Several comments posted here, on Facebook and points between have noted how Primo Carnera’s Frankenstein makeup from 1957, revealed here last week, was very similar to that worn by Robert De Niro in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein of 1994.
True enough. Bald and stitched cranium, sutured cheeks, upper lip and chin, and a damaged left eye. Very similar indeed, but Primo and Bobby were neither the first nor last of their monstrous kind.
Lon Chaney’s Monster for TV’s Tales of Tomorrow in 1952 heralded Carnera’s version with a baldhead and face-splitting stitch work. Springing 60 years ahead, the effect was revisited and worn by Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch, sharing the part, in the celebrated British National Theater version of 2011. Call it same-school monster makeup.
Somewhat related, without facial distress, chrome-dome Monsters are known to sport ‘round the head, dotted line stitching indicating radical brain surgery. The two finest examples are — going from the ridiculous to the sublime — Cal Bolder in Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966) and Freddie Jones’s heart wrenching Creature in Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969).
These Frankenstein Monsters are of a family. When opting for a baldhead look, similarities are perhaps inevitable. There are only so many ways to stitch a baseball.