Young Frankenstein (1974), directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder, is apparently one of the classics for any Halloween need-to-watch list. I just recently watched it for the very first time after hearing my professor ramble on and on about it in my film class last year.
Halloween movies are infamous for being out there, spooking audiences with ghouls and growls and ghosts. That’s why they’re Halloween movies. Young Frankenstein did that, while also maintaining a comedic plot and characters. The film is smothered with sexual innuendos, but that is where most people stop when examining the film.
People have been watching this “innocent” film for decades, laughing at its sexual humor, all the while disregarding the fact that the monster — whom Dr. Frankenstein has given life — rapes Dr. Frankenstein’s fiance, Elizabeth.
There have been reviews posted online discussing this film, yet there has been great neglect to bring to light the harm in the incident involving Elizabeth and the monster. One review said this:
“The second scene is when the monster takes a woman from the house and takes her into the wilderness to romance her. The scene is very funny, but it does involve sex (although it shows nothing and there is no nudity). Afterwords I realized that the scene was a little rapey, but only after thinking about it more than I probably should. It’s actually a very funny scene, and it’s clear that, at least by the time they actually have sex, the female character is on board and a willing participant.”
This woman — a mother — believes that a scene where Dr. Frankenstein’s monster pulls his pants down and lays on top of a woman without her consent is not rape. But it is.
It was uncomfortably disturbing and well-beyond shocking to see this scene in Young Frankenstein. It was not the two characters having a good time, it was forced sexual contact. It was abuse. Elizabeth was unwillingly placed into this position and situation after being dragged out of her bedroom and throw onto the ground of a cave. It was not her choice.
The review mentioned above — as well as what the movie suggests thereafter — claims that since Elizabeth was somehow pleased with the sexual encounter after the fact, it must have been justified. Apparently, she ended up “falling in love” with the monster after he forced himself onto her.
In addition to this, Elizabeth’s actions and passion for the monster from that moment on are overdramatic and unrealistic, making her into a sex-crazed maniac while stripping any dignity left from her character.
This is gross and offensive to women and is taking away from those who have been assaulted in real-life. Young Frankenstein should no longer be praised in the way that it has been for years. The fact that is it somehow a “classic” is sickening, especially understanding that they play the unwarranted sexual behavior off as a joke and base the end of the story off of it.
Consider passing up this movie option this Oct. 31 (as well as every year in the future), and instead, watch something that doesn’t promote rape culture. This one is cancelled.