From the Boris Karloff character in "Frankenstein" to the mutant insect in "The Fly," here's a Halloween assortment to keep you up at night.
The Monster in 'Frankenstein" (1931)
Mary Shelly wrote the novel in 1816 when she was just 18, but the look of this monster—flat head, sagging eyelids, bolts in the neck—was created by the renowned makeup artist Jack P. Pierce. He worked at Universal Studios in the 1930s and '40s, a golden age for monster movies.
The Alien in "Alien" (1979)
The shape-shifting extraterrestrial creature in this sci-fi horror movie was made with a wide variety of materials, including the vertebrae of snakes, Rolls-Royce cooling tubes and part of a human skull. The tendons in its jaw were actually shredded condoms.
Freddy Krueger, "Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984)
Director Wes Craven originally wanted this dream demon to look even more horrible, with pus pouring out of sores and teeth exposed through his cheek, but makeup artist David B. Miller persuaded him that these over-the-top touches wouldn't look realistic.
Count Dracula, "Dracula" (1931)
Bela Lugosi appeared in more than 100 movies, but he'll always be remembered as the archetypal vampire. When he died in 1956, he was buried in a Dracula cape.
The Terminator (1984)
Despite sci-fi trappings like time travel and artificial intelligence, "The Terminator" was written as a horror movie about the ultimate killing machine. Not-so-fun fact: Producers considered O.J. Simpson for the title role. They even featured him in a mock-up movie poster but decided he was too nice to be believable as a killer and cast Arnold Schwarzenegger instead.
King Kong (1933)
Producer-director Merian C. Cooper, who'd been a bomber pilot during World War I, came up with the original idea, though he wasn't credited. The movie grew out of a single image envisioned by Cooper—a colossal ape on top of the Empire State Building, swatting away airplanes.
The Werewolf, "An American Werewolf in London" (1981)
Although it's a comedy, the terrifying werewolf transformation in this movie helped it win the first-ever Oscar for Best Makeup.
The Mummy (1932)
A year after "Frankenstein," Jack P. Pierce and Boris Karloff worked together again. For key scenes in this horror film about an Egyptian mummy brought back to life, Pierce spent eight hours—from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.—applying makeup and wrapping Karloff in linen bandages. It took another two hours, beginning at 2 a.m., for the makeup to be removed.
The Blob (1958)
An amorphous organism that crash-lands inside a meteorite and devours everything in its path, the original Blob was actually silicone mixed with red dye. You can still see it each summer at the Blobfest in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, where some of this low-budget early Steve McQueen movie was shot.
Pinhead, "Hellraiser" (1987)
Leader of the mutilated beings known as Cenobites, Pinhead and his gang appeared in scenes so gruesome that the British horror movie initially received an X rating.
The Gill-man, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" (1953)
The Creature suit was made of molded sponge rubber with fish-like scales, crab-claw hands and feet and moving gills. It weighed almost 50 pounds. Fun fact: Swedish director Ingmar Bergman watched this movie every year as part of his birthday celebration.
The Great White Shark in "Jaws" (1975)
The costly mechanical sharks didn't work so well, but director Steven Spielberg came to view that as "a godsend." What seemed at first like a technical disaster forced him to hold back on the shark footage and to become, as he put it, "more like Alfred Hitchcock."
Brundlefly, "The Fly" (1986)
A critic called the 1958 original "one of the most revolting science-horror films ever perpetrated." Yet that version seems pretty innocuous next to David Cronenberg's remake, which shows the transformation of Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) into a fly hybrid in seven increasingly hideous stages. The movie won the Oscar for Best Makeup.
The sound effects for this seminal Japanese monster movie involved musical instruments—a contrabass (rubbed with a resin-covered glove) for Godzilla's roar and a kettle drum (beaten with a knotted rope) for the monster's footsteps. As for the Godzilla costume, it was so hot and suffocating that the actor inside it once passed out.
Pale Male, "Pan's Labyrinth" (2006)
This one made Stephen King squirm in his seat, according to director Guillermo del Toro, who sat next to him at a screening. The Mexican filmmaker called King's reaction to his movie's monster "the best thing that ever happened to me in my life."
Chucky, "Child's Play" (1988)
The look of this killer doll is based on Hasbro's "My Buddy" with some Raggedy Andy styling touches. It was designed by Kevin Yagher, the makeup artist for Freddy Krueger.
The Wolf Man (1941)
Yet another iconic creation of Jack P. Pierce. The legendary makeup artist gave actor Lon Chaney Jr. a rubber nose and covered his face, arms and legs with yak hair, after singing it with a curling iron.
The Thing (1982)
Critics panned John Carpenter's remake of 1951's "The Thing From Another World" when it first hit theaters. Now it's regarded as a classic—as is the extraterrestrial parasite that wreaks havoc in an Antarctic research station. Fun fact: British researchers in Antarctica watch "The Thing" each year as part of their mid-winter celebration.
The Id Monster, "Forbidden Planet" (1956)
Robby the Robot got top billing, but the Id Monster is equally memorable, thanks to animation by Joshua Meador, an artist on loan from Disney. The movie inspired two 1960s TV series: "Lost in Space" and "Star Trek."
The Beast With Five Fingers (1946)
Is the murderous severed hand in this horror-mystery classic real or imaginary? Either way, it's safe to say that often the scariest monsters are in your head.
Fresh perspectives on aging in films that are genuinely moving or funny—and often both
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The Backwoods Barbie who became a country-pop icon
Major stars whose performances landed on the cutting room floor
Long-running shows that went out with a bang
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