The Frankenstein Theory (2013)

Unrated  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  1 March 2013 (USA)
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From the makers of The Last Exorcism comes a boldly original vision of horror. What if the most chilling novel of all time was actually based on a true account of a horrific experiment gone... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Jonathan Venkenhein
Clarence Malusky
Karl McCallion
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Brian Henderson ...
Roger W. Morrissey ...
The Creature (as Roger Morissey)
Vicky Stephens
Angry Man (credit only)


From the makers of The Last Exorcism comes a boldly original vision of horror. What if the most chilling novel of all time was actually based on a true account of a horrific experiment gone awry? When he is suspended from his university job for his outlandish ideas, Professor John Venkenheim leads a documentary film crew to the rim of the Arctic Circle in a desperate effort to vindicate his academic reputation. His theory: Mary Shelley's ghastly story, "Frankenstein," is, in fact, a work of non-fiction disguised as fantasy. In the vast, frozen wilderness, Venkenheim and his team search for the legendary monster, a creature mired in mystery and drenched in blood. What they find is an unspeakable truth more terrifying than any fiction...a nightmare from which there is no waking. Written by Image Entertainment

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Horror | Sci-Fi


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 March 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Frankenstein-teória  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Movie is supposed to take place in Canada, but gas pump measures in Gallons; should be liters (note Canada uses "$"). See more »


References The Blair Witch Project (1999) See more »


Requiem in D Minor
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Arranged by Christopher Todd Landor
Published by Landor Music Publishing (BMI)
See more »

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User Reviews

If you didn't read the novel, you're not qualified to review this movie
28 February 2014 | by See all my reviews

I have researched the novel and taught Frankenstein at the university level for a number of years. I have also read the novel at least fifteen times, so I regard this film as an intertextual work rather than a stand-alone work, and that probably makes a huge difference. As far as I know, no successful film adaptations of the novel exists. Kenneth Branagh's "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" is interesting, but ultimately it is a howler of a B movie thanks largely to Branagh's decision to make Victor Frankenstein a wholly admirable character. "The Frankenstein Theory" illuminates the novel just as much, or more, than Branagh's film.

The film is a sequel to the novel. At the end of the novel, the "creature" jumps off a ship near the North Pole and bounds over the ice, having promised that he will build a funeral pyre and kill himself in the Arctic wastes. But does he? That's the question that drives the story of the film.

The writer/director obviously knew the novel as well as its biographical background. Jonathan reflects the monomaniacal determination of Victor Frankenstein. His backstory--expulsion from Oxford--also refers to the biography of Mary Shelley's husband, Percy. References to Percy Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind" and to Mozart's Requiem--a commissioned work that ultimately became the composer's own requiem--create some clever textual layering. Percy Shelley presaged his own death, as does Jonathan and his crew in the act of documenting their pursuit of their own killer. Some of the tension of the frame story of the novel is captured, too: Victor Frankenstein has been rescued by Robert Walton, a captain with a hired crew bound for the North Pole (which had not yet been discovered). The film crew in "The Frankestein Theory" are analogous to Walton's nearly mutinous crew.

The premise of documentation is also meaningful in relation to the novel. Like many works of Gothic fiction, the novel is presented as an epistolary narrative--a documentation of "true" events. It is composed of some letters by Walton and a transcript of the story that Victor Frankenstein tells to Walton. At least one previous IMDb reviewer claimed that this entire film is a rip-off of "The Blair Witch Project," and, while I see the similarity, I think this misses the point. "The Blair Witch Project" and many other contemporary horror films (e.g., "The Ring" and "Paranormal Activity") foreground the act of documentation--a conceit they owe to Gothic literature. This film is the only one I know that actually acknowledges and plays knowingly with that debt.

Let's not stop there. "The Frankenstein Theory" plays with a couple other visual genres as well--the mockumentary (especially "The Incident at Loch Ness") and reality television shows based on wilderness survival. It also offers a delightful homage to "Jaws." The guide, Carl, played by an uncanny double for Viggo Mortensen, delivers a comic drunken story that parallels the terrific sailor's tale spun by Anthony Quinn in Spielberg's film.

Finally, let's face it...the Frankenstein story has never been truly terrifying in any of its manifestations. The novel is certainly creepy, but it's mainly a novel of ideas. This film should be credited for combining brainy intertextuality, comedy, and at least a few mild thrills. It's certainly not the scariest movie I've ever seen, but that's not the point. It IS the scariest media representation of the Frankenstein myth I've seen, with the possible exception of Blade Runner--another brainy, intertextual film.

15 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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