Jack Pierce: The Man Behind The Monsters
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JACK PIERCE - THE MAN BEHIND THE MONSTERS chronicles the career exploits of Universal's classic monster creator, Jack Pierce, who was with the studio during their horror heyday of 1928-1947. After freelancing in Hollywood's earliest days as an actor, stuntman and assistant director, Pierce flourished in makeup in the 1910s and 1920s, first making himself into any variety of movie extras called for on fledgling studio lots. Then, from 1930-1947, Pierce created some of cinema history's most distinguishable icons of fright, including Frankenstein's Monster, The Mummy, The Bride of Frankenstein, Ygor, The Wolf Man, and The Phantom of the Opera among his many classic creations. Contained in this unique publication are detailed text and photos from every significant film of Pierce's career, spanning the mid-1910s to the mid-1960s.
head of production at the studio on the occasion of his 21st birthday, Junior Laemmle — as he was called by the Universal regulars — soon made Jack Pierce, age 39, Universal’s department head of makeup. For Pierce, this title was only half of the opportunity he was given; upon the success of The Man Who Laughs Junior announced his decision to make movies out of the classic horror novels and Junior gave Pierce free reign to apply his skills to the development of characters for these projects.
on the body had to be put on. Then I had to seal them with tape so that they wouldn’t unravel. Then after that, I had to put the burned bandages on. After that, I put the clay on. When he gets out of the sarcophagus, he starts to walk, [so I created the character so that] the bandages would break and the dust will fall off exactly as a mummy that’s been buried for 3500 years. It was an hour and a half to take it off.” Though Im-Ho-Tep was only on screen for a few brief moments at the outset of
Phantom of the Opera and the numerous monster sequels of the late 1930s and early 1940s. She mysteriously drowned in a swimming pool at her home shortly after leaving Universal with Pierce and John P. Fulton in the spring of 1947. However, her legacy as one of the top fashion and specialty costume designers of the studio era remains intact and warrants further study by fans of the genre. the post-laemmle 1930s In 1936, Carl Laemmle Senior and Junior put their final Universal pictures into
nose]. There you either put on a rubber nose or model the nose every day, which would have taken too long.” The idea of Jack Pierce re-creating a wolf character from scratch every day of principal photography may seem daunting, but — as with the Frankenstein Monster and the Mummy before — Pierce prided himself on doing things from the bottom up with each new makeup application. When Lon Chaney, Jr. was cast as the title character in George Waggner’s film, Pierce resurrected the conception of a
least partial appliances on The Wolf Man and the Mummy sequels), but in the late 1940s and early 1950s that statement did not serve him well. Pierce’s methods were seen as archaic in the era of George Bau’s foam latex formula and techniques. And despite Pierce’s indisputable talents, his age and high standards were likely seen as a hindrance rather than an advantage. Thus, Jack Pierce, creator of the classic monsters of cinema, was relegated to work as a freelancer on often substandard material,