Welcome to Dark Universe

Five Reasons Why Great Makeup Matters In The Universal Monsters Universe

Lizzie Georgiou

As we continue March of Mummies 2017, it is obvious that makeup means evertyhing when it comes to not only The Mummy franchise but Universal monsters movies as a whole.

There’s no worse feeling as a movie fan than seeing special effects and makeup that are so bad, they ruin the whole effect of the movie.  Luckily for us monsters fans, Universal knows makeup matters and here are our five reasons why.


Phantom of the Opera

I.  It Plays An Essential Part In Making The Monsters Films What They Are

Makeup is an essential part of every monster and horror film.  It makes the film real and gives the audience the scare they expect.  The Universal Monsters franchise was groundbreaking at the time of its advent when it came to makeup and scare factor.  It brought the German Expressionist style to American cinema and eventually enhanced it when sound was put into movies.  It was dark, scary and most of all, felt real.

Jack Pierce and The Mummy

II.  Makeup Has A Legacy In Universal Studios

Lon Chaney, Sr. was known as “The Man of a Thousand Faces” because he did his own makeup and revolutionized the art.  He made it look so real, you would think he looked like The Phantom of the Opera in real life.  It scared the audience as a monster film should.  He set a precedent for all Universal Monsters films going forward.  Jack Pierce would take it a step further in 1931 when he turned Boris Karloff into the monster in Frankenstein and The Mummy in 1932, then Lon Chaney, Jr. into The Wolf Man in 1941.  Elizabeth “Lizzie” Yianni Georgiou has taken the inspiration of Pierce to 2017’s The Mummy starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella.


Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou at the 20th Annual Critics Choice Movie Awards

III.  Makeup Will Always Be Needed In Movies

With the advancement and easy availability of computers and CGI, movies have been taken to levels where anything is possible.  However, too much CGI can saturate a live-action movie.  This is where makeup comes in.  It compliments the CGI and protects the realness of the movie.  The right combination of CGI and makeup makes a movie visually successful.  As we have seen from the production and trailer of The Mummy, Sofia Boutella will look amazing on the big screen!

IV.  It Can Shape The Success of a Franchise

With the re-imagining of the Universal Monsters films, via Chris Morgan’s and Alex Kurtzman’s Universal Monsters Universe starting with The Mummy, success on every front is key starting with the production team then following through with the script, cast, crew, post-production and earnings.  Makeup and special effects are essential to the success of the rest of the movie and the new franchise going forward.  If The Mummy can (and probably will) have a successful run in theaters and beyond, fans will be flocking to see the rest of the upcoming films such as The Invisible Man and Van Helsing.

V.  It Ensures A Movie’s Lasting Legacy

Every Halloween or Comic Con, fans paint themselves to look like their favorite creatures whether they be the horror or sci-fi kind.  The classic Universal Monsters films endure the test of time for two reasons: 1) they were great films and 2) the look of the characters is memorable.  Jack Pierce’s work on the films, followed by Bud Westmore’s, are recognized and replicated everywhere from TV shows to merchandise to Halloween costumes.  Don’t be surprised we see a group of Ahmanets walking the neighborhood come Halloween 2017 or the next horror convention.


Sofia Boutella as The Mummy. Photo by Chiabella James.

This an exciting time for Universal Studios and the Universal Monsters franchise with The Mummy premiering on June 9th.  They have secured an astounding legacy of makeup artists and techniques which have continued to be used in the Universal films as well as film, television and other media inspired by the films.  It will be exciting to see how the makeup progress throughout the new Universal monsters Universe films and how fans will receive them.

(Joe Grodensky – @JoeGrodensky)


About the author

Joe Grodensky

Joe is a man of paradox. Joe is mysterious yet an open book. Joe is outgoing yet introverted. Joe is part wolf and man. Joe's favorite monster movie? Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992).

Be the first to comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.