Pierce initially stalled delivery of a screen test for three weeks so he could perfect his work. Once approved for shooting, every morning the actor would sit from 4 am till 8 am while Pierce began layering cotton and collodion solution onto his face to produce the operational scarring. Mortician’s wax fashioned the eyelids under which Karloff’s wounded, soulful eyes peer. Special molar fixtures were designed to reshape his jawline, and by sucking in his cheeks, cadaverousness was augmented by shading them. A blue-green greasepaint gave off a corpse-like greyness to the skin on monochrome film – and the finishing touch was the positioning of those iconic bolts to the sides of his neck as lightning-electricity inlet points.
For his lower-half, steel struts were attached to his legs enabling the stiff, tottering gait and asphalt-spreader boots were worn that not only increased his height and ungainly stomp but allowed him to lean forward at an unnatural angle.
Whale paid as much attention to selling the creation scene to audiences as he did to every other aspect of the film, understanding that without it, vital credibility would affect their willing suspension of disbelief and investment in the characters.