Archive for the What it Feels Like to be God (Week Seven) Category

What It Feels Like to be God

Posted in What it Feels Like to be God (Week Seven) on May 25, 2011 by John R. Kitch

The created (Boris Karloff, right) meets its creator (Colin Clive, left) once again in a scene with tension from "Frankenstein".

As an art student, I receive one of the highest forms of satisfaction in creating something and calling it my own.

As we construct skyscrapers to top the last, build cars to out-race each other, and program computers to calculate functions faster than any biological brain, it is clear and evident that the members of humankind generally possess the ambition to be creators of the best creations. Perhaps this is derived from the instinctive drive of parenting, complete with the acts of love, conception, birth, grooming, and exposure. Love is the idea of having something worth caring for that is original and unique. Conception is the beginning of its creation. Birth is as it appears in the first and raw result. Grooming is the obsession to promote and improve it. Finally, exposure is its release and unveiling to the World.

At times, we can falter in any one of the steps of creation. At the very beginning, a person may not have the love of creations, and therefore is flawed in thinking they can be a successful creator. A wrong idea or action made during conception or birth can result in ruined product. If not groomed and exposed properly, a creation will fail every critical analysis. A creator may create with good intentions in mind, but if any part of their creation is flawed and if corners are cut, the result can be disastrous. Skyscrapers topple, brakes fail, and hardrives crash.

In the 1931 version of “Frankenstein”, one of the beloved Universal Monster Movies, Henry Frankenstein (Brit actor Colin Clive) is struck with the urge to create, but not the urge to create just any piece of art or a machine. He is obsessed with creating a man, and the perfect man at that. After robbing graveyards of the recently deceased with the help of his hunchbacked assistant, Fritz (Kansan horror actor Dwight Frye), Frankenstein stitches together a creature of considerable strength, but what is good brawn without an excellent brain? Fritz is sent to a university to steal a preserved brain from an anatomy class, but drops the jar that contains a healthy brain and destroys it. Not considering the difference, Fritz steals another jarred brain for Frankenstein to use. With the use of laboratory equipment and a bolt of lightning, the finished man is brought to life.

“It’s alive! It’s alive!” Frankenstein screams. “In the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!”

Although the appearance of the Creature (brilliant Hollywood boogieman Boris Karloff) is ghastly, Frankenstein is satisfied with his work. But, the Creature’s violent tendencies are hard to ignore. Frankenstein fears are realized when his friend, Dr. Waldman (scary movie professor-type Edward Van Sloan), tells him that the brain stolen from his lecture hall is the brain of an executed murderer. Matters only get worse after the Creature kills Dr. Waldman and escapes the laboratory.

I have created a few monsters myself. There are few short films that I have created for my professors that I am not proud of. Either the composition or lighting was poor, the audio was inaudible, or the acting was not up to par. Initially (just after filming the last take) I feel satisfied with the work I have done, but after the editing is complete, the monster is unleashed. While watching a not-so-great film of mine, I see where I wasn’t careful and where I skipped the steps of creation.

I am not attempting to discourage those who want to be gods to their own creations. On the contrary, I promote the belief that anyone can create what they want. It should be a freedom denied to no one. However, heed my word of warning. Do not create something unless you are willing to accept the consequences.

Consequences can be good… or bad.

“Frankenstein” and all images from it are property of Universal Pictures.

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