Interview with Screenwriter Jillian Rae Young (Revenge of the Bride of Frankenstein)

The shocking secrets behind the infamous scientist who created monsters are revealed when he is finally held accountable for his actions by one of his own creations.

Watch Screenplay Reading:

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Steve Rizzo
Erika; Kyana Teresa
Elizabeth/Various: Hannah Ehman
Nikki/Various: Julie Sheppard
Henry/Various: Sean Ballantyne

Get to know the filmmaker:

What is your screenplay about? The Revenge of the Bride of Frankenstein (TROTBOF) is a true sequel to the 1935 production of Bride of Frankenstein by Universal Pictures. However, the production is not simply derived from the characters depicted in 1935; rather, it reveals the secrets motivating Henry Frankenstein and Dr. Septimus Pretorius, the infamous scientists who created ‘monsters’ at the turn of the 20th century, by telling the story of Erika Martin, the reanimated creature bride whose potential was far greater than her creators ever imagined. It’s the story of a woman who transcends her dark, unnatural origins to become an unlikely heroine when she courageously confronts her creator.

The logline is: “The shocking secrets behind the infamous scientist who created monsters are revealed when he is finally held accountable for his actions by one of his own creations.” I’ve also described it hyperbolically on Twitter: “An imperial sorceress from another dimension rides a lightning bolt into our universe where she enlivens an artificial brain in a reanimated corpse. After 20 years as a wall flower, she’s invited to a posh Christmas party where she and her cat save the world from horrific monsters.” It’s important not to take ourselves TOO seriously. 😉

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under? Horror and Science-Fiction

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie? There are multiple reasons The Revenge of the Bride of Frankenstein should be produced as a full feature film:

It provides an opportunity to create a film that could reignite interest in horror films that provide iconic characters who are more than the cruel, sadistic, inhuman killers and frightened ingenues so often depicted in today’s slasher flicks. There is often so much focus on fear and violence in such films that the potential for a greater story arc is severely lacking. The original Frankenstein films may have introduced two of the most iconic movie monsters of all time, but that is not what they were about. At their core, they metaphorically reflected the cruel treatment of marginalized individuals in modern society. 2. The character of the Bride of Frankenstein was only given two minutes of screen time in the film bearing her name – two lousy minutes. Elsa Lanchester’s only lines as the Bride were hissing and screaming. TROTBOF gives a voice to a woman who was never given the opportunity to reach her hidden potential. 3. TROTBOF is a gynocentric story with strongly empowered female characters, who are entirely absent in the original Frankenstein films. While female empowerment is becoming more prevalent in the 21st century, current events show it has a LONG way to go. We need more empowered women in film, especially in horror and science-fiction. 4. While the original Frankenstein films were set in Europe, their message is universal, and as I indicated before, the vehicle of horror can be used to address difficult issues in society, especially when we are beginning to make the same mistakes that our ancestors made 100 years ago. TROTBOF is set in the Northwestern United States for this reason: to integrate the metaphor of the misunderstood and improperly maligned creature with the mistreatment of black Americans and other marginalized groups in a historically accurate setting. 5. If this film and others like it are not made, we will continue to see more films like Terrifier 2 being successful, not because they are innovative and extraordinary, but because that is what the film industry is providing viewers. That potential reality is more frightening to me than the scenes in Terrifier 2 itself. 6. Does the world love Goth heroines? Look no further than the popularity of Netflix’s Wednesday. The main character of TROTBOF, Erika Martin, is a Goth heroine; I believe the world will love her.

4. How would you describe this script in two words? Inspirational horror

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life? That would be my all-time favorite film: The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves, who also happens to be my favorite actor.

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay? I began working on TROTBOF on Halloween 2021, so including the tweaks I am currently making during the production of the animated film, I’ve been working on it for a year and two months.

7. How many stories have you written? I started writing stories in high school, but I wrote my first successful story for a Halloween party while at university in 1989. Since then, I’ve written over a dozen more. Most of them are short stories ranging from 500 to 25,000 words, but I’ve also written two novellas as well as my screenplay, The Revenge of the Bride of Frankenstein. I paused a new novella when I began TROTBOF. It’s a Gothic Horror Romance set in the 21st Century music scene called GRRLY METAL: The Meteoric Rise and Fall of the Kittens of Vengeance. Two of my short stories were published by the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, and I have several others outlined. I have enough material to keep me busy for the rest of my life.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?) For all that I listen to a wide range of music, I think my favorite song that has been a soundtrack to my life is Beethoven’s “Für Elise.” I transposed the main theme from piano to guitar years ago, and it will appear in the animated production of TROTBOF being played by Nikki Michaels.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay? The obstacles to completing this screenplay have been numerous and constant. First, I had to abbreviate the outline after I realized my initial concept would require a trilogy like LOTR. Then halfway through the first draft I had to start over as my research and recommendations from my creative consultant pointed to the necessity of relocating the story. This was a shift in both space and time, for the first script operated from a different premise: the idea that the events depicted in Mary Shelley’s iconic novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, were historical fact which she recorded shortly after their occurrence. That placed the timeline for my screenplay in 1839, completely severing it from the timeline created by the Frankenstein films created by Universal Pictures in the 1930s. However, the universe decided to grant me a blessing in the form of the perfect analog for the House of Frankenstein – right in my own neighborhood. Once I realized just how perfect a setting the Campbell House owned by the Spokane Museum of Arts and Culture would be, I immediately became of supporting member of the MAC and began shooting hundreds of reference photos which I then used in high-definition storyboard images used both for character creation and writing the screenplay itself. However, that’s just the beginning; once I had established the new story locale in a new era, the Roaring Twenties, I had to do a considerable amount of research into the history of my own city, and I was very quickly reminded of the presence of two unsavory elements of our society, past and present: racism and misogyny. I suddenly found myself reading documentation of the effects of segregation in early 20th century Spokane and magazines reflecting what was then a new concept: the liberated woman. This also meant the storyline intersected with World War I, which required additional research. Once I finished the second draft, I was confronted with three new obstacles: learning how to properly format a screenplay (this is my first), my inexperience in writing a script for actors vs a screenplay used by the director, and the recognition that despite my best efforts, my screenplay was still too long. That’s when the editing began. You’d think that would be enough, but there were two other obstacles: one, I was striving to make a deadline for submission, and two, I struggle constantly with fatigue caused by my medical condition and a high-stress day job in the financial industry. Despite all these barriers to success, I just barely met the deadline to submit my screenplay to the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. I was then bombarded with offers to submit to other festivals, creating a new drain on my time, but I’m glad I took the opportunity to submit to them too, because it provided a small sense of reward and greater perspective. As of today, TROTBOF has won 6 awards including best screenplay, placed as a finalist 5 times, and had one honorable mention. It’s also not been selected 5 times, including the rejection I received from the HPLFF, the festival for which it was originally written.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about? To be brief, I’ve acquired a wide range of skills over decades that have unexpectedly given me the opportunity to make a dream come true: to become a movie producer. I’m passionate about the entire process of making movies, and since I don’t have a ton of money and many decades of life ahead of me, I’ve decided to put myself through a filmmaking “boot camp” by learning from others while I’m doing it. I only have two hobbies: reading and watching movies, but when I’m doing those activities, they’re almost always related to my projects – and my art, writing, and musical skills are all tied in as well. It’s time for an age of Renaissance women, and I believe I am one. Beyond making movies and working in the financial industry as a supervisor, I am passionate about supporting children in the foster care system. A portion of the profits from the eventual release of TROTBOF will be given to the Spokane Angels, a non-profit organization that supports such children and their foster families. I would be lax if I didn’t also mention that I am a strong advocate of the implementation of DEI principles: diversity, equity, and inclusion. That passion is reflected in both my day job, working for a bank, and my creative work, including this screenplay.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site? My experience with FilmFreeway has been great overall. I’ve learned about new opportunities I hadn’t even thought about, gained a greater perspective of the huge number of film festivals in the world – not to mention the great hunger for new films, and I’ve encountered people with a vision and passion for what they do – like the organizers of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, the 13Horror.com Fest, and my new favorite, the Female Feedback Film Festival. I’ve had some less pleasant experiences, too, as I realized that there are some people on FilmFreeway that seem to be there more to exploit new screenwriters and indie filmmakers rather than supporting and promoting the artists’ work as part of their own festivals, but those have been minimal.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received? I was inspired to enter the FFFF competition simply because of the vision its organizers have for the FFFF itself and for the presence of women in the film industry. I would love to see a world in which equal opportunities exist for women in Hollywood and everywhere else, and I’m very proud to be a part of that vision coming to life. However, I hope that the FFFF is not phased out in 5 years or 10, or however long it takes, but rather is transformed into a new and higher form of itself when it’s reached its highest potential

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By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival www.wildsound.ca

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