The Mummy (1932)

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Overall Rating 70%
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Ranked #2,966
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Connections: The Mummy

In 1921 a field expedition in Egypt discovers the mummy of ancient Egyptian prince Im-Ho-Tep, who was condemned and buried alive for sacrilege. Also found in the tomb is the Scroll of Thoth, which can bring the dead back to life. One night a young member of the expedition reads the Scroll out loud, and then goes insane, realizing that he has brought Im-Ho-Tep back to life. Ten years later, disguised as a modern Egyptian, the mummy attempts to reunite with his lost love, an ancient princess who has been reincarnated into a beautiful young woman. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: March 26, 2017
Marvel has really opened Pandora's Box with their cinematic universe. Now everybody and their mother is trying to copy their money-printing model, and failing miserably at it. Still, Universal has every intention of moving on with their own collective universe centered on their classic horror franchises from 30s and 40s. The first entry, a re-imagining of the The Mummy, comes out in a few months, so I figured its time to get the source material on here.

In Egypt, Professor Whemple has made the discovery of a century: the mummy of the profane priest, Imhotep, who had been buried alive after some unspeakable sin. They also find a box of his belongings with a curse written on top of it. Whemple's friend, Dr. Muller, is well-versed in ancient Egyptian curses and takes his old friend outside trying to convince him to return the find to where it was found. While they're talking, Whemple's assistant is overcome by curiosity and opens the box. The nearby body of Imhotep immediately begins to stir, stepping out of his sarcophagus, stealing a scroll of dark spells and walking out the door. Ten years later, Whemply's son Frank is in the same desert searching for anything; their season is ending and so far they haven't found a thing. As he's lamenting his rotten luck, a local man named Ardeth Bey approaches him with the information that the tomb of a princess lays undisturbed not a hundred yards from their camp. The archaeologist immediately starts digging, and in no time at all the local museum in Cairo has a brand new exhibit for Princess Ankh-es-en-Amon. Ardeth Bey is quite obsessed with the exhibit, but even more obsessed with an American woman of Egyptian heritage named Helen who bears a striking resemblance to the Princess. It quickly becomes apparent that Bey is no mere mortal man, and he's determined to rekindle his love for a woman from centuries past.

Now, I do enjoy a good slow-burn horror movie but well, The Mummy just isn't a good one. There just isn't any of the tension necessary to carry these kinds of films. We see that he's got some very powerful spells that can kill a man from afar, but the futility in trying to fight a monster with this power is never explored. This would have been a great way of both showing just how powerful he was and giving us something to fear. With that said, I don't think it honestly would have done much to salvage things. You see, the scenes with Ardath and Hellen were especially cold, and considering that she was the main focus of his grand scheme, it goes without saying how much collateral damage their lack of chemistry caused. Hell, I didn't even realize that I had just watched the climax of the movie until it wrapped up and the credits rolled. That is not a good sign.

It certainly didn't help matters that the visuals just weren't there either. It's mentioned several times that his skin is pale and crumbled, yet the make-up just wasn't there to get this across. Sure, there were some close-ups of his face where the centuries can be seen in his eyes and skin that looked decent enough, but it didn't translate very well to a regular shot. He just looked like Boris Karloff. Boris Karloff in a dress as it were. What I assume is traditional Egyptian garb (or 1930s Hollywood's ideas of it) certainly doesn't translate well to an ominous-looking sight to behold.

There's no way of quantifying just how influential Universal's early horror movies are. It's been close to ninety years and to this day if you tell someone to think of Dracula or Frankenstein's monster, Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff are the images that pop into their minds. The Mummy doesn't share that honor (instead conjuring images of Brendan Frasier from the '99 remake), and with good reason. 2/10.
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