Now underway at the charming Balboa Theatre: a week long celebration of the life of Jack Pierce. Pierce (1889-1968) was a make-up artist extraordinaire during Hollywood's Golden Age. Though he worked within a variety of genres—Pierce was the make-up artist for TV's classic sitcom Mr. Ed—
Pierce is best remembered for his groundbreaking work on the Universal Monster movies of the 1930s. Legendary creatures like Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolfman and The Mummy are all the handiwork of Jack Pierce.
Balboa's Jack Pierce tribute coincides not only with the commencement of this year's Halloween season, but with the DVD release of Jack Pierce: The Man Who Made the Monsters,,
the extraordinary new documentary by Bay Area resident Strephon Taylor. The 82 minute film screens at the Balboa at 7pm every night through Thursday October 8. Taylor's film will be sandwiched in between big screen showings of classic chillers like Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman
(1943), House of Dracula
(1945) and James Whale's extraordinarily gay-centric masterpiece he Bride of Frankenstein
Jack Pierce: The Man Who Made the Monsters
is an extraordinary tale in its own right. Taylor follows Pierce from his youth in Greece to his teen years right here in San Francisco—where he survived the Great Quake of 1906—to Hollywood, where his amazing talent was discovered. The documentary is strong on film clips and stills, and is partially told in Pierce's own voice. Taylor found an audio interview that Pierce granted to KHJ TV in Los Angeles in 1962. As a series of stills illustrates his words, its Pierce himself who explains the process by which he designed the terrifying face of the Frankenstein Monster.
The film follows Pierce through his twenty year tenure at Universal to his days as a freelancer, working in B movies during the 1950s. No matter if he was working on a major studio production, a piece of drive-in shlock or a TV sitcom, Pierce was the consummate artist. Jack Pierce: The Man Who Made the Monsters
is an important work, required viewing for classic horror buffs and film historians of all stripes.
The Balboa Theater is at 38th Avenue and Balboa Avenue in the Outer Richmond. The week's full schedule can be seen at the Balboa's website: www.cinemasf.com/balboa
Welcome, Great Pumpkins. It's October, and Halloween will soon be upon us. All Hallow's Eve is the High Holy Day for ghouls and goblins, and there's plenty of fun things happening around town to satisfy your bloodthirsty appetite.