50 Greatest Movie Make-Up Effects

Planet Of The Apes (1968)

The Make-Up: The pioneering prosthetics that created a plausible future society of simian overlords without looking like a bunch of actors in monkey masks.

Created By: John Chambers, who won an honorary Oscar for his efforts (these being the days before a dedicated make-up category).

Cleverest Detail: Chambers painstakingly researched his effects by watching the apes in Los Angeles Zoo, and developed a new type of foam rubber that could capture the monkey's elasticity of facial expression.

Planet Of The Apes (2001)

The Make-Up: A great example of the changing face of movie make-up; whatever its other flaws, the make-up in Tim Burton's "reimagining" display a depth of characterisation impossible even for the original's pioneering effects.

Created By: Rick Baker, by now an ape specialist after working on the 1976 King Kong , Greystoke and Gorillas In The Mist .

Cleverest Detail: With Burton insisting that there would be no CGI, Baker's team provided around 500 ape designs.

Monster (2003)

The Make-Up: To look at, Charlize Theron isn't exactly a dead ringer for serial killer Aileen Wuornos. But, after she's been transformed in make-up, you wouldn't know that it's Theron.

Created By: Make-up artist Toni G, supported by prosthetic dental technician Art Sakamoto to recreate Wuornos' distinctive teeth.

Cleverest Detail: Gelatin was applied to Theron's eyelids to cause them to drop, perfecting the permanently tired look of the character.

The Elephant Man (1980)

The Make-Up: John Hurt's startling appearance as real-life 'Elephant Man' John Merrick famously didn't win an Oscar, forcing the creation of the Best Make-Up category the following year.

Created By: Veteran make-up supervisor Wally Schneiderman, whose prolific career ranged from Rollerball to Labyrinth .

Cleverest Detail: Hurt's make-up was based on a real-life cast made of Merrick's head after his death.

The Phantom Of The Opera (1925)

The Make-Up: The defining role of the chameleonic Lon Chaney, "the man with a thousand faces," saw the actor become unrecognisable as the titular hero of Gaston Leroux's novel.

Created By: Famously, the effects were created by Lon Chaney himself.

Cleverest Detail: The Phantom's skull-like appearance was achieved by Chaney stretching a strip of translucent fish skin between his bald cap and his nostrils.

The Thing (1982)

The Make-Up: John Carpenter's gruesome remake of the sci-fi classic sees a shape-shifting alien morph into all manner of crazy moves, perhaps none more so than the moment Norris' head separates from his body and sprouts spider's legs.

Created By: Rob Bottin, who famously worked seven day weeks for over a year to achieve all of the film's effects.

Cleverest Detail: Carpenter's brief to Bottin - "okay kid, go nuts!" That he did.

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008)

The Make-Up: Brad Pitt is born old and dies a baby and an ingenious blend of prosthetics and CGI makes every moment disconcertingly believable.

Created By: Greg Cannom spent 18 months on the film and was rewarded with his third Oscar (after Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mrs Doubtfire ) for his pains.

Cleverest Detail: Pitt's make-up as the child Benjamin is based on progeria, a real-life disease that makes its young sufferers appear aged and which was the inspiration for the Francis Ford Coppola / Robin Williams film Jack .

The Fly (1986)

The Make-Up: Various states of decay, as Jeff Goldblum's Seth Brundle is genetically spliced with a house fly and sees his bits start to drop off.

Created By: Chris Walas, fresh off creating the on-screen appearance of Joe Dante's Gremlins .

Cleverest Detail: Walas worked backwards from the ultimate Brundlefly prop so that he could figuring out what each stage of the creature's evolution would look like to reach the final stage.

Frankenstein (1931)

The Make-Up: In the book, Frankenstein's Monster was described as having "watery, glowing eyes" and "flowing black lips." The definitive on-screen version transformed Boris Karloff into a flat-headed ghoul.

Created By: Jack Pierce, although the bigger influence is Karloff himself - Universal recast the role in its advertising because the actor's family owns the rights to his face.

Cleverest Detail: Bolts through the neck, an instantly recognisable and imitable means of pretending you've been stitched together from corpses.

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

The Make-Up: The still dazzling transformation sequence, in which full moon brings out the beast in David Naughton's hapless U.S. backpacker as bones protrude from his back and his face elongates into werewolf-shaped dimensions

Created By: Rick Baker, who became the first ever winner of the Oscar for Outstanding Achievement in Make-Up.

Cleverest Detail: The fact that it takes place not in the shadows of horror movies gone by but a brightly lit lounge, all the better to see you with, my dear.