Monday, October 1, 2012


(Click to Enlarge any of these Images)

Every year about this time, exactly this time in fact, I continue with my participation in the COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN!
It’s an informal ring of blogs that have banded together to celebrate the awe and wonder of Hallow’s Eve, that great tribute to the dark side of life--that wonderful way to look at that time of year which is equal parts life and death.
Beginnings and endings.
Which, in a roundabout way, could be a tribute to... story.

This year I’ll be doing a few different things in my personal countdown.
And I’ve come to realize as I’ve been preparing for it, that my plans aren’t very unique.  The folks who participate in this Countdown have been doing fine work
and sometimes we tend to think alike.

(Click to Enlarge)

From me this year, there will be a daily dose of Frankenstein, gobs of golden age horror comic covers, a touch of Mars Attacks, a piece of pulp, some Scooby Doo,
a little Looney Tunes a handful of seasonal art by myself
and a horde of Halloween goodies!

I thought a countdown of Frankenstein Monsters would be a powerful and interesting subject for each night (and it has been), but I had no idea it had already been tackled by more than a few.

Nevertheless, I plan to continue with that idea throughout the month.
Pointing out versions and adaptations of the FRANKENSTEIN story in various mediums and putting my own spin on each one.

I came to realize in attempting this that there are TONS of variations on Mary Shelley’s tragedy.  It left me with plenty of room to choose from,
in fact it made my choosing the hardest part of the plan.

(Click to Enlarge)

So, let’s get started with the first of our monsters of Frankenstein--BORIS KARLOFF in the make-up of Jack P. Pierce for Universal Studios!

His monster is the definitive one.
The one that has far outshined even the original creation of Shelley.
When nearly anyone thinks of Frankenstein (the name of the Doctor who created the Monster, not the actual creation),
they think of Karloff’s Universal Monster.

It’s appearance is so distinctive, so unique as to demand a second look.
He stands six and a half feet tall with green scarred up skin, a flat top head,
sunken eyes, bolted neck, and tight fitting jacket.
He appears the part of a desicated corpse-come-to-life.
And yet, far too well dressed for a monster shindig.

(Click to Enlarge)

Universal Studios was quick to copyright the look of their Monster.  And it has proven one of the smartest things they could’ve done, for there have been countless copies (more than a few of which will appear later this month in this very blog).

There is a superb feature on how Universal has held sway over the look of Frankenstein’s Monster for all these years here:

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The look of Boris in the makeup caused those making the film to be concerned that the seven year old actress playing Maria, the girl who is thrown in the lake by the creature, would be too afraid of Karloff when it came time for her scene.

So as the cast assembled to travel to the location, they were to introduce her to Karloff tentatively.  Marilyn Harris, the young actress, is said to have ran from her car directly up to Karloff’s Monster and took his hand.
She then asked to drive to the location with him.  Karloff responded,
“Would you, darling?”, in his usual voice.
Monster and victim rode to the shoot together.

(Click to Frankenstein Image)

In all American prints, the scene where the Monster throws the girl into the water was cut before he even reaches her due to censors concerns for the girl’s violent end.  Strangely, this left it up to the viewer’s imagination to fill in the blank for what could have happend to the little girl (and one could imagine many more terrible things than what actually occurred in that scene).
Thankfully the footage was restored on DVD.

(Click to Frankenstein-ify)

Five Frankenstein Fun Facts:
  1. Karloff’s boots each weighed 13 pounds.
  2. At the climax of the film, the Monster carries Dr. Frankenstein up the mountainside and through the mill.  At James Whale’s insistence Boris actually carried Colin Clive, which took several days to shoot.  He badly injured his back and had back problems for the rest of his life.
  3. Bela Lugosi was originally tapped for the role of Dr. Frankenstein and the Monster after that.  He rejected the role as not being one worthy of his ability.  Lugosi had also insisted on creating his own makeup for the Monster, but his design was rejected (Lugosi’s look for the Monster is said to have resembled The Golem).
  4. John Carradine also turned down the role of Frankenstein’s creation.
  5. Bette Davis was considered for the role of Elizabeth.

(Click to Frankensteinify)

Several sites are to be cited for assistance in this article:

And now for the finale for tonight's installment of MONSTER-MONTH...
the disembodied head of a Farrah Fawcett doll:



halloween spirit said...

Excellent post!! (And there's no such thing as too much of The Monster) :O)

Gary Lee said...

Tis true, thanks for the comment, btw!