Frankenstein’s Monster Was Green and Had Bolts In His Neck myth

Was Frankenstein's monster green with bolts?

What Did Frankenstein’s Monster Look Like?

In chapter 5 of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the monster is described as having yellow skin. There is no mention of bolts in his neck in the book. In fact, Victor describes the monster as having been designed to have limbs “that were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! — Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness.”[1][2]

Where Does the Idea of Frankenstein’s Monster Being Green With Bolts in His Neck Come From?

The image of Frankenstein as green with bolts in his neck came into popular culture in Frankenstein (1931 – Boris Karloff).[3]

The 1931 Frankenstein trailer.

The 1910 Frankenstein silent film.

Previous versions like the first film adaptation (above) done by Edison Studios in 1910 showed a very different looking, and far less handsome, version of the monster than is portrayed in the book or later media.[4]

Earlier depictions of the monster commonly showed him as yellow as he is described in the book.

FACT: Frankenstein can be read as a political metaphor for the French Revolution. Mary Shelley’s parents and her husband were all political writers, her mother was Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of feminism.


  1. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus“. Retrieved Sept 28, 2015.
  2. Frankenstein Day: Five Myths About The ‘Frankenstein’ Monster”. Retrieved Sept 28, 2015.
  3. “Frankenstein”. Dir. James Whale. 1931. Film. Information found at “Frankenstein (1931 film)” Retrieved Sept 28, 2015.
  4. “Frankenstein”. Dir. J. Searle Dawley. 1910. Film. Information found at “Edison Studios” Retrieved Sept 28, 2015.

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Galen Trafford Doesn't beleive this myth.

I can actually tell you where the green skin came from. While filming “Frankenstein” (1931), the cinematographer required the monster’s skin to appear matte and pale, and the only makeup that had the desired reflective properties happened to be green. As the films was shot in black and white, this was deemed a non-issue, but none the less started the trend of portraying the monster as having green skin.

On a side note, the “bolts” are actually electrodes and also originated in the same film.