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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 3- The Mummy (1932)

Hey everyone. We're back today with what I consider to be the third of the original monster trilogy by Universal Studios, 1932's The Mummy.

Fresh off the success of Frankenstein, Boris Karloff was cast for the role as the mummy, Imhotep, who was a priest at the temple of Karnak in Ancient Egypt. In the beginning, the mummy was recently discovered by a couple of British explorers. After a box containing the Scroll of Thoth, the mythical scroll that can bring the dead to life, Imhotep is revived and takes the scroll.

The story follows up ten years later, with Imhotep showing up at a 1932 excavation as a modern Egyptologist, Ardath Bey. Ardath Bey reveals the location of the tomb of the princess Ankh-es-en-amon, who is the reason Imhotep was cursed in the first place after trying to resurrect the princess 3700 years prior. It is later revealed that Imhotep and the princess were lovers and that in the modern time, Imhotep's goal is to use the Scroll of Thoth to resurrect the princess so they can spend eternity together. The way Imhotep tries to go about this is by killing the reincarnation of the princess, Helen Grosvenor (played by Zita Johann).

What ensues is a series of killings by Imhotep to obtain the Scroll and get rid of anyone that would stand in the way of his plan. The main person that Imhotep wishes to destroy is Helen's budding love interest Frank Whemple (played by David Manners). Whemple, however, is being protected by an amulet given to him by Dr. Muller, played by Edward Van Sloan (the third time in as many days that he's been mentioned), and expert of the Ancient Egyptian occult. In the end, as in almost all movies, the villain is destroyed, and the protagonists live happily ever after.

At the end of the day, this movie didn't really seem like that much of a horror movie to me. It was mostly about a "villain" who would stop at nothing to achieve his goal of resurrecting his long lost love. Some things to note in this movie, though, is again, the make-up work of Jack Pierce, which is incredible on Karloff both wrapped up as the mummy and unwrapped as Ardath Bey. Also, the flashbacks of Imhotep's past, including his misdeeds, his punishment, and the aftermath are quite impressive for the time. These scenes even include a man being impaled, a first for horror movies.

All in all, this movie is an absolute classic and what's even more interesting is the fact that there are no direct sequels to this film as there are with the other Universal horror movies, such as Frankenstein and Dracula. And Karloff's performance in this movie is top notch. Anyone who's a fan of the 1999 "remake" of this movie starring Brenden Fraser and Rachel Weisz should pick this one up and see where the story originally came from. Bottom line... great movie. Enjoy

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