Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Boris Karloff in the 1931 “Frankenstein.”

Harvard affiliated institutes (namely the Harvard Film Archive) celebrate Frankenweek starting Monday, commemorating the 200th birthday of Mary Shelley’s classic gothic novel that changed how we viewed horror, humankind and the boundaries of nature. At the HFA as part of the “Afterlives of Frankenstein” program, James Whale’s titular 1931 classic starring Boris Karloff gets screened on multiple nights, along with follow-up classic “The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935), also starring Karloff and directed by Whale. There are also various tangential cult offerings, including “The Curse of Frankenstein” (1957), Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” (1984) and “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” (1948). Of course, Mel Brooks’ brilliant retro-satire, “Young Frankenstein” (1974) makes the slate. Various Harvard scholars and professors versed in all things Fraken-Shelley will be in attendance to add enriching commentary. Additionally there will be “Frankenreads” – yes, a reading of Shelley’s novel – on Halloween night at the Houghton Library and a screening of “Gods and Monsters,” the 1998 film about “Frankenstein” director Whale’s life on and off the set. It’s at The Brattle Theatre on Oct. 27.