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Frankenstein (1931) Horror or Sci-Fi

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My first thread here on the forums.


This is a question that has plagued me recently, I realize that many classic horror and sci-fi movies can easily cross over into either category. Such as the Thing From Another World and Invasion of the Body Snatchers can easily be horror or Sci-Fi. But if you were to choose a single category for the following movies, which category would you put them in?


Frankenstein (1931)

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The Invisible Man (1933)

The Thing From Another World (1951)

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Alien (1979)

Even Horizon (1997)

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Hi, Gojira. Welcome to the board. Your first post is a terrific one. It's also a tough one.


Frankenstein has me puzzled. It's very much a science fiction film because Dr. Frankenstein is a scientist with a grand experiment. I guess the horror aspect is that his creation is seen as a "monster" to the villagers. The monster also kills a young girl, which is horrifying. I have to put Frankenstein in the horror category, but it's close.


I haven't see The Bride of Frankenstein in a few years, so I will have to revisit the film before I can give an informed opinion. It's a film that's far deeper than Frankenstein.


The Invisible Man is my favorite Universal "horror" film. The science fiction aspect of the film is very strong in the beginning, but it turns into a horror/terror film as it builds momentum, ala Frankenstein. I consider The Invisible Man to be a superhero villain film. If I were to make a film called "The Joker", it would be done in the spirit of The Invisible Man.


Creature from the Black Lagoon is yet another film that starts off as a sci-fi film but I believe it morphs into a horror film. I guess horror is created when science and unexplored nature collide is emerging as your theme.


The Thing from Another World, John Carpenter's The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Alien are right on the border for me. They are truly sci-fi horror. I consider them to be horror films but I think most people would say sci-fi because of the presence of alien beings.


I haven't seen Even Horizon.

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I think I read somewhere that Universal marketed "The Invisible Man" a bit differently than it did its other horror film, as if the studio considered it a horse of a different color. So that one might belong more to the SF camp than the horror camp. Certainly, the sequels to "Invisible man" make the invisible character much more sympathetic than the one in the first film and thus can't even be considered horror films.

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I think this is why these two categories are often lumped together when considering these genres. Often one will contain elements of the other. For instance, FRANKENSTEIN, while a work of science fiction, contains horrific elements.


In a like manner, a film like I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF contains science fiction elements but should still really (IMO) be classified as "horror."


Then you have films that are "straight" horror (containing no science fiction elements), such as THE WOLF MAN, or which are "straight" science fiction (containing no horror), such as THINGS TO COME (1936).


Sometimes the distinctions are less clear, of course, and in the case of films such as FRANKENSTEIN, since the boundaries between the two are obscured because the film contains both elements, it's really quite difficult to place it solely into one category or the other.

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