Given an on-screen career barely twelve minutes long, in a film made some 75 years ago, The Bride of Frankenstein’s impact elevated her spectacular profile to the pantheon of unforgettable characters in popular culture.
She thundered to life even as the film careened to its cataclysmic finale. Elsa Lanchester’s brief cinematic ballet, silent save for one searing hiss, effectively signaled the feverish, inexorable end to James Whale’s magical and macabre fairy tale.
I submit that The Bride’s ephemeral quality is the key to our enduring fascination. She was never raised again out of the underground pools, the sulfur pits or the glaciers where her erstwhile beau nestled between films. She was never made ordinary through repeated reanimation and overexposure in progressively cheaper sequels. The Bride never danced with The Wolfman, or Abbott and Costello.
She has been merchandized, of course. The Bride was embossed on lunch boxes, printed up on puzzles and posters, made into crepe hair Halloween costumes and plastic assembly kits. She has been reproduced in oils and sculpture, pasted on skateboards and engraved as tattoos, but for all the pop imagery, the original survives, dignity intact.
Now, Ukrainian photographer Aleksey Galushkov pays homage to the Queen of Monsters in a stunning series of photographs. Galushkov’s RetroAtelier portraits mimic bygone styles, his time-traveling models — Belle Époque Belles and Forties Femme Fatales — are captured in faux hand-tinted daguerreotypes, stark Man Ray black and whites, and silvery glamour studio photography. Costumes and coiffures are impeccably dead-on, and setups evoke Caligaresque Weimar Berlin, Ziegfield Follies pinups and Hollywood's Golden Age.
Galushkov’s Bride — in the artist’s own words, a “fantasy” photoshoot — calls us across time, the prints scratched and fading. Beautiful, delicate, and perhaps a tad unchaste, this Bride is armed and dangerous. The model is identified simply as Ksenia.
The Bride's Bare Essentials.
Thanks for the tip to Fred of Sweet Skulls.