Mary Shelley was born in 1797 into the family of William Godwin, a very well known author and philosopher and the very well known feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft. After just eleven days of giving birth to her only child Mary Wollstonecraft died. Mary grew up feeling guilty about her mother’s death. Her father and her much-resented stepmother brought up Mary. At sixteen Mary met Percy Bysshe Shelley, a great devotee of her father’s teachings. Mary and Percy fell in love very quickly and she agreed to run away with Percy to Calais.
At just seventeen Mary and Percy were expecting their first baby together but the baby died of a premature birth. Mary had several children with Percy only one of which survived to adulthood. Mary’s older stepsister committed suicide a few years after Mary had ran away and the year after that incident Percy’s first wife drowned herself during the pregnancy of Percy’s second child. In 1816 Mary and Percy got married. Percy died at the age of twenty-nine as he was at sea in a major storm and his boat crashed leaving Mary penniless with a lot of grief.
As Mary became blighted with the many numbers of tragedies she was faced with as she grew up she began to believe very heavily in the role and purpose of having parents to love and look after their children. She formed a philosophy of which was, if people are brutalised this would then turn them brutal also. She believed that all new born are born innocent and unaware of what evil surrounds them. In these years of Mary’s late teens she came into contact with a poet named Lord Byron. It was this man who challenged Mary to write a horror novel, and with that challenge she set to work on ‘Frankenstein’.
The stereotypical horror genre consists mainly of ‘scary’ or ‘unpleasant’ situations that most people would not like to find themselves in. In most horror films or books there is an expected setting, which would almost always include somewhere dark or a dark night, very mysterious, sinister music to build up tension, stormy weather, places such as dark graveyards or old deserted houses. All horror stories will include a character that the audience either dislikes or is scared of such as an unpleasant looking character or a supernatural being.
There also may have blood and gore in some horror stories. This is commonly used in horror films because it is not something people are faced with in everyday life, which makes it very unpleasant for people to watch. Branagh begins his film with a very gripping opening which really makes you want to watch on. He starts his film with dark stormy weather in the Antarctic, loud cries echo through the ice caps from the distance. Everywhere is surrounded by blizzardous snow, which makes it very difficult to see things clearly.
As Frankenstein started to move closer to Walton and his crew, to begin with you think it is going to be the monster because you can only really make out a dark shadowy figure but as he gets closer you soon realise that he is harmless. The loud cries start again and they seem to be getting louder at this point and as the dogs run off into the distance you see them being killed but you still don’t see what killed them which then creates a mysterious suspense. Branagh has portrayed the opening scene of his film greatly managing to keep the audience entertained and wanting to watch the rest of the film.
Branagh has at this point also created a very good horror image and makes the viewer want to watch on to find out what is making these loud cries of anger and pain. As Walton takes Frankenstein back onto his boat into his cabin Frankenstein refuses to tell Walton what it is that is making these horrific noises. This makes the viewer agitated with Frankenstein because they also want to know what it is that they can hear in the distance. Frankenstein breaks down starting to realise what he has done and starts to tell Walton his story from the very beginning.
Here is where Branagh has remained true to Shelley’s intentions were that she wanted the audience to begin to feel sympathy for Frankenstein because of how weary and ill he looks, Branagh manages to portray this very well because you do feel sympathy for him as he lies down and wearily starts to tell his horrific story. Frankenstein begins with him first meeting Elizabeth as a child and slowly shows you them both growing up together and their relationship starting to blossom. In 1777 Victor’s mother became pregnant and went into an early labour.