This Day in Horror: FRANKENSTEIN Premiered in Theaters
On this day in 1931: Frankenstein premiered in theaters.
One of the most famous horror films of all time, Frankenstein came about because in 1930, Universal Studio had lost $2.2 million. With Dracula debuting in February 1931, the film earned $700,000. Carl Laemmle, the head of Universal, immediately put more horror films into production.
Bela Lugosi, fresh off his fame from Dracula, was originally set to play Frankenstein’s monster, though he hoped to play the doctor. Several disastrous makeup tests led Lugosi to leave the project, and allowing Boris Karloff to come in and take on the iconic role.
Robert Florey was originally set to direct the film, and removed all humanity and pathos from the monster. Universal had recently brought James Whale over from England, and gave him his choice of projects to direct. Whale chose Frankenstein, and reworked the script to make the monster closer to author Mary Shelley’s original creation.
Frankenstein was a huge hit. In June 1932, it was reported to have earned $1.4 million. It led to a string of sequels, including Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and House of Frankenstein.