From Frankenstein's Monster to Dracula: The Creatures That Shaped Guillermo Del Toro's Imagination

Even though many creatures and their archenemy heroes are often depicted as strong masculine figures, Scott's 1979 film was among the first to present a strong action heroine (Sigourney Weaver) in an otherwise male-dominated genre. James Cameron's 1986 sequel empowered female characters even more by depicting the aliens as a matriarchal society that was ruled by a single fertile queen. While these creatures may appear grotesquely different from humans, they are very much like the insects in del Toro's Cronos or Mimic, which personify our desire to live eternally, to propagate our species.

The Bride of Frankenstein

Despite Dr. Pretorius' efforts to create a mate for Frankenstein's monster in this 1935 classic horror film, the bride repels her abominable counterpart with an ear-piercing shriek. Her scream is one of the most famous in silver screen history, and along with the silver lightning streaks in her weirdly-stylized hair, it is emblematic of her indomitable will, which refuses to be subjugated as a sexual or romantic partner for any man. Even when science can exploit nature, the Bride of Frankenstein shows viewers that individual preferences are unique and cannot be engineered.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Having fought bravely against the Ottomans to defend "God's church," Vlad Dracula vows to avenge his wife with "all the powers of darkness" after she was tricked into committing suicide in Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film Dracula, which is closely based on Bram Stoker's gothic novel. As a vampire, his eternal loneliness makes him both vulnerable and sympathetic. Even though he possesses supernatural powers that can change him into different animals and make him stronger than any ordinary man or woman, his condition as a predator alienates him from society. Dracula is much more that a one-dimensional monster. He is genuinely tortured by shame and failure, and personifies our determination to defend our reputation and honor.

What is your favorite monster?

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