Depending on one’s Jungian state of mind, the name “Frankenstein” conjures an image of either the scary Boris Karloff or the hilarious Peter Boyle. FRAIDY CATS, SS Wilson’s retelling of the Frankenstein story, is firmly in the second camp. The tongue-in-cheek narration is presented as the “true” story of Victor Frankenstein and his monster, not the ruminations of a novelist. The story revolves around two anthropomorphic alley cats (a title that they detest), Rolf and Herman. Their decision to leave the hamlet of Dunkelhaven leads them to the hilltop lair of Dr. Frankenstein, an inept but rich Medical School dropout.
The mayhem attributed to the monster is shown to be the overblown imagination of the humans involved. The strange doings in the lab, however, are mostly the actions of the two cats who entered the laboratory on a quest to steal Dr. Frankenstein’s pocket watch. In this inverted world seen through the two feline’s eyes, animals are able to communicate with each other quite well but human speech is unintelligible and human actions are less so. At the best of times, humans are confusing; when they reanimate the dead or cause a village to riot, they are completely absurd to the cats. Mr. Wilson adds his own characters to the story, including two burglars, Eckhard and Acker, who stalk the two cats through town and drive the plot to its conclusion. Probably the most interesting twist on the story is the appearance of is Ygor, the doctor’s assistant who is ultimately blamed for the cat’s mayhem and Frankenstein’s perfidy.
Despite the skewed point of view of the two feline protagonists, FRAIDY CATS is a faithful recounting of the Frankenstein story with “explanations” of what really happened and why. This gives the narrative the veneer of seriousness in the Boris Karloff rendering but becomes, rather quickly, a comedy worthy of Mel Brooks himself.
Reviewed by Ed Bennett for IndieReader.