Saturday, October 20, 2012
Making Monsters #19: The Mummy
As with Frankenstein, Karloff's makeup was created by Jack Pierce, who used Seti I's mummy as a reference for Imhotep. Pierce used collodion and cotton to create the weathered, preserved look of Imhotep's skin, and the mummy's bandages were created by soaking strips of linen with acid and burning them in an oven. Karloff's makeup took eight hours to apply and another two hours to remove, meaning the actor actually shot those scenes from the evening well into the night. It was, needless to say, a very unpleasant experience for Karloff, but the final result is equally impressive. While Karloff only actually wears the full mummy makeup in a few scenes, the look of Imphotep, coupled with Karloff's performance, made for a character that defined the look of the mummy in films in a way that hasn't been surpassed in 80 years.