At my day job, I dress up in a shirt, tie and polished shoes. I am not a shirt, tie and polished shoes kind of guy. Therefore, I have found fun little ways to break out of the tie-noose, things like various colors of shoelaces and funky belt buckles. No, I’m no Wolowitz, but I am happy with my little collection. Among my favorite are a couple of different skull buckles, Freddy Krueger’s claw and the head of Frankenstein’s monster. I know, by now you are asking “what’s the point?” But here it is. In my opinion, in the monster world there are the big four: Dracula, Wolfman, The Mummy, and Frankenstein’s Monster. I do believe that there are very close second tier villains like Kruger, Voorhees, Ghost Face, Swamp Thing, and then spirals down into an infinite number of characters, but I want to focus on the Big Four.
Here’s the point: The monster has no name? Yes, people have grown accustomed to impose the name of Frankenstein on him, but the book nor most of the various (inadequate) movies dub him merely as “The Monster.” I have thought often about this because he truly is my favorite of the bunch and I bounce between two schools of thought. First, he deserves a name. Second, the absence of a name heightens not only his terror, but the sympathetic nature of The Monster.
Let’s address the first bit. A groundbreaking origin book that bridges horror, romance, adventure, tragedy and various other genres. Countless movies and spin offs that also branch into a glut of genres (with the addition of comedy…” Young Frankenstein” or “The Munsters”). He is routinely seen as a Halloween costume and has become a cultural icon! Yet, this corpse-made creature remains nameless. Has he not earned one? And no, not merely Frankenstein, I highly doubt that he would want to adopt his maker’s name.
With that argument, the other side of the coin is that his anonymity adds to his character. Not only was he created by stitching together bits and pieces of countless unnamed corpses, but the whole theme of the book is that he is searching for some type of an identity. He was not created as the grunting neanderthal made famous by Boris Karloff, he was intelligent, angry, and sad. He was simply looking to be loved and to belong.
This monster is my favorite not because of his broad shadow cast over the horror world, but because he is a very troubled and deep character who many people can easily feel for and relate to both in terror and sadness. His name is not Frankenstein, but he is vital to the horror world and I leave it up to you to make up your own mind about whether he deserves a true name.