Co-writer John L. Balderston originally created the screenplay as a satire, but while some satirical elements remain, much of the movie is in the same tradition as its predecessor.
The film opens with a discussion between Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Mary Shelley. When Byron complains about the ending of her original novel (making reference to the movie of 1931), Mary Shelley continues the tale. The Monster, we discover, was not killed in the fire at the mill that ended the first movie; he survived, and continued to wreak havoc among the villagers. A blind man befriends him and teaches him the rudiments of language. He is captured by local peasants, however, and taken into custody.
The evil Doctor Pretorius, whose own experiments with creating life have produced a collection of six-inch people in glass jars, persuades Henry Frankenstein to collaborate in the creation of a mate for the Monster. In a scene strongly reminiscent of the creation scene in the 1931 movie, Frankenstein and Pretorius bring the Bride to life; when she sees the Monster, however, she spurns him, and he destroys the castle and its laboratory. As with its precursor, Universal edited the film at the last minute to give it a happy conclusion in which Frankenstein and Elizabeth escape.
The Bride was the first of Universal's films in which the Monster speaks -- a decision that Karloff regretted, feeling the muteness lent the Creature dignity.
Universal produced a sequel, The Son of Frankenstein, which appeared in 1939.