Scorsese's 2004 Hidden Gem Already Did What Del Toro Aims For With Frankenstein

Scorsese's 2004 Hidden Gem Already Did What Del Toro Aims For With Frankenstein
Image credit: globallookpress, USA Network

This is probably the adaptation you need to see before Guillermo del Toro's long-awaited movie comes out.


  • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 's monster has changed a lot over the course of 200 years – largely due to film adaptations that have increasingly distorted his image.
  • The 2004’s Frankenstein, produced by Martin Scorsese, is different from other adaptations – it makes the monster a positive character while still capturing the essence of Shelley's original story.
  • The movie follows a murder investigation in New Orleans that leads the police on the trail of Victor Frankenstein and his monster, who have been alive for over 200 years due to genetic alterations.

Mary Shelley could not have imagined how her creation would be perceived two hundred years later. Frankenstein (or the Modern Prometheus) was not a horror novel – the questions it raised were purely religious. Can a man create a new life? Could his creation be more perfect than an ordinary human?

Movies Greatly Changed Frankenstein's Image

Originally, the monster was neither good nor bad, but was born with a new personality – the memory of the brain that Frankenstein placed in the skull was not transferred to the new creation. Shelley’s character succeeded in putting a new soul into monster’s body.

By the 21st century, Frankenstein's monster had become as much a staple of popular culture as Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, and Jekyll and Hyde, as well as a necessary part of any horror mashup that brought together the heroes and villains of classic horror.

The monster appears in the movie Van Helsing – here, he is a kind but unhappy creature with secrets that Count Dracula wants to know. Cute, funny Frank is friends with Dracula and the Mummy in Hotel Transylvania. In Tim Burton's Frankenweenie, the monster became a dog, and soon we’ll get the long-awaited Guillermo del Toro ’s adaptation that promises to be faithful to the source.

2004's Frankenstein is Both Fresh and True to the Source

Scorsese's 2004 Hidden Gem Already Did What Del Toro Aims For With Frankenstein - image 1

But if you want to see an adaptation that brings something new to the story while staying true to the original, then turn to the little-known but brilliant 2004 film adaptation called, well, Frankenstein, obviously, which is produced by Martin Scorsese himself.

Set in present-day New Orleans, the police investigate crimes that lead them to the trail of Victor Frankenstein and his monster (named Deucalion), who managed to live for more than 200 years thanks to Frankenstein's mastery of genetic reprogramming of the human body in the early 19th century.

The movie was intended to be the beginning of a long-running franchise. The ending of the movie does not complete the overall picture, and there is no answer to a number of questions, related to the mystical elements of the movie.

It's disappointing that director Marcus Nispel never made a sequel and no one continued the franchise without him. Frankenstein is a brilliant movie that takes Mary Shelley's well-known story to a new level of perception.

This is a unique look at the whole concept of Frankenstein, as well as a unique idea to make the monster the main hero – a huge step forward compared to the all-alike, copy-cat adaptations.

So yes, seems like Guillermo del Toro will have huge shoes to fill! His Frankenstein does not have a scheduled release date yet, but chances are the movie will hit the screens at some point in 2025.