March 22, 2013

Scary Monsters No. 85: Jack Pierce, Frankendesigner

Makeup legend Jack Pierce poses with some of his creations, including Monster and Bride, on this splendid wraparound cover for Scary Monsters Magazine by Terry Beatty.

In a busy field of horror film magazines, publisher/editor Dennis Druktenis’ Scary Monsters stands out as an engaging and uniquely fun title, a throwback to the “monsterfan” era down to its packaging, printed in black and white on cheap newsprint. Each hefty issue is crammed to the gills celebrating monster movies and the monster memories of Monster Kids. The eclectic offerings in the issue at hand include a meeting with the Black Lagoon’s Julie Adams, an article on the making of The Hideous Sun Demon, Charlton comics’ take on Reptilicus, and an entertaining look at mad scientist Boris Karloff’s pseudo-scientific wall scribblings from House of Frankenstein. And that’s not half of the content in this particular issue!

The cover feature is Larry (aka horror host Dr. Gangrene) Underwood’s defense of Jack Pierce as the true designer of the iconic movie Frankenstein Monster. In recent years, it’s been argued that others, and principally director James Whale, had considerable and even decisive influence on the character’s appearance. Underwood digs up and discusses a rich assortment of quotes pro and con. Underwood’s article is passionate and highly opinionated, leading to a perhaps foregone conclusion in Pierce’s favor, but the fun of the piece, and what makes it a great read, is that it is generous with quotes and references, allowing the reader to form his or her own conclusions. Another big plus is the complete text of a previously un-translated profile of Jack Pierce originally published in a Spanish-language newspaper.

Scary Monsters Magazine No. 85 is available directly from the publisher — come on, try a copy! — and Larry Underwood’s article, Jack Pierce, Frankendesigner is also available separately as an e-article for Kindle. 

Scary Monsters website.
Larry Underwood’s Dr. Gangrene blog


Kevin F said...

Definitely one of my favorite magazines. Its a heck of a lot of fun and I try to never miss an issue.

Anonymous said...

Talk to Emmy-winning makeup and special effects artist Craig Reardon about this; he corresponded with Pierce as a young man.
Hen Gates