365 days of celebration


Frankenstein Friday

Posted by Brittany

Frankenstein FridayMary Wollenstonecraft Shelley began writing Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus” when she was just eighteen years old. She based her novel on a dream she had after deciding to take part in a competition with three other writers (her future d Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori) to see who could create the best horror story. The plot is based on her disturbing dream as well as Giovanni Aldini’s electrical experiments on dead and living animals. The first edition was published in London in 1818 when she Shelley was 21 and is widely condisered one of the ealiest examples of science fiction. The story has inspired a multitude of adaptations and retellings in print, film, and movies, making Fankenstein’s Monster one of the best loved horror creatures of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The first Frankenstein Friday was celebrated in 1997, 179 years after the publications of Mary Shelley’s famous novel. The holiday was created by Ron MacCloskey of Westfield, New Jersey, to celebrate the “mother” and “father” of Frankenstein, author Mary Shelley and actor Boris Karloff. (Westfield is also the hometown of Charles Addams, the creator of the Addams Family, which may have played a role in inspiring MacCloskey’s interest in Frankenstein.) Each year, on the last Friday in October, MacCloskey celebrates Frankenstein Friday with different events. Past year’s have included a film festival, a torch-lighting cerememony, and the awarding of “the Franky” to someone who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of Frankenstein. This year’s event commemorated the 80th anniversary of James Whale’s Frankenstein.

Children tend to have a propensity to be morbid and awed by the supernatural, and I was no different. I remember being perplexed and fascinated by the Frankenstein story; when I was very young I found the storybook monster frightening in a fun, exhilarating way but with age my fear gave way to compassion for Frankenstein’s lonely and misunderstood monster. I believe my mom may have read the book to me and my brother, which may have been responsible for this shift in my feeling. By the time I was in high school, watching some of my friends performing in the school’s stage production of Frankenstein, I felt downright sorry for the monster and his yearning for a “friend.”

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