50 Greatest Movie Make-Up Effects

Braveheart (1995)

The Make-Up: Mel Gibson’s William Wallace and his Scottish warriors rock up for battle, faces daubed in blue woad.

Created By: Lois Burwell, a favourite of Tom Cruise and Michael Caine, amongst others.

Cleverest Detail: The fact that, although the film is set in the 13th century, the Scots hadn’t worn woad as war paint for approximately a millennium. It’s used in the film purely for dramatic effect.

The Incredible Melting Man (1977)

The Make-Up: It does what it says on the tin, as Alex Rebar’s astronaut has an allergic reaction to space radiation.

Created By: Soon-to-become-legendary make-up prodigy, Rick Baker.

Cleverest Detail: The melting skin? Syrup and paint, which had to be re-applied every take.

Hostel (2005)

The Make-Up: In a customised human slaughterhouse in Eastern Europe, unwitting backpackers are sliced and diced in all manner of squirm-inducing ways.

Created By: Howard Berger, who won an Oscar the same year as Hostel for The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe . Suffice to say, Hostel wasn’t nominated.

Cleverest Detail: As Kana’s (Jennifer Lim) face is blow-torched, one eye comes loose and dangles from its socket.

Citizen Kane (1941)

The Make-Up: With the film recounted in flashback, virtually the entire cast is required to don old-age make-up at a time when such effects were relatively rare.

Created By: Maurice Seiderman, who went uncredited.

Cleverest Detail: Welles actually underwent extensive make-up, including “temporary” facelifts, to play the young Kane, in order to achieve an even greater contrast with the older character.

A Dirty Shame (2004)

The Make-Up: Selma Blair undergoes a temporary boob job as she is fitted with a pair of prosthetic breasts to play super-endowed stripper.

Created By: Tony Gardner, who also provided Gwyneth Paltrow’s fat suit in Shallow Hal .

Cleverest Detail: Blair wore a different pair of breasts every day because the process of removing them broke the latex.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

The Make-Up: Johnny Depp wants to get close and personal… but those razor-sharp hands are permanently getting in the way.

Created By: Stan Winston, who brought the mechanical know-how gleaned on The Terminator to devise plausible prosthetic digits.

Cleverest Detail: Giving Depp a ghostly pallor to make the scars on his face stand out more.

City Of The Living Dead (1980)

The Make-Up: All hell breaks loose when brain-eating zombies rise from the grave, but the most horrendous attack is inflicted by one man – via a power drill to the head – upon another.

Created By: Franco Rufini, a replacement for Lucio Fulci’s usual make-up man Giannetto De Rossi.

Cleverest Detail: Sometimes the simplest effects – a prosthetic temple filled with fake blood – are the most effective.

La Vie En Rose (2007)

The Make-Up: Marion Cotillard portrays iconic French singer Edith Piaf through adulthood, all the way to her prematurely hunched, hairless old age.

Created By: Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald, who won the 2007 Oscar for Best Make-Up.

Cleverest Detail: Director Olivier Dahan mixed up the schedule so that the “old” scenes were spread across the shoot, to help Cotillard find continuity of character.

Tootsie (1983)

The Make-Up: Actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) can’t get a break, so he drags up – with surprisingly effective results – to become soap starlet Dorothy Michaels.

Created By: Allen Weisinger, who enlisted the help of George Masters, a specialist in women’s make-up whose past clients had included Marilyn Monroe.

Cleverest Detail: The custom-fitted prosthetics bosom.

Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949)

The Make-Up: Alec Guinness, in his mid-thirties, plays all eight members of the D’Ascoyne family (including several old duffers and one lady) with a little help from the make-up department.

Created By: Harry Frampton (father of 1970s rock star Peter Frampton) and Ernest Taylor.

Cleverest Detail: The then-revolutionary scene where six Guinnesses appear on-screen together – a testament to the quality of the make-up but a nightmare to shoot.

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