The work that goes into making a scary movie monster has changed considerably over the past 10 years. No matter the era, there’s one that sticks in the audience’s minds and lives forever. And whether they are working with greasepaint or CGI, special effects teams always have a challenge before them. I mean, who knew that Boris Karloff was less than six feet tall? Frankenstein’s monster was certainly huge!
Jack Pierce is something of a legend in monster movie lore. The make-up artist was responsible for fixing the faces of the Mummy and Wolf Man, but one of his earliest hits was the 1931 horror flick Frankenstein. Pierce made Boris Karloff into the mutant by smearing green greasepaint all over his face. Karloff’s fingernails were painted black, and his eyelids were stiffened. Pierce gave him a flattop head with a combination of cotton and gum. Then the costume department got to work making the 5’11” Karloff into a looming terror. Karloff was given platform boots, each one weighing about 13 pounds, as well as a jacket that was too short and a doubled set of pants. The camera crew went the extra mile by filming Karloff at a low angle, so he looked all the more intimidating.
Read about nine other movie monsters and what went into making them, plus video clips of those movies you know so well, at mental_floss.