Tony Bertone and Tom Willett acting in Hollywood Screams, a 2006 comedy short made in Hollywood.
Some people are good at conveying horror or mystery. Some are not good at all. Most of the good actors who do not do well with monster fare or creepy scenes, have the good sense to make other kinds of movies. There are those wonderful actors who could never do a leading man or leading lady part in a film but who can be so menacing or who make such good victims they find themselves in classic scream shocker films. Then there are the actors or actresses who are so bad they help us to laugh at some tasteless killing machine constructed from parts found in a graveyard. Let us salute the great and maybe late thespians who made us cringe. Many bad actors are remembered so fondly by a cult following, their likenesses on collectible posters and glossy pictures are still traded at prices higher than their big name contemporaries. Fan club members bid very highly for autographed pictures of some very creepy characters. If you check the lines waiting at autograph signing shows, the numbers of people wanting an autograph of a monster always exceeds those wanting autographs of once pretty faces.
Frankenstein's monster was a role Boris Karloff totally understood. He made the character somewhat vulnerable and maybe someone or something with a slight bit of emotional feeling. He could have just let the character be a robot that gets into trouble. Boris had the right kind of face for monster movies. He had the heavy eyebrows and brooding drooping eyelids set into a face that looked like a stone carving from an ancient culture... in a kind of cute way.
The writing and the direction and camera work all helped but Boris had to emote beneath lots of makeup. He was not allowed to use his marvelous speaking voice for his first great movie monster appearance. When the voice came along later in other movies that sneaked upon us in a dark theater, Boris had the right sound. Imagine Don Knotts voice being the sound of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Most famous impressionists did the Karloff voice because it was so right for drama with a twinge of impending fear. Boris, like so many great actors of the Golden Age, had a great voice, a great face and an actor's stance.
Hungarian accent and all, Bela appeared onscreen to be the Count whom we knew as Dracula. No monster, just a nice gentleman who was well mannered but who occasionally would find it necessary to turn into a bat and fly through your conveniently opened window to bite you on the neck. Bela actually played the character only twice but he often acted in scenes where he was basically the Dracula character with a different name but with the same need for blood.
Halloween must have been a fun holiday for Jamie Lee Curtis when she was growing up. She could dress up in her dad's old dresses from Some Like It Hot and perhaps rush to the Bate's Motel where her mom would be taking a shower to get ready for the big night. Yes, that could have been fun. Jamie Lee as a victim of a relentless killer in Halloween showed her great ability to break away from Hollywood's habit of typecasting young ladies as eye candy for the manly actors. She certainly was pretty enough to have been just a leading lady but her ability to act the part of someone being stalked made her special to the horror fans. She became the anti-monster. She also was in The Fog, Terror Train and Prom Night.
Invisible Man's voice? Yes that was Vincent Price in 1948's Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein appearing, or not appearing, as the voice of The Invisible Man. He had already acted as The Invisible Man in the 1940 flick, Return of The Invisible Man. What other horror actor can show a list of credits which includes films like The Ten Commandments and Laura as well as spine tinglers like House of Wax, The Fly, The Fall of The House of Usher, The Pit and The Pendulum and The Last Man on Earth. Then he topped off his career by frightening the panel of celebs on Hollywood Squares.
Tor became famous as a wrestler, The Swedish Angel. He is best remembered as the sci-fi actor who appeared in Plan 9 From Outer Space and Beast of Yucca Flats. His acting was not Shakespearian. He was gifted with the right look for his movies and the ability to appear to be a radioactive monster or a space scientist or policeman or strong man. He definitely has a cult following.
Hitchcock chose wisely when he cast young Tony Perkins as Norman Bates. Best known for this role, even though he was great in other films, Tony Perkins was at the top of his game when Psycho was released. The Psycho 2 and Psycho 3 movies are actually very good but the original had the value of Jamie Lee Curtis' mom being a victim in a surprise scene early in the movie. Tony was able to be a handsome young troubled lad who could not possibly be a bad boy. The role of Norman Bates would not have been nearly as good if some tough guy had played it. Imagine John Wayne or Sylvester Stallone or Chuck Norris doing the character. Tony Perkins was a slasher of a different kind. He was a cut above the rest.
Frankenstein's lovely bride, Elsa Lanchester. The Bride of Frankenstein is actually an excellent old black and white movie. Elsa Lanchester would do many other kinds of roles but this was her very best in my opinion. She would later appear in Willard.
Legendary actor who started the movie monster franchise. He was The Phantom of the Opera in theaters without sound. He was The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He was the star of dozens of weird character driven black and white silent films which paved the way for others, including his son, Lon, JR. There was even a movie made about his life starring James Cagney. It was called Man of a Thousand Faces.
Truly a big movie star. Richard is best known for his work as Jaws in the James Bond movies. For his cult following however, it is his role in Eegah which brings fans to their feet. He was the cave man/killer/monster who fights to the death with Arch Hall, Jr.