Alright, another confession… I’ve never once seen the Universal Monster movies. So when Halloween rolled around, my girlfriend and I decided to give it a try and we began with ‘The Mummy.’ We were both extremely familiar with the 1999 reboot and were curious to see how this would play out.
Released in 1932, this film stars Boris Karloff as the titular monster. When a team of archaeologists and historians uncover an unmarked tomb holding the infamous Imhotep, they also find a small chest buried alongside it. Labeled with a curse of death for any who open it, the historians take the warning serious while a single person secretly opens it and reads aloud the Scroll of Thoth hidden inside. This reanimates the mummy, who slowly steals the scroll and walks away.
Fast forward some time later and we have an older man who finds these archaeologists and tells them of another unmarked tomb – one containing the infamous Anck-Es-En-Amon. They uncover the casket and relocate it, with its closest possessions, to a Museum of Egyptian History. The same old man returns with an intense fascination for the casket and doesn’t leave it’s side.
This film is absolutely beautiful. With some spoilers to follow…
The old man turns out to be The Mummy regaining human form. The entire film is about him trying to find and resurrect his forbidden lover. When a moderm day woman whose familial Egyptian ancestry begins subconsciously hearing the call of Imhotep, things ramp up.
I found myself rooting for the monster. He isn’t bloodthirsty or unforgiving, but he’s just a passionate lover whose love transcends thousands of years. It’s a warm and chilling tale with a few creepy shots. The atmosphere is intoxicating, the makeup effects are phenomenal, and the music and story are able to transcend time as well.
This was a brilliant entry into the world of Universal Monsters and im excited to dive in further.
“The Mummy” is currently streaming on The Criterion Channel.
‘Til Next Time,