Thursday, July 18, 2013

SEEING THROUGH THE INVISIBLE MAN


In numerous classic Universal horror films, shrouding the production under a veil of secrecy added to the mystique and built anticipation before the film's release. This is done a little less frequently today, but other marketing techniques have taken its place, such as the pre-release viral hype of movies like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and SNAKES ON A PLANE.

The April 1934 issue of MODERN MECHANIX "unofficially" reveals the secret techniques that were used in the filming of THE INVISIBLE MAN, released the previous November. The one-page feature describes the use of filters, film stains and optical printers that made the invisible man seem to "disappear" on screen. It was a fabulous effect that thrilled audiences around the world.

Conventional, or to use the more current term "practical" makeup may have also had a role in the invisible man's on-screen disappearing act. The article speculates that either blue or orange-red makeup would have been applied to actor Claude Rains, and by the use of filters, these colors would have been visible or invisible on film. If makeup was applied, then it would have most likely been done so by the uncredited head of Universal's makeup department, a certain Frankenstein monster maker by the name of Jack Pierce.


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