Here's a rare classic title that I actually had seen before, sometime during childhood. I would guess I'd have been somewhere between 8 and 10, it was on TV, we recorded it, and I watched it a few times. I hadn't seen it in years
At the time, I was avoiding horror like the plague because I was easy to scare. But here we had something where the monster wasn't a scary guy out for blood or souls or what have you, but a misunderstood creature who causes harm, but he doesn't know any better. Aside from 'Sesame Street', I wasn't familiar with any friendly fun monsters at the time (that I can remember, anyway).
By the time I was between the ages of 8 and 10, we're talking meeting the tail end of the 80s slasher era - namely Freddy and Jason, into the 90's with their respective "death" movies. Those were the types of monsters I was familiar with, and their concepts terrified me. You heard about these movies all the time on the school yard. But I digress.
Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is conducting experiments in the reanimation of dead tissue. Assisted by Fritz (Dwight Frye) they start small, with animals. He soon moves on to man, creating a body out of various body parts dug up from various graveyards. As we all know, Frankenstein is successful in his experiment, as her blurts out those famous lines "Alive! It's alive!"
Frankenstein's monster, however, was given an abnormal brain, stolen by Fritz. For anyone who has seen 'Young Frankenstein', the scene is hilariously almost the same - labels on the jars and all. Anyway, this abnormal brain causes the creature a bit of slowness, confusion, but calm and gentle with a tremendous fear of fire, which makes the climax altogether pretty hard to watch.
Meanwhile, Frankenstein's fiancée, Elizabeth (Mae Clark), and friend Victor (John Boles) worry about his health. His father, Baron Frankenstein (Frederick Kerr) ends up snapping him out of it, and it's agreed that in playing God, Henry should humanely destroy the monster. That is, if they can get to him before a bunch of PO'ed villagers do. I won't spoil things (even if it is from 1931), but the monster escapes his captivity, and though gentle and ultimately friendly, he causes an accident, taking an innocent life. This could be where I learned to appreciate movies that show you both sides of the coin, not just simply good vs evil. So it plays a part in my personal history.
It's interesting to note that this is pretty much a timeless story. The more we advance in technology, it seems we have more new things to face. For instance social media vs our overall privacy. You can look at it from another perspective as well, and say this is kinda 'Jurassic Park'-ish as far as the playing God element goes. The same sort of dangers are present here.
All in all, I have to give this one some serious credit for introducing a few new(ish) concepts to me, such as the dangers of playing God, and the idea that monsters can be innocent creatures just as well as they can be scary. Again, that is, aside from 'Sesame Street' monsters. Even so, 'Frankenstein' did it first.