'A Nightmare Wakes' shows creation of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein'

Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Shudder announced Wednesday it would premiere the film A Nightmare Wakes on Feb. 4. The film is a dramatization of Mary Shelley (Alix Wilton Regan), her romance with Percy Shelley (Giullian Yao Gioiello) and writing Frankenstein.

Nora Unkel wrote and directed A Nightmare Wakes, which premiered at the virtual edition of the Salem Horror Fest in Oct. 2020. Shudder said in a press release they scheduled the film's streaming premiere to coincide with the 170th anniversary of Shelley's death on Feb. 1.


A trailer for A Nightmare Wakes shows Mary Shelley telling a scary story to her friends. She seemingly invents the tale of a scientist who brings a creature to life as she speaks. A similar Mary Shelley framing device opens James Whale's 1935 sequel Bride of Frankenstein.

Shudder's synopsis for A Nightmare Wakes says Mary Shelley takes opium while writing the novel. The film portrays the fever dream she experiences, bringing the characters of her book to life.

In Shelley's 1818 novel, Victor Frankenstein assembles his creature from different parts of dead bodies and brings him to life via electricity. Frankenstein then casts out his creation, who later returns demanding Frankenstein create a mate for him.


Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi and Glenn Strange portrayed the creature in Whale's Frankenstein films and their Universal Studios sequels. Other film adaptations include a series from Hammer Film Productions, Mel Brooks' comedy Young Frankenstein, Kenneth Branagh's 1994 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein starring Robert De Niro as the creature, and 2015's Victor Frankenstein, starring James McAvoy as the scientist.

The 2017 film Mary Shelley also explored the author's relationship with Percy and writing of the novel. Elle Fanning played Mary Shelley in that film.

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