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Frankenstein Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Classic monster movie still electrifies.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this horror movie is tame by today's standards, it does deal with issues of life and death and scientific ethics. Also, there are some killings, including a child who is drowned when a monster throws her into a lake. Younger children might be frightened by the monster, themes of grave-robbing, and the laboratory scenes. Still, older kids accustomed to modern-day horror's fast pace and stylized violence may find the film too "old-school" for their tastes.

  • Families can talk about how horror movies have evolved since this movie was released in 1931. What makes a movie scary?
  • Do contemporary horror films rely too much on gratuitous violence and gore?
  • How does this movie still manage to be scary without resorting to over-the-top content?
  • What does the Frankenstein's monster make you feel? Do you feel bad for him?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: A scientist recklessly experiments with life and death by artificially bringing to life a man he has fashioned from various body parts. Two characters steal corpses and body parts from graves, the gallows, and a medical college.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Dr. Frankenstein plays God with horrible consequences, the monster is tortured and violent and the townspeople lack empathy or kindness. The good side of human nature is mostly ignored.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Relatively mild violence compared with today's horror flicks. However, killings include a child who drowns when a character throws her into a lake, although it's clear that he doesn't intend to hurt her. Her actual death is not shown, though her father carries her body through his village. A man threatens the monster with a torch and whips him while he's chained in a cellar. A doctor is strangled, a man is hanged. A mob of villagers hunts down a monster and chases him into a windmill. They set fire to the windmill, and the monster is shown trapped inside under debris. Various scenes of fighting, scuffling, attempted strangulation.

  • sex false1

    Sex: A man and a woman kiss.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A gravedigger smokes a pipe. A man smokes a cigarette. Characters drink champagne and wine. A sick man is given brandy to drink as a remedy.

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