Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster


Mary D. Fisher Theatre Tue, Sep 21 4:00 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Tue, Sep 21 7:00 PM
Film Info
Event Type:Documentary Feature
Release Year:2021
Run Time:90 minutes
Production Country:United Kingdom
Original Language:English
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Thomas Hamilton


Beginning just before his debut as Frankenstein’s creation, “Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster” compellingly explores the life and legacy of a cinema legend, presenting a perceptive history of the genre he personified.

His films were long derided as hokum and attacked by censors, but his phenomenal popularity and pervasive influence endures, inspiring some of our greatest filmmakers into the 21st Century – among them Guillermo Del Toro, Ron Perlman, Roger Corman and John Landis, all of whom and many more contribute their personal insights and anecdotes.

It’s often noted that in life Karloff was totally unlike his onscreen persona. Colleagues recall his professionalism, kindness and self-depreciating sense of humor.  But, while chronicling his career, “Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster” also examines the secretive side of Boris, areas he wouldn’t discuss even with close friends. And his deepest fear of all, the fear he might become obsolete.

When horror went out of fashion after World War 2, Karloff sought fresh pastures, reinventing himself as a “legitimate” actor on Broadway, radio and later TV. Appearing in two smash hits (“Peter Pan” and “The Lark”), as well as dozens of live television dramas and variety shows, it was Karloff’s most satisfying period artistically, ultimately earning him a Tony nomination for his performance in “The Lark”.

Drawing from dozens of interviews including Guillermo Del Toro, John Landis, Roger Corman, Sara Karloff, Peter Bogdanovich, Christopher Plummer, Stefanie Powers, Lee Grant, Sir Christopher Frayling, Kevin Brownlow — some of whom have never discussed their time with Boris — and never released audio of Karloff himself, “Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster” takes us to the heart of the man, with a gripping, intimate portrait of Karloff and the genre he helped define.