Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon here, back to review another of the Universal creature features. This time I am reviewing The Mummy from 1932. This is the second Universal movie to star Boris Karloff as an undead creature.
This is a movie that is almost ninety years old but I will still give the warning that spoilers will follow below. Don’t let your bandages unwrap over it.
By this time, Universal was building a reputation as masters of early film horror. In fact, there is a lot of overlap in the actors in all the Universal monster movies because of how the studio and film contracts worked at the time.
As far as The Mummy goes, there are a lot of issues with this film. For starters, the film has a pretty cavalier attitude about plundering Egypt for ancient artifacts in the name of, “science”. That’s pretty much how the attitude was in those days so it is not surprising but that doesn’t make it right. Secondly, most of the Egyptians in this movie are played by British or American actors. Let’s just say that the 1930’s was not the best era for representation in films. Whether we like it or not, that is how things were back then. Since this is the case, I am going to review the movie based on it’s plot and not it’s shortcomings here but we would be foolish to think this was a perfect film.
Boris Karloff gets a second turn as an undead creature in this film. He plays the menacing, yet soft spoken, mummy raised from the dead, Imhotep. In 1922 an expedition digs him up along with a box containing a scroll that has a warning against opening it. Of course, the archeologists immediately open it and ignore the warning because… plot. Ten years later, another expedition goes to the same area and a man who looks suspiciously like Imhotep leads them to a new find.
Imhotep is just looking to raise his great love from the dead and, you know, live happily ever after. Unfortunately to do that, he has to hypnotize and kill a woman named Helen Grosvener who seems to be a reincarnation of Imhotep’s love. The heroes have to stop that from happening. I won’t go into too much more detail other than that but I will say that the mummy has some serious thought control powers and has magic on his side so he isn’t easy to defeat.
If you have not seen this movie you should, even if it is just to watch Karloff’s performance. As always he has the most watchable film presence in anything he appears in. Because of this The Mummy has endured for decades and is one of the most important film monsters of all time. His quiet demeanor combined with his imposing figure was enough to give plenty of audiences nightmares in the 1930’s and is still really fun to watch today.
While this is not my favorite of the Universal monsters, I have to give the mummy credit for being an important component of it. I haven’t really watched the sequels so I am interested to see where it goes from here.