monster makeups: The Reptile

The Reptile

Before she became Sevalan in Blake’s Seven, Jacqueline Pearce, a Hammer regular at the time, played Anna Franklyn who turned into The Reptile.

The makeup

The makeup was absolutely awful: the facial appliance looks like a pâpier-maché carnival mask with badly-painted ping-pong balls for eyes and – in some of the publicity stills but not the movie – a forked tongue. This was not one of Roy Ashton’s better efforts though apparently he had more pre-production time than normal with Hammer.

Roy is quoted on the makeup in Greasepaint and Gore which confirmed my suspicions on the mask’s construction:

I made the basic mask from laminated paper to be built around the head of the artist … To suggest the scales I took a discarded Boa Constrictor’s skin and made a female cast of this in plaster and upon curing it gave me a perfect skin material with all the marvellous patterning intact … The makeup for The Reptile took, I should say, one hour to apply from start to finish. I made the eye pieces with lenses built in. They were separate so that I could fit them just before each take so there wasn’t too much discomfort for the artist while she was waiting about.

Jacqueline was interviewed about the makeup some years later:

It took a long time … I remember mostly how restricting the makeup for The Reptile was to work in … It was not fun. It was very painful and claustrophobic.