本文出自2006年出版的《Monsters – A Celebration of the Classics》，该书评论了一些有名的科幻电影，多人执笔，当中包括了JB所写的《In on the mystery（身在迷雾）》。本书在Amazon.com上有售，详细链接可见这里。
The Bride of Frankenstein: “ In on the mystery”
From the book, “Monsters – A Celebration of the Classics”
By Jennifer Beals
[dropcap style=”square” title=”A”]s a young girl, I read the Bibble or at least once Greek myth almost every night. I didn’t really make a distinction between them. I was looking for clues about God, about what dwelled on the other side of life, in the shadows. About what happened when someone died, I wasn’t looking for a religion per se. I just wanted in on the mystery.
I remember being six and seven and sneaking into the kitchen late at night where my older brother had set up a small television so we could, unbeknownst to my parents, watch The Bride of Frankenstein. Being the only girl among brothers, I was excited to see what I had thought would be a movie about a female monster. I had already seen the movie Frankenstein; then I wanted to see how a female would fare after having been back from death. Instead, I found myself disappointed that the film didn’t tell its story from the female point of view as I had naively assumed from the title it would.
Still, I was enthralled by the story and the sets (the rich are so rich, the poor so poor), fascinated by the miniature people created by the clearly Luciferian Dr. Pretorius, and taken by the character of the monster. I remember how relieved I was when the monster thought he had finally found a friend in the blind man. At last there was someone who was kind to the monster, who I had realized by then was not really a monster－not like Count Dracula, anyway. And then when the Bride finally did appear, she was spectacular－her hair shooting up toward the ceiling, flushed with white by the lightning that had given her life; her grow; the precise, darting movements of her head; the delicious hiss－she appeared to be a ferocious little bird. I loved her, just loved her. But how my heart broke for the monster when it became clear she did not care for him. After such loneliness, it was painful to see that even the undead did not care for him.
It was both an honor and challenge to enter into the role the Bride many years later, with Sting as Dr. Frankenstein and Clancy Brown as the monster. Lucky me, I would get to play the role of the woman who was brought back from the dead. The child in me still hoped in some way to peer into the mystery.
Our film wasn’t a remake of The Bride of Frankenstein. Though based, like the original, on the Mary Shelley novel, The Bride has a Pygmalion aspect that was entirely assent from the original in that our Bride comes fully into her own and outgrows her dependence on her creator. And thankfully, the two “monsters” come to care for one another in the end.
Despite these differences, Elsa Lanchester’s amazing performance was often in my mind. The moment when my character is brought to life was very important to me. In fact my favorite part of doing the film was the “birth” scene. Being hoisted up by all those wires exhilarating, strangely relaxing and surprisingly moving. But given the original and how the Bride lacked a clear identity throughout the film other than being a reflection of men’s imaginations, I very much wanted to make the quest for identity a strong part of the character straight from the start. So the first thing out of her mouth isn’t a scream or a hiss. It’s the word I. She returns from the shadows already trying to state her identity.
The monsters in our Bride may be depicted as more human looking than the original’s ill-fated pair, but both sets of monsters－Brides and “grooms”－are alike in being outsiders. There isn’t anybody in the world who hasn’t felt that they were less than or different from someone else at some point in time. There is no such thing as the center of the circle; we are all outsiders. I think that’s one reason the originals did so well. They were never just abort scaring people. Audiences identified with the monsters, who were so much more human than they appeared. Our Bride was the same way in that respect. It was more of a gothic romance than a horror film, but it was still dwelling in the realm of what it is to be an outsider, especially when the judeo-Christian ideology tells you that you must have a mate.
The theme of loneliness, of trying to find your mate, is present in both versions. In the original, so beautifully directed by James Whale, that theme is driven by the judeo-Christian notion that we on earth must be fruitful and multiply, that we are completed only through having a mate of some sort. The miniature queen needs a king, Dr. Frankenstein has his bride, and the monster wants a mate after his failed friendship with the blind man. In our Bride, the two monsters are cosmically linked, more in the Greek tradition of two halves finding one another to make themselves whole.
I am writing this from Japan, where I am making The Grudge 2, and that experience has made it clearer than ever to me that horror stories, or any stories dealing with the unknown, appeal to our hunger to understand what is on the other side. They reflect, too, our cultural anxieties. The Frankenstein movies deal with the notion of humans trespassing on God’s territoty, both the desire to do so and fear of being punished for it. Not unlike a myth I loved as a child, the myth of the goddess Artemis and Actaeon the hunter, who dares to enter her sacred forest and peer at the goddess and her devotees bathing in a pool. As punishment he is turned into a stage and torn limb from limb by his own dogs. Similarly, in The Bride of Frankenstein, those creatures that are brought back from the dead and those that extorted repentant mortals to creat them (Dr. Pretorius) must perish by fire. They are condemned to hell because they have no other place in God’s cosmology. The Grudge is informed less by Judeo-Christian morality and more by Shinto, Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist beliefs. When a husband murders his young wife, the social order is disrupted. Burdened with intense anguish and rage at the moment of her death, the young woman is unable to pass unafflicted to the other side, She feels compelled to seek revenge, and so the curse beings.
What I’ve come to realize is that these movies are our myths, our modern myths. They are our way of trying to understand the passage from life to death and what happens when you pass over. These movies are a way of trying to understand the mystery, a way of looking at the shadows. They reflect how obsessed and curious we are abort the area between life and death, whether or not it is possible to come back, and the nature of our relationship to God. They clearly show you can’t come back without consequence. Nobody comes back from the other side without the taint of the other world. The movies teach us this lesson again and again. It’s a lesson we never seem to learn very well, but perhaps that’s part of what makes us human. After all, what could be more human about the monster than his desire for companionship, for a bride? （END）