I DO, or do I?: The Best and Worst of “The Bride of…” Movies
Ladies in horror are rarely front-and center, but many have hubbies that fling them into their rightfully earned spotlight. Here are some of the best and worst brides in sci fi and horror, suitable for a date night or a self-care night come Valentine’s Day.
The Bride of Chucky
This may be my nostalgia speaking, but horror movies produced in the 80’s in the same vein as Child’s Play have a charm to their production style that just can’t be beat. The puppetry? The color scheme? Literally iconic. Chucky’s bride, Tiffany, is definitely suffering from the creepiest case of paraphilia and falls for a child’s doll to the point of becoming one herself. The action scenes have poor blocking and the logic of this universe is questionable (what took the main characters so long to drop-kick the Chucky and Tiffany?), but it has heart and is a comedy of marriage and a parody of itself. I can say that, with total confidence, that giant breasts on an actual BABY doll is the most confusing and terrifying aspect of the whole film, otherwise it’s an oddly entertaining dark comedy that consistently serves out killer one-liners. “Fuck Martha Stewart!” had me in stitches.
Brides of Dracula
There are many movies from the early 60’s that I would consider classics (ie Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) but this is distinctly not one of them. The film looks like it was filmed on a potato from the nineties with the ingenuity of an angsty, cringy film major who only wears black turtlenecks and hates women for not immediately wanting to be with him. It’s less than mediocre in almost all aspects to the point of become almost comical, and thus good again. All the beautiful women in this film do a great job of holding a straight face while wearing vampire fangs that look like they were made out of play-doh. The pretty ladies are the best part of this film about a man who can’t seem to keep his interest in a woman for more than a year yet wonders why nobody wants him.
Bride of Frankenstein
What can I say? I’m a sucker for the classics. The first Frankenstein is brutal in both its silence and lack of connection to its source material. Seriously—it’s like someone read the cliff notes of Shelly’s novel while hung over. The Bride of Frankenstein is far more redeeming, from the moral dilemmas to clever casting. The monster isn’t painted as a brainless brute as he was in the first installment—in fact, he learns to speak and articulate his ideas. The monster becomes the driving force of the movie by the end, even as he looks upon his new bride. The Bride herself is a theoretical prop that doesn’t show up until the end, but her revel serves as both a dramatic climax and the beginning of the Creature’s epiphany about morality and the value of human life. While I can’t say this for Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein is a film that I would highly recommend to both a lover of both Gothic film and literature.
FUN FACT: The woman who plays Mary Shelly in the introduction to the film also plays the Bride herself.
There is one too many degrees of separation from the source material for this Frankenstein interpretation. This is a remake of The Bride of Frankenstein that has a different mad doctor, a different backstory to the creature, a different reason for creating the bride, and Sting. Yeah, Sting. I’ll give credit where credit is due: he’s a surprisingly good actor. But this movie doesn’t know what it wants to be and it’s painful. Is it an art piece with tasteful nudity? Is it a Princess Bride-esque comedy? Is it a rom-com or a serious drama? The confusion of genre is sometimes done purposefully and well (ie Colossal) and this is not one of those instances, and I can’t attest that this confusion gives it any sort of charm. The stitching together of genre here is the okayest and does its best to give each character dynamic a genre of its own, whether it mean to or not. It’s a light-hearted campy film, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not my particular brand of campy.
Bride of the Re-Animator
I’ll be first to admit that I didn’t like the first installment, The Re-Animator. I was okay with it up until an unconscious girl was stripped and strapped down to have a decapitated head’s tongue rubbed up on her nipples. If very convoluted necrophilia is your thing then maybe this would appeal to you, but on-screen rape isn’t something I condone. It was an immediate no. But I gave Bride of R-Animator a try and found myself pleasantly surprised. It’s a bloody, on-the-nose metaphor for grief. Hearts get ripped out, real-life consequences of death are addressed. It’s not the most light-hearted but has the same grotesque, camp humor as the first movie with significantly less (completely unnecessary) moments of sexual assault. It’s witty and interesting, taking its own twist on the concept of zombies to make them more a resilient un-dead. The ending mirrors the ending of the original Bride of Frankenstein in its moral epiphany, and I would highly recommend it