When it comes to the most famous monsters in horror history, Frankenstein is up near the top of the list. Sigh, yes, I know Frankenstein is the name of the doctor that created the monster, but I’m choosing to just refer to the creature as Frankenstein because it’s easier.
With that attempt to head off the more pedantic among us out of the way, even some of the most dedicated horror fans probably believe that the first film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel was director James Whale’s 1931 Universal classic. However, that’s actually not true.
In the earliest days of the film medium, no less than Thomas freaking Edison produced a short film version of Frankenstein, released in 1910. It’s only about 15 minutes long, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s the first cinematic representation of the iconic monster.
Chances are many (most?) of the people reading this article have never seen this piece of silent film history. Well, as IndieWire reports, the U.S. Library of Congress has acquired a restored print of Frankenstein (1910), and is offering it for viewing free online.
The full film is embedded below for your convenience, and if you’re a horror history buff, you owe it to yourself to watch this first attempt at realizing this iconic story visually. Sure, it’s not in the same league as Whale’s film, but it’s also really short, and totally free, so why not?