about a new age of immortals.
  • The Bride of Frankenstein appears in the season two 2019 Vampirina episode 'Franken-Wedding,' voiced by Anna Camp opposite Skylar Astin as Frankenstein. The two of them hold their wedding at the Scare B&B.
  • The Bride of Frankenstein is one of six monsters featured in the 1998 pinball machine Monster Bash by Williams. The objective of the game is to form a band with classic Universal monsters. Every monster has their own game mode which you have to start to have them added as a band member, the Bride is the singer in the band. With this iteration of the Bride she was created before the Monster and she has requested Dr Frankenstein to create the perfect husband for her. In her game mode she attacks the monster with kitchen appliances after being disappointed by the doctor's work.

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  1. ^'Chapter 20 Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus Mary Shelley Lit2Go ETC'.
  2. ^Vieira, Mark A. (2003). Hollywood Horror: From Gothic to Cosmic. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. p. 82. ISBN978-0-8109-4535-7.
  3. ^James Curtis (2003). James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 243–44. ISBN978-0816643868.
  4. ^Vieira, Mark A. (2003). Hollywood Horror: From Gothic to Cosmic. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. p. 86. ISBN978-0-8109-4535-7.
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