So I thought I would start this feature with some monster royalty and take a look at the hulking man made from other men, Frankenstein’s Monster! Universal had two flagship horror franchises in 1931, Dracula, and coming in closely behind Frankenstein. This movie shocked and terrified moviegoers of 1931 and is one of the best performances as a monster I have ever seen.
The makeup effects were created by makeup artist Jack Pierce and showed a masterful use of logic in creating this humanoid beast. With the enlarged and stitched cranium the and the bolts in the neck this creation showed clear thoughts and idea on how someone might create a man from pieces of other men. The face however also reflects the naivety and innocence of the monster, he is a child in a mans body and the face reflects that.
The man behind that makeup was Boris Karloff in his first major role since joining the movie industry 80 films ago! so thanks to his striking features and height Boris Karloff was transformed into the creature that would lead his 81st film and launch a huge career in the movie industry. Boris gives a fantastic performance as the monster and brings the role to life. It’s nit just in the facial performance that he shines but the way he makes the monster move jerkily and stiff it just fills this creature with so much life and energy, which is particularly impressive given how slow the creature moves. You can really believe that this creature is the victim of the movie that all of this has been done to him. Karloff went on to portray the monster in two more film Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939).
Boris Karloff is not the only man to don the mantle of Frankenstein’s Monster in 1957 Christopher Lee became the monster in Curse of Frankenstein. Curse of Frankenstein was Hammer Film Productions (a British studio) take on the story of the monster and his creator. In this version of the story, Doctor and his monster were portrayed as rather more villainous than before. There is no sympathy for Lee’s portrayal of the angry destructive monster as he radiates sheer menace. Lee’s portrayal of this version of the monster is excelllent and is a refreshing different take on the monster, It would have been dull to see the same story re done (which unfortuantley is the case with today’s remakes.
Okay, so we have looked into the world of Frankenstein’s monster and the men behind the makeup. I hope you have enjoyed it, please give me suggestions for monsters you would like to see in the comments or on Twitter @MCMoovies and join me next time for more Monsters at the Movies!