On the occasion of the release of Stuart Beattie's I, Frankenstein, USA Today corralled a few horror movie writers to discuss the legacy of Mary Shelley's signature creation on film. The results are here, and they suggest that Dr. Victor Frankenstein's monster has proven a more vexing problem for filmmakers than, say, Dracula, who has inspired plenty of terrific films (Vampyr, Nosferatu, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Trouble Every Day to name a few). I can well remember a high school class trip to see Kenneth Branagh's overripe, gothic Mary Shelley's Frankenstein that left our group of high school sophomores totally perplexed--what was this sweaty and swooning thing up there on the screen? And why did it seem to bear so little resemblance to the book we were reading in class?

Judging from all extant materials, I, Frankenstein, which puts the immortal monster (played here by Aaron Eckhart) in the midst of a war over the fate of humanity (ho, hum), isn't going to be the movie that redeems one of the great science-horror tales on-screen. Given that reviews are just trickling out this morning, its distributor likely didn't press screen in advance, so must feel the same way.

Godfrey Reggio's Visitors, a Frankenstein's monster of a different sort, also hits theaters today, after having its New York premiere last weekend as part of First Look. Using a limited amount of static black and white imagery, Reggio's latest examines our attraction to/reliance on technology and how this relationship has affected and ultimately mutated the condition we call "the human"--not terribly different from what Shelley was probing back in the early 19th Century. Whatever you may think of Reggio's brand of visceral, poetic cinema, Visitors is certainly something to see when projected on the big screen.

[Full disclosure: I recently worked for the company that distributes Visitors.]