Huge Noses And Elf Ears: 6 Examples Of Extreme Movie Makeup
Movie makeup has been an important part of cinema for as long as cinema has been around. But we're here to discuss only the most extreme uses of the technique: When it's used not to cover up blemishes or hide a black eye from a bad party the night before, but to completely transform the actor into someone (or something) completely different. These six examples of extreme movie makeup will provide a crash course in the art of transformation.
"The Phantom of the Opera" No discussion of extreme movie makeup would be complete without inclusion of Lon Chaney, probably the first actor to use makeup to transform himself so completely. Using his own makeup kit, he created dozens of famous characters, earning him the nickname "The Man of 1000 Faces." And this is probably his most famous face, the horrifyingly disfigured Erik, who haunts the Paris Opera House. The reveal of his face is one of the most famous shocks in movie history, and justifiably so.
"Frankenstein" Universal Studios was also famous for their fantastic makeup creations, and Boris Karloff's transformation into Frankenstein's monster is one of the best. The flat top, bolts out of the neck, sunken cheekbones, and deep, sorrowful eyes make up one of the most iconic faces in movies, imitated countless times over the years. And it all started with one great piece of makeup work.
"Mr. Sardonicus" William Castle's gothic horror film features a titular character with a facial disfigurement (and makeup job) to match any of the more famous Universal creations. The mouth of the evil Sardonicus is twisted into a permanent and maniacal grin, which looks equal parts horrifying and painful.
"Batman Returns" You could probably populate any number of lists of extreme movie makeup exclusively with characters from "Batman" movies, since the guy tends to run up against pretty weird-looking people. Probably the weirdest is Danny DeVito's Penguin, a hideously deformed from birth man who has flippers instead of hands and a strangely beak-like nose. And, as you might imagine, he has a personality to match his looks.
"The Nutty Professor" Eddie Murphy is a well-known admirer of performers like Lon Chaney who transform themselves through makeup. So he will often play a variety of different characters in his movies - the most famous use of this technique is in his comedy "The Nutty Professor." Eddie doesn't just play the main character, morbidly obese Sherman Klump, but his svelte and arrogant alter-ego Buddy Love (who happens to look just like Eddie Murphy). As if that weren't enough, through the magic of makeup and skillful filmmaking, Eddie plays most of the members of Sherman's family.
"J. Edgar" Clint Eastwood's recent biopic of FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover required some pretty intense makeup work. Not just to make Leonardo DiCaprio resemble Hoover, but to age him over a period of several decades. Some called the old man makeup unconvincing, but one would wonder what these people expect old man makeup to look like. The use of makeup on a variety of actors in "J. Edgar" is some of the best done in Hollywood yet.