Quaid is best known as a comic actor (as seen in the Vacation movies), but he’s played a handful of dramatic roles over the years, from President Lyndon Johnson to the disgusted sheep rancher who employs Ennis and Jack in Brokeback Mountain. In this 1992 made-for-TV Frankenstein, he’s all brute, opposite Patrick Bergin (Sleeping With the Enemy) as the doctor.
Quaid’s monster looks more like a burn victim than most, with pulsating veins on his face instead of the usual scars and stitches. That’s because he’s a clone of Bergin’s scientist, not an assemblage of spare parts. As a result, the two have a psychic link and can feel each other’s pain. Other than those variations, this version hews relatively faithful to Shelley’s novel: Quaid’s creature is intelligent and sensitive, hounded by humanity for his ugliness and resentful of his creator. The low-budget film feels like a dry run for Kenneth Branagh’s over-the-top epic made a couple years later, but Quaid proves you don’t need fancy special effects or especially grotesque makeup to make a convincing Frankenstein monster.
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