The Bride of Frankenstein is a reminder that you literally cannot MAKE someone to love you. For anyone who thinks the myth of Pygmalion is a workable model in sculpting a woman to love you, Bride of Frankenstein is a healthy dose of reality. The story picks up from the ashes of the original Frankenstein, with enough changes in continuity that shows the producers had not planned to make a sequel of the original film.
The Mad Doctor
Dr. Septimus Pretorius is the archetype of the mad scientist without any ethics. Dr. Pretorius is the poster child on why the Nuremberg Code exists to protect people from human experimentation. Pretorius paid henchmen for access to catacombs, where he identified the body of a deceased woman, and noted that he hoped she had strong bones. Pretorius later stayed in the catacombs for the ambiance, where he enjoyed a bottle of wine with a coffin as a table. He took the creepiness up a notch by decorating coffin with a skull and bones for happy hour.
Laws globally are enacted to keep the living from doing everything Dr. Pretorius did in the catacombs. Anyone who knowingly “mutilates or disinters, wantonly disturbs, or willfully removes any human remains” without legal authority is guilty of a misdemeanor. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 7050.5(a). Moreover, anyone who removes any part of human remains from where they are interred, with intent to sell or dissect the remains, or with malice or wantonness, without legal authority, has committed a felony and is subject to imprisonment. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 7051; Cal. Penal Code § 1170(h). Furthermore, anyone who willfully mutilates, removes, or has sexual contact with human remains, is guilty of a felony. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 7052(a).
Dr. Septimus Pretorius willfully mutilated remains by placing the skull and bones on the coffin for his twisted picnic. This was at least a misdemeanor. The removing of the female corpse for medical experimentation is a felony.
But the crimes don’t stop there.
Crimes Against Frankenstein
Dr. Septimus Pretorius forced Dr. Henry Frankenstein to collaborate on creating a mate for Frankenstein’s Creature by kidnapping his wife Elizabeth. Pretorius held Elizabeth in an unknown location and threatened her safety in order to compel Dr. Frankenstein’s participation in creating a “friend” for the Creature.
It is worth noting that the collaboration between the two doctors sought Dr. Frankenstein’s knowledge to create a living body from corpses. Dr. Pretorius proved he could “grew” miniature people, thus would grow a brain for the Bride.
Pretorius had no moral reservations about holding people against their will. His homegrown homunculi were kept in glass jars; imprisoning Elizabeth was completely within his “means justify the ends” attitude.
Kidnapping is the forcible taking of a person. Cal. Penal Code § 207(a). Kidnapping someone for ransom is a felony that can be punished with life without parole if suffers bodily harm or is exposed to a substantial likelihood of death. Cal. Penal Code § 209. False imprisonment is the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another. Cal. Penal Code § 236.
Elizabeth was taken by the Creature and imprisoned with threats against her life. Given the ease with the Creature had killed others, Elizabeth had been exposed to a substantial likelihood of death. Moreover, Elizabeth was taken in order to secure the compliance of Dr. Frankenstein in order to build a Bride for the Creature. This is a ransom case and Pretorius clearly committed multiple felonies.
Is Creating a Bride from a Reanimated Corpse Human Trafficking?
Dr. Septimus Pretorius compelled the help of Dr. Frankenstein and stole a human body (plus a heart on Frankenstein’s instructions) in order to build a mate for the Creature. This arguably is human trafficking…with the added twist that victim was brought to life by those who did the human trafficking.
Human trafficking is the deprivation of the personal liberty of another with the intent to obtain forced labor from the victim. This is a felony that can be punished in prison for 5, 8, or 12 years with a fine up to $500,000. Cal. Penal Code § 236.1(a).
The Bride immediately rejected the Creature after being brought to life and introduced to her “groom.” There is a defense that she was never actually deprived of her personal liberty, given how quickly the situation deteriorated, but that would ignore the Creature’s action to destroy the laboratory with “we belong dead.”
Love’s Labour’s Lost
The Creature survived being burned alive, shot at after saving a woman, pursued by a lynch mob, tortured, hunted, and imprisoned without the right to counsel. The one person who cared about him was a blind man who did not know the Creature was “a monster.” Cruelty drove the Creature straight to Dr. Pretorius who capitalized on the hate the Creature endured to transform him into “The Monster.” The Creature wanted only to be loved and took a dark path that lead to ruin. While the Creature ultimately realized what he had become, the real monsters were the ones who carried torches and strung the Creature up like an animal.