Thomas Edison and the Stitchpunk Frankenstein Monster

HD Video , 1.5 minutes, colour, 2012

Each day of my sabbatical, I read some non-fiction, either some film/art history or film/art theory. In a chapter within "Frankenstein a Cultural History" by Susan Tyler HItchcock (2007), a description of the first film version of Frankenstein, a 1910 adaptation by the Edison company, peaked by interest. Within it, the monster is created in a more magical, alchemical method within a large caldron wit a straw body on fire and the film running backwards. I found it on the internet and wanted to copy the idea. As it was early January, I could not do extensive work outside but also could not film such a fire inside, so I decided to scale down the production, building the monster from socks and referencing the "stitchpunk" aesthetic I'd also been reading about. To give some context to the puppet, I devised a story about Edison being the monster's creator and the story being set in 1910. I found archival images of New York in 1910 and shot puppets against green screens. The puppets were without mouths and I videotaped myself doing Edison's dialogue and William doing the monster's. I then moved our lips onto the puppets. This is the first time I'd tried this. The monster puppet, as the last shot to be captured, was filled with paper and sprayed with WD40 oil and set on fire in my front yard against a small green card. The fire was not fast enough and I needed to speed it up and edit it to try to pick up the pace. It was programmed into the Filmpool premiere screening at the Artesian on November 22, 2012 and again on June 14, 2013 at the Winnipeg Underground Film Festival. The reboot/sequel: Testament of Frankenstitch.

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