Saturday, October 15, 2016


Mary Shelley
Directed by Tim Burton

Ms. Hen has read the novel FRANKENSTEIN more than she has read any other novel. Every few years, always during October, she pulls the book off her shelf and dives into the story of the sad monster, or the Modern Prometheus. Every time she reads it, she wonders how his story got mangled with the classic film, how he isn’t truly a monster, but a lost soul desirous of a friend whose anger causes him to engage in violence against his maker, Victor Frankenstein.

Earlier this year, Ms. Hen watched the film EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, which she had not seen for a long time. She forgot the details of the charming story of Edward, the man who was fabricated by a master, but left incomplete, with scissors for hands. When she watched the film recently, Ms. Hen was struck by the similarities between FRANKENSTEIN and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. Both are about beings that have been put together by a person.

Victor Frankenstein assembles his creatures because he studies science, and wants to see if his ideas would make his vision of a man-made man come true. He creates the being, but the creature haunts him, leaving a trail of murder in his path. The tender side of the monster appears when he tells Frankenstein about the cottagers he witnesses whom he emulated and from whom he learned to speak and read. He loves the people in the cottage, and learns everything about life from them, but is traumatized when they reject him because he is so hideous.

In EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, Edward is discovered by Peg, an Avon lady, making a call to his haunted house on a cliff. She takes him home, and tries to make him feel comfortable, but he doesn’t fit in as a result of his scissors for hands. He sculpts the neighbors' gardens, and cuts pets' and women’s hair, but he thinks he is incomplete because he has no hands. He feels as if he is alone in the world, but he loves Kim, Peg’s daughter. He shows his rage in the end, but he is essentially a gentle soul.

Frankenstein, the monster, and Edward Scissorhands are two creatures that are lonely, angry, and sad about their situations. Edward’s story takes a more humorous route with bright colors and sexual tension, but Frankenstein is gothic in the way there is no hope for the characters. Edward lives, but is alone, and Frankenstein the monster lives, but will probably be tortured for the rest of time. Edward sculpts his topiary garden, and creates snow, but Frankenstein is floating toward the great north, with no known destination.

Both works bring forth the question of a man-made man. What is the destiny of both these men? They are both solitary, and have nobody to share their lives. What is the point of these stories? Ms. Hen thinks the point might be to show that there’s a chance that everyone could be an Edward or a Frankenstein, a creature different from anyone else, floating alone in the sea or in a castle atop a hill.

Orson Wells said, “We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”
Ms. Hen welcomes the Halloween season with this thought.

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