I’ve talked before about my sort of odd relationship with horror over the years. How eventually, a horror film class pushed me deeply into the horror community. This movie, in particular, was a massive part of that. I was already starting to slant that way because of the class, but this one was the straw.
I love so many aspects of it: the angles, shadows, and influence of German expressionism. Edward Von Sloan’s introduction that just grabs the audience; I am also a sucker for a good voice. Colin Clive’s amazing exuberance while in the lighthouse. Elizabeth’s beautiful outfits (yes, I am 100% serious). Henry’s father’s odd sense of humor. Boris Karloff’s stellar sympathetic monster, if not for that damn abnormal brain scene.
It was primarily the moments where Karloff does manage to give us the sadder side to this story that really hit me. When he reaches for the light while locked away. His violence being cause for concern while the violence against him ignored. The sadness when he throws Maria, and she does not float. It is heartbreaking and so well done.
I think it was one of the first times that I truly considered the genre from a less shallow lens. Not the actual first time, but the first time I put more into it.
It remains one of my all-time favorite movies and holds an especially dear place in my heart for its influence over my personal growth and a lot of the direction my life has taken.