The Bride of Frankenstein is a fictional character first introduced in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus and later in the 1935 film Bride of Frankenstein. In the film, the Bride is played by Elsa Lanchester. The character's design in the film features a conical hairdo with white lightning-trace streaks on each side, which has become an iconic symbol of both the character and the film.
In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, Victor Frankenstein is tempted by his monster's proposal to create a female creature so that the monster can have a wife: "'Shall each man,' cried he, 'find a wife for his bosom, and each beast have his mate, and I be alone?'" The monster promises that if Victor grants his request, he and his mate will vanish into the wilderness of South America, never to reappear. Fearing for his family, Victor reluctantly agrees and travels to the Orkney Islands to begin his work on the creature's mate. He is plagued by premonitions of what his work might wreak, particularly the idea that creating a bride for the monster might lead to the breeding of an entire race of creatures that could plague mankind. After seeing his first creation looking in the window, Frankenstein destroys the unfinished bride. The monster witnesses this and vows to be with Victor on his upcoming wedding night. True to his word, the monster murders Frankenstein's new wife, Elizabeth.
In Bride of Frankenstein, Henry Frankenstein's (Colin Clive) mentor Doctor Septimus Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) proposes to Henry that together they create a mate for his monster (Boris Karloff), with Henry creating the body and Pretorius supplying an artificially-grown brain. Henry initially balks at the idea, but Pretorius threatens to expose him to the authorities as the creator of the monster. Henry eventually agrees to help his mentor when the monster kidnaps Henry's wife Elizabeth (Valerie Hobson). Henry returns to his tower laboratory where in spite of himself, he grows excited by his work. After being assured of Elizabeth's safety, Henry completes the Bride's body. A storm rages as final preparations are made to bring the Bride to life. Her bandage-wrapped body is raised through the roof. Lightning strikes a kite sending electricity through the Bride. They remove her bandages and help her to stand. Pretorius then declares it "The Bride of Frankenstein!" The excited Monster sees his mate and reaches out to her. Upon seeing the monster, however, the Bride screams in horror. When the monster tries to touch her, the Bride screams again; heartbroken, the monster says, "She hate me. Like all the others." As Elizabeth races to Henry's side, the monster rampages through the laboratory and finds a lever that will destroy the castle. The monster tells Henry and Elizabeth to leave, but orders Pretorius and the Bride to stay, saying, "We belong dead." While Henry and Elizabeth flee, the monster sheds a tear as the Bride hisses, and he then pulls the lever, triggering the destruction of the laboratory and tower.
The following film, Son of Frankenstein, reveals that the monster survived the explosion, while Pretorius and the Bride presumably died.
In the Dark Horse "Universal's Monsters" novel The Bride Of Frankenstein: Pandora's Bride, Pretorius and the Bride survive the explosion. They escape to Germany where he teaches her to become her own woman.