US (dir. Karl Freund)
Cast: Boris Karloff, David Manners, Zita Johann, Arthur Byron, Edward Van Sloan
Synopsis: The mummy Kharis, from ancient Egypt, is accidentally revived after 3,700 years by a British archeology team.
Review: It’s been awhile since I’ve said that a remake was better than the original… but now, behold! I’ve found a film that actually benefited from a remake more than I could have ever fathomed. 1932’s snoozefest, “The Mummy” is an absolute snooze-fest. Actually, snooze-fest is putting it lightly. I’ve fell asleep no less than FOUR times watching this movie, and it’s barely longer than 70 minutes! If it weren’t for Boris Karloff, there wouldn’t have been much to keep me watching or at the very least, keep my eyes open and fixed towards the screen. This is definitely the most disappointing Universal Monsters movie yet!
For those of you who may not have seen both the 1932 and the 1999 versions of “The Mummy” I can now specifically advise you to avoid the 1932 film lest you suffer the curse of a thousand snores. I’ve fallen asleep while watching movies before, but wow! I can’t remember cruising into dreamland so frequently than whilst watching this movie. Maybe it’s the score or the fact that absolutely nothing fucking happens for the majority of the film, but I just couldn’t stay awake. In all honesty, I did rewind to scenes I may have missed due to napping, but every time I backtracked, I found I hadn’t really missed much and any plot development I may have missed out had a 99% chance of being related to some stupid supernatural Egyptian scroll that gets mentioned every few minutes or so. Ugh…
In fact, after watching the original, I’m extremely glad they made the remake absolutely nothing like the original and focused more on making the mummy an organ-sucking bad ass wrecking havoc on Egypt, and that the entire film had more of an adventure movie feel to it than a horror movie feel. In the 1932 version, the mummy is a very polite, lovelorn guy who, once accidentally reincarnated, only tries to kill people who interfere with him getting the scroll or getting his reincarnated woman back. So really, only two people suffer his wrath, and since one survives, the death toll (one person!) is pretty low (and the deceased wasn’t even a minor character, just a nameless museum security guard).
Boris Karloff is pretty much the only thing going for this movie. Since his lines were limited in “Frankenstein”, “The Mummy” is definitely the movie to watch to catch Karloff as a full fledged actor. His commanding on-screen prescence and deep, brooding voice makes for classic horror movie gold, but one certainly cannot judge the greatness of a film based on one actor’s performance alone (or else I’d be giving “The Mummy” a better review).
“The Mummy” follows a fairly simple plot, mummy is brought back to life, mummy wants to bring back his dead girlfriend. Yet even with such a simple story to follow, there appear to be gross errors in continuity. In fact, by the third act I was convinced there were scenes missing in my version of the film because I simply couldn’t find a transitional scene explaining how the mummy’s love interest went from a British woman to ancient Egyptian priestess, Ankh-es-en-amon in under 5 minutes. I’m not talking just a costume change either; she just becomes a new person without any explanation whatsoever, or even a scene in between that could explain how she arrived at an entirely different location (an Egyptian temple) than where she had been 5 minutes prior.
My super-awesome internet research confirmed that, no, my version of “The Mummy” was not missing scenes… every version of “The Mummy” is missing scenes. Where are these deleted scenes? No one knows!!!!!!!!!! *eerie voice* Muhahahaha… Ahem.
The ending also feels like it’s full of holes as everything simply comes to an abrupt end when a temple statue lifts its arm, the scroll catches fire, and the mummy inexplicably turns to skeletal ash. As cheesy as it sounds, I was hoping this movie actually had a bandaged mummy running amok. Actually, it wasn’t so much as hoping as it was expecting. You can imagine my disappointment when the only real mummy we see has like 2 minutes of screen time in the beginning before he shuffles off.
I think any Universal monster movie could top this giant sleeping pill. Only worth watching if you are as intent on checking out all the Universal monster movies as I am, even the boring ones.