Clancy Brown Says He’s Not a Big Fan of Prosthetics… For Personal Reasons

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Clancy Brown is mostly fond of his experience playing Frankenstein’s monster, Viktor, in The Bride. A film whose cult status, he says, couldn’t have been achieved if director Franc Roddam hadn’t made it “with his whole heart.” But becoming Mary Shelley’s classic creature wasn’t entirely painless for the upstart actor.

On the latest episode of Post Mortem with Mick Garris, Brown says that although The Bride’s make-up team did a great job, they were working during the early stages of prosthetics, and used a glue that had some nasty side effects. 

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“Instead of using Duo, which is a latex-based prosthetic glue that you use for surgical prosthetics, they used the European version,” he explains. “Apparently in the Duo version, they put an additive in that neutralizes the ammonia that they use to liquidate the raw latex so it doesn’t get hard. But [our glue] didn’t have that additive, so it was just latex and ammonia. The latex was fine, but the ammonia ate away my skin for a while.” 

To make matters worse, Brown didn’t feel comfortable speaking up as a young unknown. “Of course, it’s my second or third job. And I don’t say anything for the longest time until it gets too bad,” he recalls. “They put out a story that I ‘had a reaction to it’… but my reaction was the same as anybody would have when being exposed to ammonia [on] your body for many weeks.” The production even shut down temporarily until his skin grew back. 

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Brown says that eventually, make-up artists figured out how to use trichloroethane, “which is the prototype of what they use now for solvents that attach to your skin.” But his sticky situation during The Bride’s shoot made him wary of wearing too much make-up on future projects.

“As it turns out, it did not make me a fan of prosthetics,” Brown laughs. Thankfully, he agreed to another make-up job for his iconic turn as The Kurgan in Highlander. But he told the film’s crew he’d prefer not to do nearly as much as he’d done before. “They were very sympathetic to that,” he says. “We just did a head piece and that was about it.” 

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