50 Greatest Movie Make-Up Effects

The Exorcist (1973)

The Make-Up: A demon makes a convincing appearance in suburban America, as Linda Blair's Regan is transformed into a feral, head-rolling monster.

Created By: A dream team of make-up guru Dick Smith and his then assistant, Rick Baker.

Cleverest Detail: The rig used to create the vomiting effect - a fake mouth mask for Linda Blair's stunt double, made from plexiglass that camouflaged the nozzle.

Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

The Make-Up: Paola (Olga Karlatos) chooses the wrong door to hide behind, as a zombie drags her until her eye is impaled on a wood splinter.

Created By: Lucio Fulci's regular make-up technician, Giannetto De Rossi, who made the 'eyeball slice' something of a trademark.

Cleverest Detail: The splinter stays in. Painful.

Scanners (1981)

The Make-Up: There's the exploding head, sure. But the film's ending, featuring a telekinetic duel between rival scanners Stephen Lack and Michael Ironside, features a greater range of icky facial injuries.

Created By: Dick Smith, given the grand credit of Special Makeup Effects Consultant.

Cleverest Detail: The bulging, pulsating veins as a symbol of Ironside's scanner taking things way too far.

Mrs Doubtfire (1993)

The Make-Up: Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) drags up as Scottish nanny Mrs Doubtfire, a disguise so convincing the actor reportedly walked around in real-life incognito.

Created By: Greg Cannom and his team at Cannom Creations, who duly won the Oscar for Best Make-Up.

Cleverest Detail: Although in the film Daniel Hillard is shown using a single mask, Robin Williams' actual make-up consists of eight pieces.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

The Make-Up: Jim Carrey's rubber features aren't quite enough to transform him into Dr Seuss' classic creation, so it was into the make-up chair for three hours a day.

Created By: Rick Baker, making a rare sojourn into family-friendly entertainment and getting an Oscar for his troubles.

Cleverest Detail: Baker devised a latex skin so tight that Carrey had a Navy SEAL teach him torture-resistance techniques to get through the shoot.

Robocop (1987)

The Make-Up: The villainous Emil (Paul McCrane) is melted by a vat of toxic waste and then messily hit by a car.

Created By: Horror FX wizard Rob Bottin, who also designed the Robocop suit; Bottin's work here is a direct homage to Rick Baker's innovative melting effects in The Incredible Melting Man .

Cleverest Detail: Bottin's instructions to his team was: "his skin melts off his bones like marshmallow sauce."

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

The Make-Up: One of horror's greatest bogeymen - Robert Englund's Freddy Krueger - gains additional impact from the awful facial disfigurement he incurred after being burnt alive.

Created By: David B. Miller, who researched real-life burns victims for authenticity.

Cleverest Detail: In fact, Miller toned down Craven's original concepts for the character's appearance, which included part of Krueger's skull showing through his head. He's all the scarier for being - just about - in the realms of plausibility.

Society (1989)

The Make-Up: The upper classes of Beverley Hills reveal themselves to be shape-shifting aliens with a predilection for morphing their flesh together in hideous orgies of 'shunting.'

Created By: The aptly named Screaming Mad George.

Cleverest Detail: The face emerging from an anus.

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1939)

The Make-Up: A-list legend Charles Laughton decided to one-up Lon Chaney's take on Victor Hugo's tragic hero, Quasimodo, by undergoing extensive facial reconstruction in the make-up artist's chair.

Created By: RKO make-up boss Mel Berns was assisted by Laughton's favoured artist, Perc Westmore - at least until Laughton and Westmore fell out over Quasimodo's look.

Cleverest Detail: The RKO PR department banned any publicity shots of Laughton in full make-up, so as to ensure audiences would be shocked.

The Dark Knight (2008)

The Make-Up: Move over, Jack Nicholson. Heath Ledger's look for the Joker replaced simplistic clownface with a Francis Bacon-inspired smear of paint.

Created By: Prosthetics supervisor Conor O'Sullivan, who devised a new technology based on stamped silicone that was faster to apply and felt lighter on Ledger's face.

Cleverest Detail: The 'Chelsea' smile, based on the real-life scars of a delivery man that O'Sullivan met.