Bringing the past to life with colour

Boris Karloff – Frankenstein’s Monster


Boris Karloff relaxing on the set of one of his Frankenstein films, probably “Son of Frankenstein” in 1939.

In Mary Shelley’s original book, “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus“, the monster didn’t have green skin, nor bolts in his neck. They were the invention of make-up artist Jack Pierce, in the first Karloff Frankenstein film in 1931. The appearance is now lodged in the public imagination, but the monster wasn’t intended by Jack Pierce to appear as green. That colour was chosen to make the skin seem pale in the black and white film, to contrast with the faces of the other actors.


Original B&W photo.


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