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29 Frankenstein, The Bride, Jacob Elordi, Guillermo del Toro, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Jacob Elordi, Kylie Jenner... Why is pop culture obsessed with Frankenstein?


2025 will welcome two films that draw their inspiration from the universe of the English novelist Mary Shelley - Guillermo del Toro’s Frankenstein on Netflix, starring Jacob Elordi, and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Bride!, starring Penélope Cruz. These upcoming releases are an opportunity to discuss the everlasting fascination for the myth of Frankenstein, which has appealed to various celebrities, such as Rina Sawayama, Emma Stone, Kylie Jenner and drag queen Paloma.

For Halloween 2022, influencers and businesswomen Kylie Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian opted for the same costume, that of the bride of Frankenstein. Was offering a meta-reflection on the multiple surgical procedures the sisters have undergone their initial intent when dressing up as an altered creature? While we will never know whether or not their outfit was ironic, it certainly matches with the zeitgeist. The novel behind this cult myth has been fascinating pop culture for decades...


Emma Stone, Kylie Jenner... The myth of Frankenstein has never been so hyped


There are countless cinematic references to Mary Shelley’s epistolary novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818). Films like Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Young Frankenstein (1974), Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) by Kenneth Branagh, or Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie (2012) among others, have constantly revived the myth. But recently, the story of how Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss scientist, crafted a “monster” from dead flesh using electricity, seems more alive than ever.


Last January, Greek director Yórgos Lánthimos (The Favorite, The Lobster) offered a feminine rewriting of the myth of Frankenstein with his baroque feature Poor Things. Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone played the role of the creature brought back to life and patched up with a baby’s brain, while Willem Dafoe embodied the figure of the brilliant, yet mad and troubled surgeon.

Jacob Elordi starring as the monster in a new version of Frankenstein


This year, Guillermo del Toro will be on set with a stellar cast to direct the film Frankenstein, due for release in 2025 on Netflix. Oscar Isaac, Mia Goth (X, Pearl and MaXXXine) and Jacob Elordi in the role of the monster - which requires a great capacity for imagination - will all be part of the filmmaker’s upcoming project. The storyline is simple - “19th century, Eastern Europe. Dr. Pretorious, who is tracking down Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, who is believed to have died in a fire forty years earlier, aims to continue the experiments of Dr. Frankenstein.”


A female version of Frankenstein by Maggie Gyllenhaal


Another film is set to overshadow Guillermo del Toro’s feature on October 1st, 2025: The Bride! by actress and film director Maggie Gyllenhaal, starring Jessie Buckley, Christian Bale, Penélope Cruz, Annette Bening and Peter Sarsgaard. Inspired by the 1935 film Bride of Frankenstein, the storyline focuses on a dead young woman: “Frankenstein travels to 1930s Chicago to seek the help of Dr. Euphronius in creating a companion for himself. The two bring a murdered young woman back to life.”


Released on February 9th, 2024, in the United States, but still unavailable in France yet, Lisa Frankenstein is another project that offers a teenage version of the myth. Directed by Zelda Williams and starring Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse, the film is set in 1989 as “a nerdy teenage girl accidentally brings back to life the corpse of a handsome young man from another time.”

Rina Sawayama - Frankenstein (2022).

Rina Sawayama, Paloma... The influence of Frankenstein in music


The story of Frankenstein has also been a source of inspiration for musicians. From Over at the Frankenstein Place (1975), sung by Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien and Susan Sarandon on the soundtrack of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), to tracks by the New York Dolls, Death from Above, and Alice Cooper, the creature who escaped the mad scientist is everywhere.


In 2022, singer Rina Sawayama entitled one of her tracks Frankenstein and proclaimed: “I don’t wanna be a monster anymore.” She explained: “I’ve taken out the horror aspect of the story of Frankenstein. Prosaically, this song revolves around the idea of someone putting me back together and repairing me when I’m broken. I’m in pieces, only to be put back together by someone who reassembles the parts. It’s a very human and realistic experience of rebuilding and creating a new me. That’s why I sing, ‘I don’t want to be a monster anymore.’ At the same time, it’s pretty toxic to depend on someone to feel good, so these lyrics are a bit sad actually...


Another recent Frankenstein reference? A few days ago, artist Paloma released the video for her track P.A.L.O.M.A, directed alongside Rebeka Warrior and RAUMM, which hints at Mylène Farmer and the Bride of Frankenstein. It is no coincidence that queer artists, such as bisexual singer Rina Sawayama and drag queen Paloma, are the ones taking on the figure of Mary Shelley’s fictional creature.

P.A.L.O.M.A - @paloma4043 @RebekaWarriorofficial & @raummofficiel (2024).

Is Mary Shelley’s creature a queer icon?


Several academics and media have analyzed why Mary Shelley’s novel, which she wrote at the age of 18, speaks so strongly to LGBT+ communities, such as the article How Queer is “Frankenstein”? published in The New Yorker. On the one hand, there are numerous allusions to the hidden homosexuality of the mad scientist who gives birth to a creature without going through a heteronormative relationship. On the other hand, the story of the creature being ostracized by villagers because of its difference resonates with the prejudices that queer people face. Besides, the fact that his soul doesn’t seem to align with his body can also mirror the issues faced by transgender people.


Despite the uncanny modernity of this 1818 novel, one has to keep in mind that the original tale is the revenge story of someone who was considered a freak because he didn’t fit in. Victor Frankenstein abandoned his “child” because he thought he was hideous. Except that the child was gifted with intelligence and eventually turned against his creator and the society that rejected him. In that sense, his life is a parable about otherness, and a symbol of the minorities’ struggle to be accepted (and loved) as they are.


“Frankenstein” (2025) by Guillermo del Toro, starring Jacob Elordi, available on Netflix in 2025. “The Bride!” by Maggie Gyllenhaal, starring Jessie Buckley and Penélope Cruz, coming out on October 1st, 2025.


Traduction Emma Naroumbo Armaing