Archive for the Planet of the Apes Category

Monstrous Question: BEST HORROR MOVIE MAKE-UP (Part 4 of 4)

Posted in 2012, Frankenstein Movies, Horror Movie Makeup, LL Soares Reviews, Monsters, Monstrous Question, Planet of the Apes, Roger Corman with tags , , , , , , on April 20, 2012 by knifefighter

CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT:  MONSTROUS QUESTION
Question by Michael Arruda
Featuring Michael Arruda,Dan Keohane, Mark Onspaugh and L.L. Soares
Part 4 of 4

Today’s MONSTROUS QUESTION:  What are your picks for the most memorable make-up jobs in a horror/monster movie?

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L.L. SOARES responds:

It’s funny what kind of things leave their imprint on you when you’re growing up. It’s not that you can’t tell the difference between quality work and dreck when you’re young, but you are much more accepting of the bad stuff, because you can at least see the imagination that went behind it.

Growing up, Jack Pierce was one of my heroes. As an avid fan of old horror movies, especially the Universal classics, it was hard not to appreciate the fine work of the master. This was the man who single-handedly stamped the image of the FRANKENSTEIN Monster on our brains (in Mary Shelley’s book, he is quite different, but the 1931 film is where we get our visual for him). Pierce also did the make-up for DRACULA (1931), turning Bela Lugosi into the ultimate creature of the night,  THE MUMMY  – both Boris Karloff’s Imhotep (1932) and Kharis, played by Tom Tyler in THE MUMMY’S HAND (1940) and the great Lon Chaney, Jr. in the rest of the Kharis film series from 1942 – 1944.

Jack Pierce's FRANKENSTEIN Monster is the gold standard for horror movie makeup.

Pierce was also a pioneer in the makeup of classic werewolves, having given us Henry Hull’s memorable beast in the WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935), as well as the iconic Larry Talbot’s alter ego in THE WOLF MAN (1941). He worked right up until his final years in the1960s.

The Westmore name was even more synonymous with make-up in Hollywood’s golden days, especially brothers  Bud and Wally Westmore. Usually, if there was some golden-age horror make-up that wasn’t by Pierce, chances are it was by one of the Westmores. But they didn’t just do horror movies. In fact, the Westmore name can be found in the credits of literally hundreds of movies of the 30s, 40s and 50s. Bud did the monster makeup for ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948), while Wally Westmore cut his teeth doing the makeup for movies like the Frederic March version of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1931) and the  breath-taking classic,  ISLAND OF LOST SOULS (1932).

The strange creatures from THE MOLE PEOPLE, created by Bud Westmore.

There are lots of iconic images throughout the history of horror that are not as well known, but which are just as fresh in my mind after so many years of movie watching. Fascinating make-up creations like THE MOLE PEOPLE (1956) with makeup by Bud Westmore; the Morlocks in George Pal’s THE TIME MACHINE  from 1960 (makeup by William Tuttle ), the creatures from the Hammer films, especially THE REPTILE (1966), whose image (created by the great Roy Ashton) still stands out for me. In the science fiction cult classic THIS ISLAND EARTH, we were introduced to the Metaluna Mutant (created again by Bud Westmore), a throwaway character who was a sight to behold – I was always disappointed that he was never used again in other movies.

The creepy Morlocks from the original version of THE TIME MACHINE (1960).

Hammer great Roy Ashton's still scary makeup for THE REPTILE.

You might have seen the Metaluna Mutant on MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 when they laughed at the movie THIS ISLAND EARTH. But he's still cool as hell.

In the 60s and 70s, I (along with Michael Arruda and Mark Onspaugh) was captivated by the PLANET OF THE APES movies and their (at the time) cutting edge make-up effects, the work of the great John Chambers.

Their heirs have names like Dick Smith, Rick Baker and Tom Savini. All masters of their craft, who have impressed us with their creations over the years.

As for bad makeup, there is no shortage of that in the movies. Standouts include the wonderfully awful movie ZAAT from 1971 (also known as THE BLOOD WATERS OF DR. Z) – creature by Lee James O’Donnell; ZONTAR THE THING FROM VENUS by the legendarily horrible director Larry Buchanan; and just about anything Roger Corman did in 1950s, especially the laughably terrible monster from CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA (1961), designed by Beach Dickerson.

Run for your life! It's the monster known as ZAAT!

If this doesn't terrify you, nothing will. The monster from CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA!

© Copyright 2012 by L.L. Soares
“Monstrous Question” created by Michael Arruda

—END Part 4—

Monstrous Question: BEST HORROR MOVIE MAKE-UP (Part 3 of 4)

Posted in 2012, Frankenstein Movies, Horror Movie Makeup, Mark Onspaugh Columns, Monsters, Monstrous Question, Planet of the Apes with tags , , , , , , on April 14, 2012 by knifefighter

CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT:  MONSTROUS QUESTION
Question by Michael Arruda
Featuring Michael Arruda,Dan Keohane, Mark Onspaugh and L.L. Soares
Part 3 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.

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MARK ONSPAUGH responds:

Best makeup job of all time is Dick Smith’s awesome aging of Dustin Hoffman (then 33) to an 121-year old man in LITTLE BIG MAN (1970)—that old age makeup is still the gold standard. Smith did a huge number of appliances, including delicate EYELID appliances to complete the illusion. Unlike a monster, you can’t cover up a screw-up in a human face with an “I meant to do that” excuse… Just amazing.

Dick Smith aged Dustin Hoffman prematurely for LITTLE BIG MAN.

As for monsters, Jack Pierce’s concept and execution for the Frankenstein Monster in FRANKENSTEIN (1931) is a makeup that created an icon – other interpretations have come and gone (Hammer films, etc.), but the 1931 monster is probably the best known monster of all time—squared-off head, neck bolts—what kid hasn’t drawn him? He’s been in everything from comic books and bubblegum cards to movies, cartoons and plastic model kits. In the day, we called him “Frankenstein” or “Frankie”—to think that look was achieved in the days before foam rubber and silicone appliances is just breathtaking.

All the Universal monsters still rock—and the Creature from CREATURE OF THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) is another awesome design, though it’s more of a mask than an appliance makeup.

For puppets, Giger’s Xenomorph from ALIEN (1979) was something fresh, disturbing and different—how many bad movies ripped off that design in the 80’s? Too many to count. It was something out of nightmare, yet its disturbing anatomy made sense—a true landmark.

Lastly, though crude in some ways, I remember being riveted by the ape makeups in PLANET OF THE APES (1968)—these were a revelation and helped sell a fantastic-beyond-belief presence —no crude mask (at least for the principle actors), these designs allowed for emotion and “soulful” beasts. The product of John Chambers (who trained Tom Burman), the apes were followed up later by the animal men of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (1977)—forget the Brando version —the makeups in the earlier one are sublime.

John Chambers created the amazing look of the Apes from the PLANET OF THE APES movies of the 60s and 70s.

My picks for the most over-the-top embarrassingly campy make-up job include ROBOT MONSTER from 1953 (gorilla suit, space helmet), ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES from 1959, ZONTAR THE THING FROM VENUS (1966), IT CHALLENGED THE WORLD (pickle monster!) and ATTACK OF THE THE (sic) EYE CREATURES (1965) all had horrible monsters – the Eye Creatures had visible zippers and some actors had black body suits and a mask—they tried in vain to hide behind bushes—no sale.

The bone-chilling horror that is ROBOT MONSTER!

One weird, disturbing makeup that actually made my roommate and I laugh was the movie FEAR NO EVIL (1981), a sort of CARRIE meets THE OMEN piece of crap-pie that featured the Son of Lucifer as a loser high school nerd… Until his powers start to kick in…At one point, he gives the abusive jock bully huge breasts, and the bully stabs himself to death in the shower… I imagine some people needed therapy after that scene.

The spooky Son of Lucifer himself from FEAR NO EVIL.

My biggest disappointment(s), I think, were in SWAMP THING (1982) —they should have taken a buff dude and just glued roots and such to him and painted him so he’d look like the Bernie Wrightson creation from the comics – instead, they went with a full rubber suit, which was cumbersome and made Swampy look like he had been patronizing a bayou Krispy Kreme Donuts every stinkin’ day… And the Arcane Monster from that film is just ridiculously bad—not scary, not awesome, just silly.

His secret is out. Is SWAMP THING addicted to Krispy Kreme?

Another makeup that was both bad and cool is the puppet heads for BEAST WITHIN (1982) —my first wife turned away in disgust, but I was delighted as the kid’s head inflated to the size of a basketball – it’s crude and laughable, yet oddly compelling… I think I have to go rent that.

© Copyright 2012 by Mark Onspaugh
“Monstrous Question” created by Michael Arruda

—END Part 3—-

Monstrous Question: BEST HORROR MOVIE MAKE-UP (Part 1 of 4)

Posted in 2012, Christopher Lee films, Frankenstein Movies, Hammer Films, Horror Movie Makeup, Michael Arruda Reviews, Monsters, Monstrous Question, Planet of the Apes with tags , , , , , on April 6, 2012 by knifefighter

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:

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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.

Jack Pierce did the iconic makeup for 1931's FRANKENSTEIN.

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.

Christopher Lee as the Prince of Darkness in THE HORROR OF DRACULA (makeup by Phil Leaky).

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.

A possible misstep from the great Roy Ashton from THE GORGON.

© Copyright 2012 by Michael Arruda

—END Part 1—