Film Review – Boris Karloff: The Man Behind The Monster

Boris Karloff

Along with his great rival Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff was one of the most recognisable faces in Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s. Iconic is an understatement. After initially struggling to make his mark in the business, his breakthrough came in James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931). He went on to become a familiar face in genre cinema, starring in the likes of The Mummy, The Bride of Frankenstein and The Black Cat.

Whilst Karloff was undoubtedly typecast, there were so many more strings to his bow. Initially a stage performer, the man born William Henry Pratt went on to star in over 150 films. Occasionally, he was given the chance to show precisely how good an actor he was.  In Thomas Hamilton’s new documentary, Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster, we’re afforded a glimpse into what made the man tick.

While it doesn’t re-write the wheel, Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster is an entertaining ride through a fascinating life and career. Including interviews with the likes of John Landis, Guillermo del Toro and Joe Dante, as well as his daughter Sara, we’re taking on journey from aspiring and frustrated young actor to one of the most famous screen faces. The influence he had on future generations is perhaps obvious, but Hamilton’s film teases out much more.

Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster premieres on Shudder on 27 January.

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