The Mummy (1932) Director: Karl Freund
“Death… eternal punishment for anyone who opens this casket. In the name of Amon-Ra the king of gods.”
Produced by Carl Laemmie Jr. and starring the great Boris Karloff of Frankenstein fame, The Mummy is a surprisingly fun movie in my view. It tells the story of Imhotep, an ancient Egyptian mummy that is accidentally reincarnated by a group of archeologists – one of whom reads the cursed “Scroll of Thoth”. After being reincarnated, after he was buried alive over 2,000 years ago, he spends ten years learning the modern language and culture. He returns in the hopes of raising his long lost love from the dead. Instead, he finds a modern woman bearing a resemblance to his dead lover, but eventually he is killed when the “Scroll of Thoth” is burned by a surprise appearance by the god Isis. At the end, Imhotep crumbles to death.
The film was inspired by the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, and the subsequent Curse of the Pharaohs conspiracy theory, as alluded to early in the film. It was also built on the successes of earlier films, Dracula and Frankenstein. The look of the Mummy, played by Karloff, was inspired by Rameses III, and the make-up ordeal was extraordinary, requiring many hours from Boris Karloff.