August 30 is the birthday of Mary Shelley, the woman who wrote the original monster novel, “Frankenstein.” In her honor, Frankenstein Day is set aside to honor the author, who penned what is now considered the first science fiction novel as well as one of the most influential horror stories of all time. Frankenstein is actually the name of the creator of the monster in the novel, but most people now use the name Frankenstein to refer to the monster himself. Over the years, Frankenstein has become so ingrained in our culture that there have been several dozen movies made based on the novel, which warns against trying to create life or overcome death.
Interesting Facts About Frankenstein
Here are some interesting tidbits about this famous novel:
- The novel was originally published anonymously in 1818 and some people assumed her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote it.
- Mary Shelley wrote the novel when she was just 18 years old.
- She originally wrote it as part of a writing contest between herself, her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, physician John Polidori and the poet Lord Byron. The challenge was to see who could write the best ghost story. She won.
- Critics were mixed in their reviews, but the novel quickly gained popularity and went into several reprints.
- The complete title of the book is, “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.”
- Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t the green monster with bolts in the neck featured in many movies.
Read the Original Novel
Today, “Frankenstein” is recognized as one of the most important works of literature in the last few centuries. It is a watershed creation that reflects modern man’s ambivalence about death and how much control science should have over life. Celebrate this impressive novel and the resulting movies, television shows and spin-offs by reading the novel. It is relatively short and will keep you awake long after your bedtime. If you prefer movies, look for some of the excellent film adaptations of the novel. These are guaranteed to give you a chill.
Host a Monster Party
Throw a Frankenstein Day Party and include some ghoulish activities such as a costume contest for the best Frankenstein monster or most convincing mad scientist costume. You could also open up the contest to other types of monsters such as Vampires and Werewolves for variety. Halloween Empire’s makeup collection can help you transform your face into that of the Frankenstein monster in just a few minutes. After you’ve chosen a costume contest winner, screen a few different Frankenstein movies. There have been dozens made, not all of them frightening. There are dramas, horror flicks and even some cartoons and comedies featuring the monster. Pass around “finger foods” that look like real fingers, offer drinks that look like mysterious potions and tell ghost stories.
Host Your Own Writing Contest
If you enjoy writing, challenge your friends to a writing contest like the one Mary Shelley participated in the weekend she wrote her first draft of “Frankenstein.” Make sure all the contestants understand they have to write a ghost story that is original and compelling. Who knows? Maybe you or a friend will become the next Mary Shelley.