Monstrous Question: BEST HORROR MOVIE MAKE-UP (Part 1 of 4)
CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT: MONSTROUS QUESTION
Question by Michael Arruda
Featuring Michael Arruda, Dan Keohane, Mark Onspaugh and L.L. Soares
Part 1 of 4
Today’s MONSTROUS QUESTION: What are your picks for the most memorable makeup jobs in a horror/monster movie?
Our panel was asked to consider the following questions:
–What’s your pick for the best makeup job, that movie monster whose look is the best you’ve ever seen, perhaps your favorite.
–What’s your pick for the most over-the-top embarrassingly campy makeup job? That monster you can’t help but laugh at?
–And last, simply the worst makeup job, meaning the most disappointing, that time when you looked at the monster and thought, that’s supposed to be scary? That is the lamest looking monster I’ve ever seen! The one that is so bad there’s nothing funny about it.
Our panel responds:
Up first, it’s MICHAEL ARRUDA:
When I think of monster makeup, I can’t help but think of the classic monster movies from yesteryear. They’ve always been my favorites and still are today, so most of my choices come from the era of classic horror.
I’m also a big fan of FRANKENSTEIN movies, and a lot of my picks are from FRANKENSTEIN films.
For example, two of my favorites are obvious choices, Boris Karloff as the Monster in FRANKENSTEIN (1931), makeup by Jack Pierce, and Christopher Lee as the Creature in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957), makeup by Phil Leaky.
Then there’s Karloff again, as Im-Ho-Tep THE MUMMY (1932), makeup by Jack Pierce.
I love Lon Chaney Sr. as THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925), makeup by Lon Chaney Sr.
The most underrated for me is Christopher Lee in HORROR OF DRACULA (1958), makeup by Phil Leaky. There’s something very natural and frightening about Lee’s look as Dracula in this movie. Later on in the Hammer Dracula sequels, he would be made up more heavily, with his flesh looking paler, almost white, and often he’d be photographed with green light aimed at him, and he’d have deep red bloodshot eyes. But a lot of these effects came off as over-the-top. There’s none of this present in HORROR OF DRACULA. When I think of the most frightening Dracula ever, I think of Lee as Dracula in HORROR OF DRACULA, and a lot of this is because of the way he looked. Very scary.
Speaking of scary, I think the scariest makeup job ever is Linda Blair in THE EXORCIST (1973), make-up by Dick Smith.
But my favorite monster movie makeup probably belongs to Lon Chaney Jr. as THE WOLF MAN, and of Chaney’s many performances in this classic role, my favorite makeup job on Chaney as the Wolf Man is in FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1943), makeup by Jack Pierce.
And my favorite of all time? It’s not from a classic horror movie, but from a science fiction movie, and that would be PLANET OF THE APES (1968), makeup by John Chambers and a bunch of other people. I’m still wowed and impressed by the ape makeup in that movie, as well as in the entire series.
My choice for the best of the campy make-up jobs would be the monster in I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN (1957) makeup by Phillip Scheer.
The worst ever? The Frankenstein monster in DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN (1971), makeup by Gary Kent. It’s the ugliest Frankenstein monster ever, and sadly, the most laughable.
And my choice for the most disappointing make-up job belongs to Hammer’s THE GORGON (1964), makeup by the usually reliable Roy Ashton. It’s a really cool movie, and stars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and it’s directed by Terence Fisher, but when you finally see the Gorgon at the end, it’s horribly fake looking Couldn’t they have found someone who didn’t mind having real snakes around her head, instead of the fak- looking rubber snakes which didn’t even move? One of the few times Hammer embarrassed themselves in terms of the monsters they created.
© Copyright 2012 by Michael Arruda
—END Part 1—