Monday, September 3, 2007

Heroes of Horror

Werewolf of London 1935 starred Henry Hull
The makeup by Jack Pierce also influenced the artist's later Chaney Wolf Man along with Michael Landon's version: I Was a Teenage Werewolf 1957.

Bela Lugosi shot to stardom in the title role of the 1931 film version of Bram Stoker's Dracula and set the standard for movie vampires. A successful stage actor in his native Hungary and in Germany, he emigrated to the United States in the 1920s and played various character roles until grabbing the lead in the stage production of Dracula in 1927. Lugosi's talent for playing a villain led to a career of playing monsters and mad scientists, and it's generally accepted that he made a lot of bad choices. Some of his more memorable movies include The Black Cat (1934), Ninotchka (1939, starring Greta Garbo), The Wolfman (1941) and Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). In 1955 Lugosi committed himself to an institution, admitting an addiction to methadone. In his last years his personal life and career were on the skids, but he still worked a little in television and low-budget films. He died while working on what has been called one of the worst movies ever made, Plan 9 From Outer Space (released in 1959).

Rondo Hatton


Ann B. Keller, Kodron Productions, Inc. said...

Excellent work on these portraits, Jim. Your use of light and shadow really brings these faces to life. You also have great detail. I can almost count the hairs on the 5 o'clock shadow!

The lighting from below makes the faces of Rondo Hatton seem even more sinister and zeroing in on Bela Lugosi's eyes is perfect. Those eyes held us all spellbound and even staring at your portrait makes me a little bit nervous. It's a shame that Lugosi's later career was not the stunning success it should have been. Nevertheless, his is a face we remember well to this day. In this, he has won.

Thanks for bringing these actors to life for us so brilliantly.

Ann B. Keller

Doc Ferus said...

The face of Rondo Hatton has been in my head for as long as I can remember.

While his light as a fright star shone only briefly, for me it shone as brightly as any in the genre.

Your illustrations of him are amazing in their depth and texture.

This true "Hero of Horror" will never be forgotten thanks to the many works his unique countenance has inspired. Doubtless chief among them, your own.