When I was four or five I got the Mego-like Remco Frankenstein monster action figure with only the vaguest idea of who it was. It didn't matter who it was, I had an awesome monster for my Mego Batman to fight. I grew to love that toy almost as much as my Batman and was crushed when it mysteriously disappeared.
Toys just not being there anymore was common for me growing up since we moved every six months and I can only assume things were just trashed.
By the time the monster had vanished I had a favorite character that captured my imagination the way Batman and Star Wars had.
Cartoons like The Drac Pack and Groovy Ghoulies and the TV show The Munsters gave me a taste of the monster, but I knew these were all played for laughs and the monster was a monster and I needed to see the real movie to find out what the deal was.
But this was pre internet, hell pre VCR and pre cable so it'd be a long wait to enjoy the Universal classic.
Monsters tended to be misunderstood and the humans were the real monsters or the concept was so outlandish it couldn't be taken seriously. Horror was about evil, senseless evil and killing and terrifying men in masks who watched you from the bushes before attacking.
With puberty and middle school came awkwardness and cliques at school. Divisions were clearly defined and being a skinny, short kid from a poor family with no interest in sports I was an easy target for the rednecks and jocks.
I got "Hey, faggot" so much I began to suspect people thought that was my name. Feeling like an outsider in a world I didn't ask to be a part of or even wanted to be a part of deepened my affection for the story. Alice Cooper's "Teenage Frankenstein" from his Constrictor album gave me a theme song.
Sometime around then the awesome Monster Squad came out which featured all the classic monsters, a definite classic of the 80's. There was also an updating of the Bride of Frankenstein called The Bride, more of a gothic romance, but still very good.
The local grocery store had a video rental section and randomly had a copy of Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. I was unaware of Hammer Films at the time, but the meaner, darker Frankenstein was revelatory.
I'd say all the Universal and Hammer Frank' films are great to watchable and I HIGHLY recommend Andy Warhol's Flesh for Frankenstein, directed by Paul Morrisey and starring Udo Kier and Frank Hennenlotter's Frankenhooker, just for their sheer audacity and fun.
And one can't forget Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound that puts an interesting time travel spin on the story.
Ken Russell told the tale of the book's origin in the cool Gothic.
I'm forgetting or haven't seen plenty more, but my point is that the story never gets old. Or at least, I never get tired of it.
I hope to some day unleash my own take on the monster and I believe there's plenty of room for more retellings and continuations because it's a story that can be universally understood and never seems to be out dated, especially with the leaps and bounds science makes in genetics, prosthetics, robotics, and cloning. The subtitle of Shelley's Frankenstein was the Modern Prometheus. Prometheus stole fire from the gods and was punished. Man will never stop trying to steal that fire and Frankenstein will always remind us to use caution in our pursuits.
Keep watching the sky, nerds!