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REVIEW: Boris Karloff - More Than A Monster

Posted by Mark Cantrell on September 11, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Boris wasn't a monster,

he was a really nice guy!

As Frankenstein’s Monster, Boris Karloff has become a cultural icon encapsulating the ‘golden era’ of movie horror, writes Mark Cantrell on Cheshire Today. Beneath the make-up and the macabre roles, however, was a thoroughly nice chap who earned the affection and respect of his peers, as this detailed but sometimes heavy-going biography reveals

 

FOR horror aficionados, Boris Karloff needs no introductions; he is the face of movie horror’s ‘golden age’, although admittedly that face is usually smothered in the prosthetics that transformed him into the Monster that made his name.

 

Frankenstein (1931) propelled the then jobbing film actor onto the world stage of international stardom, but by the time this ‘big break’ landed him on his lead-weighted feet, he already had a solid 20-year career as an actor behind him. Ironically, the role of the Monster was never expected to be anything more than a ‘throwaway’ part, but Karloff’s acting shone through to create an iconic screen presence. A star was born; the product of a long apprenticeship one might say.

 

Karloff’s career spanned almost 50 years and over 150 movies, ranging from the silent picture era through to the days of the ‘Swinging Sixties’. His roles in ‘Bride of Frankenstein’, ‘The Mummy’, ‘The Black Cat’, and many others – most now considered classics of the genre – ensured his reputation as ‘The King of Horror’.

 

There was more – much more – to Karloff than this iconic role, however, as Stephen Jacobs’ biography makes clear in compelling detail.

 

The biography is a solid tome; a heavy read and not just in terms of the book’s physical weight, but the sheer wealth of information it assembles. The book is without doubt a labour of love and can be very heavy-going given the amount of material packed into its 568 pages, but it offers a fascinating and almost encyclopaedic insight into Karloff the man as much as Karloff the master of the macabre...

 

Read the rest of this review over at Cheshire Today.

 

Cheshire Today, 11 September 2012

Categories: JOURNALISM, REVIEWS, BOOKS

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