Region Code: A
Duration: 118 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: Franc Roddam
Cast: Sting, Beals, Geraldine Page, Clancy Brown, Anthony Higgins, David Rappaport
The Bride (1985) open up in a very Hammer horror sort of way with Baron Charles Frankenstein (Sting, Dune) in his castle tower lab on a dark and stormy night, he's mad at work creating a female counterpart for his first spare body parts creation, the Monster (Clancy Brown, Highlander). Colored liquids are bubbling around the lab, electricity is crackling in the air, there's a corpse wrapped in bandages suspended into the storm, you know, the usual Frankenstein stuff. With the crack of lighting the body comes to life and we're introduced to Eva (Jennifer Beals, Vampire's Kiss), Frankenstein's newest creation has none of the unsightly scars of predecessor, it seems that Dr. Frankenstein has learned a few new tricks since creating the original monster. However, when Eva's introduced to her intended mate she recoils in horror at his disfigured visage, and then the rejected monster goes into a rage and destroys the lab, setting it on fire with the roof collapsing.
The resulting fire destroys the laboratory and kills Frankenstein's lab assistants, and in the aftermath the monster is incorrectly assumed dead as well. The doctor sets about teaching the gorgeous Eva how things work in proper English society, his goal is to mold her into the ultimate woman, man's equal in every way. Meanwhile the monster roams the countryside where he meets a kind dwarf named Rinaldo (David Rappaport, Time Bandits), after the monster saves the dwarf from bullying at the hands of mean-spirited children he gives the hulking man a proper name, Viktor, and begins to teach the simpleton the ways of the world in ways that Frankenstein never did. Together they travel to Budapest to join a travelling circus operated by crooked scumbag who would rather have the ignorant Viktor to himself without the watchful/protective eye of Rinaldo.
As the film plays out we follow Frankenstein's efforts to manicure his latest creation, refining her manors and introducing her to polite society, with a few missteps along the way, like when she screams in fright at a cat during a social function, believing it to be a little lion! Her introduction into public society almost immediately puts her in the sights of Captain Josef Schoden (Cary Elwes, The Princess Bride), an arrogant Lothario who has designs on relieving her of her innocence, igniting her passions and skewing the relationship with Frankenstein who begins to turn creepy towards his creation.
Meanwhile Viktor is growing emotionally, with the help of Rinaldo he becomes a functional person, earning a living at the circus and developing a deep friendship with his pint-sized mentor, humorously drinking beer (and nursing a hangover) for the first time, even developing his comic timing as part of Rinaldo's trapeze act. Clancy Brown is wonderful underneath all the make-up and prosthetics, he gets across the stilted emotion of the character, he gets to the heart of the Frankenstein creature, in a lot of ways this is my favorite non-Karloff version of Frankenstein' Monster, very few films outside the original Frankenstein have made me care about the creature or given him pathos, this movie did that for me. It also helps that Rappaport is so damn charming as the diminutive Rinaldo, offering humor and depth in equal amounts, genuinely caring for his new friend, they watch out for one another, until tragedy and betrayal tear them apart.
I thought Sting was pretty good as Dr. Frankenstein, he has the proper English coldness the character requires, the hubris you'd expect of a mad doctor, it's all there. The only real oddball element for me is Jennifer Beals as Eva, the proverbial bride of this piece. Sting is good in the role but the chemistry between them is off, it pales to that of Brown and Rappaport on-screen. You have Sting's mad doctor playing God, but he gets angry when his child rebels against him, there should be some alchemy there, but at times they feel worlds apart when they're in the same scene together. There's no denying that Beale has plenty of physical allure and charm, a surprising amount of it on display for a PG-13 film, she's a gorgeous lady, but she feels miscast as the bride.
This is a film that I have not watched since I was a kid watching it on WPIX when I lived in New York, thirty years later there was a lot I'd forgotten about the film. For starters the underdeveloped psychic connection between Viktor and Eva, it's so undeveloped it's no wonder I'd forgotten about it, it's barely there. Then the film wraps up like the director's mom walked into the room and caught him wanking his rod, it just closes up shop and rolls credits way too fast, it's sort of stunning. I cannot say this is a high recommendation, but it's an interesting update of The Bride of Frankenstein, just nowhere near the same league as the original, but far from the worst Frankenstein adaptation I've ever seen, Clancy Brown and David Rappaport together make this worth a watch.
Audio/Video: The Bride (1985) arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory with a solid looking presentation, presented in 1080p HD 1.78:1 widescreen the image has a nice sheen of grain, blacks are deep and inky and skin tones look natural within the confines of the lighting of the film. The image is often bathed in blue and purple lighting, the fine detail really comes through and shows off some of the period detail and decor, this is a great looking release. Audio comes by way of an English DTS-HD MA audio with optional English subtitles. Dialogue is always crisp and well defines, the score from composer Maurice Jame (Dreamscape) has some nice presence in the mix too.
Onto the extras we get a some great new extras beginning with a commentary with Director Franc Roddam, plus we get a half-hour interview with him as well. The real good stuff though is a 2-part interview with Clancy Brown who plays the monster, he speaks about getting the role, the extensive make-up work, working with David Rappaport in addition to sting, detailing how the extensive time in the make-up chair detracted from some quality rehearsal time, leading to some stunted action-sequences and Sting injuring himself slightly on set. It's a great interview with Clancy going deep with his recollection of the film, including the character's motivations and his opinion on the film, this 40-min interview is worth the price of admission alone.
The single-disc release comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a 2-sided sleeve of artwork, the a-side is the original movie poster and the b-side features not a reversible artwork option but an image from the film. The disc itself features an excerpt of the same key artwork.
- NEW Audio Commentary With Director Franc Roddam
- NEW Interview With Director Franc Roddam (22 min)
- NEW Interview With Actor Clancy Brown Pt. 1 (22 min)
- NEW Interview With Actor Clancy Brown Pt. 2 (18 min)
- TV Spot (1 min)
The Bride (1985) is an interesting variation of The Bride of Frankenstein, if you're down for something different but not necessarily classic this is a decent watch, aside from some poor chemistry and the dismally rushed conclusion. The Scream Factory Blu-ray looks and sounds absolutely fantastic, and the new extras are solid, if you're a fan of the film or just of Clancy Brown in general I'd say this is a must-buy for the A/V and extras. For all others it's probably not an essential purchase, but if you're curious it helps that this is a technically solid release.