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The Frankenstein Name Game

It gets tiring, always having to correct yourself in order to *be* correct, by referring to the Monster created by Victor Frankenstein as “Frankenstein’s Monster” or just as “the Monster.” Frankenstein was the *scientist*, as every knowledgeable fan knows, not the Monster. I not infrequently refer to the Monster as “Frankenstein.” The Monster, in fact, is almost universally known as “Frankenstein.” Say the word and the image that immediately comes to mind is not of the mad scientist but of his hulking, homicidal creation. Why is that? The reason, I believe, is hinted at three sentences prior. One particular word: “universally”.

I think we can credit, or blame, Universal Studios for the Frankenstein name swap. The Monster, portrayed by the likes of Lon Chaney, Jr., Bela Lugosi, and Glenn Strange, appeared in several Universal movies without Victor Frankenstein—or “Henry” Frankenstein. That may be another factor. They changed the name of the scientist for the Universal movies. Having the Monster appear again and again in movies with the word “Frankenstein” in the title yet *not* featuring the mad doctor led to the association of the two, the Monster and the name Frankenstein, in the public consciousness. That’s why, today, “Frankenstein” may refer to both the Monster and the guy who created it.

TheCheezman • January 14, 2020

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