Britain didn’t make many horror films until the 1950s. All our horror stars were over in Hollywood churning out the classics for Universal Pictures. Here are some more of the talent behind Universal Monsters ….
Elsa Lanchester (1902-1986) was born in Lewisham, London, England.
What was she in? The most iconic woman in all-time horror history, Elsa Lanchester was the Bride of the Frankenstein with all his glorious frizzy hair and body-covering bandages. Her career was long and varied but this title role is what has made her immortal.
Why should I applaud her? While most woman in horror are used as window-dressing for the male actors to act around, Lanchester held her own and added depth with her hissing and monstrous performance.
How many claps? Huge round of applause for literally the original first lady of horror!
Sir Basil Rathbone (1892-1967) was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to English parents.
What was he in? Baz is most famous for starring as Sherlock Holmes throughout the 1930s and 1940s, but he also took the title role as The Son of Frankenstein and the evil Richard – Duke of Gloucester – in Tower of London.
Why should I applaud him? Rathbone was equally good at playing heroes as he was as villains (though he pretty “owned” the character of aristocratic bastard during his career!)
How many claps? Mord (Boris Karloff) says to Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Rathbone) in Tower of London: “You’re more than a king, more than a man. You’re a god to me!” Let’s leave it at that.
Charles D. Hall
Charles D. Hall (1888–1970) was born in Norwich, England.
What was he in? Nothing but his set designs defined the look and feel of Universal.
Why should I applaud him? When you think of Frankenstein looking up on an lightning storm and seeing the amazing array of weird electrical equipment, you have Charles D. Hall to thank for all that.
How many claps? Huge thunder claps until your hands go sore!
Boris Karloff (1887-1969) was born William Henry Pratt in Dulwich, London.
What was he in? Basically any Universal Horror Film worth mentioning – starting with Frankenstein (1931) and on through the 1930s and 40s.
Why should I applaud him? The reason there are Universal Horror Films is because there lived a man named William Henry Pratt, aka Boris Karloff. Others were involved but he sold the tickets.
How many claps? Start clapping now and we’ll get back to you in a year or two to ask you to stop. That’s how many claps this man deserves!
George Zucco (1886-1960) was born in Manchester, England.
What was he in? Born to a Greek father and a English mother, Zucco often played the foreign, sophisticated villain in a range of Universal Horrors , most notably the Mummy series in the 1940s.
Why should I applaud him? He was quoted as describing himself as “Hollywood’s unhappiest actor because I am always being cast a blood-letting, law-breaking evil old man.” It’s not cool that he was unhappy but being a blood-letting, law-breaking evil old man is pretty cool to us.
How many claps? A big “mummy’s” hand of applause for this suave character actor!
You can read part one of Brits Who Made Universal Horror here.