Monster Stories and Halloween

Who doesn’t love monster movies and stories around Halloween? The thought conjures up Gothic images centered in or near the Victorian era. Whether you are searching for costume inspiration or are planning a movie party, here are three classic monster stories that might pique your interest.


Who doesn’t think of Frankenstein when Halloween is mentioned? Mary Shelley’s novel was published in 1818, and the letters in the story are dated July 7, 17–, so it’s presumed to take place somewhere in the 1790s through the early 1800s. The book is a must-read, for any Halloween fan and the movie franchise offers a plethora of titles. Some take much liberty with the story, but Frankenstein (the doctor and his monster) figure prominently into each of the films. The original, made in 1931, is a perennial favorite. It doesn’t get much better than Boris Karloff as the Monster! Sequels include The Bride of Frankenstein, with Elsa Lanchester in the title role, from 1935, and Son of Frankenstein from 1939. My favorite is Young Frankenstein. I’d love to show up at a Halloween party with my friends and I dressed up as Frederick, the Monster, Igor, Elizabeth, Inga and of course, Frau Blucher!


Dracula was also released in 1931 and stars Bela Lugosi as the infamous Count. This is one of Tod Browning’s best! Written by Bram Stoker in 1897, the story takes us from the Carpathian mountains of eastern Europe to London, as it becomes apparent that the Count is a vampire bent on world domination through the undead and only Dr. Van Helsing can help. This is another story that has taken on a life of its own by becoming a movie franchise, inspiring the imagination of movie makers and moviegoers for decades. It’s also been made into more than one television series over the years. There is a lot of Halloween inspiration in this story!

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

This story by Robert Louis Stevenson (The Strange Tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), is set in the 1880s. Dr. Henry Jekyll’s experiments go awry as he attempts to separate the good and evil of man’s nature. This story inspired a movie franchise that started in 1920 and continues through today. The first time we saw Dr. Jekyll was in 1920 with John Barrymore in the title role. The story was revisited in 1931 with Frederic March as the doctor and his dark side counterpart. Perhaps the best-known interpretation was done in 1941 when Spencer Tracy portrayed Dr. Jekyll. All three are wonderful classics that will enhance any Halloween movie party! Or, if you want to go in another direction, catch the reimagining of the story in Mary Reilly, starring Julia Roberts as the doctor’s live-in maidservant, through whose eyes the story is told. John Malkovich stars as Jekyll/Hyde.  That’s scary enough for me!

So, there you have it… three classic monsters to choose from for your Halloween fun… and if you’re looking for ideas for your Halloween costume, check out Recollections’ Halloween section!

Credits Staff. “Frankenstein.” Internet Movie Database., n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2015. <>. Staff. “Dracula.” Internet Movie Database,, n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2015. <>. Staff. “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Internet Movie Database,, n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2015. <>.