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Old 01-01-2018, 01:47 AM   #1101
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Kong did it first.
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Old 01-01-2018, 02:20 AM   #1102
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Kong did it first.
Are you counting Mighty Joe Young? More of a spiritual sequel than a real one.
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Old 01-01-2018, 05:08 AM   #1103
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Yeah, MJY isn't a Kong movie. There are officially 8 Kong films to date.
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Old 01-01-2018, 05:14 AM   #1104
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Yeah, MJY isn't a Kong movie. There are officially 8 Kong films to date.
Right and they represent like six continuities.
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Old 01-01-2018, 05:40 AM   #1105
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Personally I do count it, even if it isn't tied in lore-wise to the first and second Kong flicks. Those three don't have to be explicitly linked in order to make a helluva trilogy.
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Old 01-01-2018, 01:48 PM   #1106
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Besides Freaks, another one to catch if you haven't seen it is Island of Lost Souls.
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Old 01-01-2018, 02:29 PM   #1107
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Personally I do count it, even if it isn't tied in lore-wise to the first and second Kong flicks. Those three don't have to be explicitly linked in order to make a helluva trilogy.
Well, it's certainly the Willis O'Brien ape trilogy. All three have great spfx. I still don't own MJY. I gotta pick that up one of these days. I own 7/8 of the official Kong movies.

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Besides Freaks, another one to catch if you haven't seen it is Island of Lost Souls.
Both excellent horror movies outside the Universal cycle. Sounds like Agent has enough to watch for now, though.
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Old 01-07-2018, 05:24 AM   #1108
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Dracula (1931)

"There are worse things awaiting man...than death."

Really have to appreciate the thought at skill that went into making this. I love the bat title card during the opening credits, and the whole portrayal of Renfield being completely at odds with his environment.

His gawking at the castle interior as Dracula descends behind him, the look of stunned confusion on his face as his host casually walks through a spider web without said web taking any damage. I like how it all leads up to Renfield being mentally overwhelmed and controlled by Dracula. Actually, Renfield is really a fascinating character here: I kinda felt sorry when the guard took away his spider, because you can see him visibly deflate at the loss of his meal. You also see that he wants to undo the damage he's wrought and protect Mina, because he has those lucid moments where he tries to warn everyone. Frye really was a fantastic actor.

Also have to give the usual applause to Edward Van Sloan for his role as Van Helsing. I particularly loved how he was able to resist Dracula's attempt to control him.

And of course, the man himself: Lugosi did a great job throughout, carrying himself with an authority and a confidence (and arrogance, even) that comes from decades upon decades of unchallenged, unholy power. I swear, you can see him wearing this knowing smile on his face a lot throughout the film, like he's telling the audience that his enemies are powerless to stop him. This assumed omnipotence makes his reactions to Van Helsing's defenses all the better, because he's suddenly a cornered animal defending himself from the first real threat to him in ages.

Aesthetically the film was solid, some great shots of London and that damn incredible castle. The settings really cast this fascinating dichotomy with the film, the old horror of Transylvania inserting itself into England and trying to fester (Renfield acting now as allegory, healthy England infected by corrupt Transylvania and attempting to resist full viral consumption).

I was a little surprised at the ending, though. I've no doubt been overly influenced by the other Dracula flicks (especially Hammer's, probably), so not seeing Dracula's death was a bit different than what I'm used to.

I think the only issues I have are that: Lugosi makes his one eye a bit too easy to stare at during those specific close-ups; the editing in the bedroom scene that birthed the whole raised cape routine; the cardboard (which I actually didn't notice myself, believe it or not).

It's late as hell, I'm still coughing and I want some sleep, so I'll review The Mummy tomorrow, and see if I can fit The Wolf Man in there as well.
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:03 PM   #1109
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The Mummy (1932)

"You will not remember what I show you now, and yet I shall awaken memories of love... and crime... and death... "


Another classic I had to open my mind for, since I'd only ever seen the Hammer/Brendan Frasier films. I had seen Rolfe's review of this during one of his Cinemassacre Monster Madness uploads, so I knew to go in expecting something markedly different than what the title immediately calls to mind.

I have to say that the awakening scene is perfectly done. I love how his eyes slowly, very slowly open, and then his arms begin to move. The wrappings being dragged out after him is like something out of Jaws, how you see traces of the monster but not the beast itself. I also like how Bramwell Fletcher (playing assistant Ralph Norton) has exactly the right reaction. Nowadays we've seen so many zombies that we'd very possibly not react with outright madness, but in the 1920s/'30s that shit was pretty much unheard of, so audiences probably empathized with the character like all hell.

I gotta say Karloff is really mesmerizing as Imhotep/Ardath Bey. His makeup really is a testament to Jack Pierce's talents, how it does look like his wrappings have merged with his flesh (poor Karloff, spending 8 goddamn hours a day getting done up like that). Not only his face, but his manners: he can interact with and move among mortals, and in a less restricted manner than Dracula (more or less, anyway). His powers are also damn impressive, being able to view persons, places, and times, and harm/influence them to significant degree. I was genuinely surprised and rather pleased that Imhotep was portrayed as such a competent and potent mastermind, not merely some unstoppable force (though this high bar might be part of the reason why later Mummy flicks chose a different portrayal, kind of hard to live up to this one, it's so high).

Helen was also an intriguing character, with believable links to both sides of the situation, which gives perfect reasoning for her to be the reincarnation of the Princess without it being too heavy-handed a plot device. I was somewhat absorbed as Imhotep and the possessed Helen talked in the museum, going over how her body is no longer her own, nor is her time. Previously their history lesson at Imhotep's quarters, showing his theft of the Scroll of Thoth, was something else: I distinctly remember James pointing out how stunning the slaves' murders were for a '30s film, but this was right before the Hollywood Film Code was revised. That also reminded me I need to get around to watching The Sign of the Cross for its wild content.

And that ending! Loved it.

Overall I highly enjoyed this. It was different than what I was used to, and I think that is what really sold things for me.

Now I need to watch The Wolf Man (1941) in order to properly assess it as an adult and to figure out where I rank each of the main Classic Universal Horror films (barring Invisible Man and Creature).
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:47 PM   #1110
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A deleted scene from The Mummy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3YOuRyq_08
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:47 PM   #1111
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The Wolf Man (1941)

"All astronomers are amateurs. When it comes to the heavens, there's only one professional."

"You policemen are always in such a hurry. As if dead men didn't have all eternity."

A childhood favorite of mine. Been so long since I've seen it that I forgot entire portions of it. I didn't remember the church scene at all, for one.

Seeing this again was a real refresher. I forgot that LCJr was written as a borderline peeping tom when first discovering Gwen, which only made me laugh harder. Also didn't remember the very-different-than-usual intro, with not just the identities of the cast but shots of them as well, which I can scarcely recall any other flick of the time doing.

I gotta say, I was truly impressed with Claude Rains. Dude had some of the best writing in the entire flick, and delivers them so damn well. Dude really is a blessing to this picture.

I remembered Lugosi as the fortuneteller (always found it funny how he keeps his name, basically playing himself). Such a bit role that it's hard for him to shine for more than a moment. Seeing that part again made me pity the first victim, Jenny (Fay Helm).

But the biggest takeaway from this film is that it really does an amazing job of showcasing a man's descent into psychological self-conflict bordering on madness, and the persecution of the mob when dealing with a threat. You can not only see but feel Chaney's mental and emotional despair as he comes to accept more and more that something is horribly wrong with him, and how he's all but totally ostracized from the community, and Gwen being dragged down with him in a guilty-by-association move. It's just like watching a train crashing.

Goddamn, this film is really a work of art.
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:13 PM   #1112
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The Wolf Man (1941) . . . I forgot that LCJr was written as a borderline peeping tom when first discovering Gwen, which only made me laugh harder...
Not only a voyeur, but it's like he revels in it since he pushes her on those details in the first location, like he wants to emphasize that he spied on her.
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:01 PM   #1113
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The Wolf Man is an amazing movie, but every time I see it I can't get it out of my head what a god damn creeper Larry is to Gwen. He couldn't pull that shit today!
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:12 PM   #1114
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These are pretty good reviews. I am enjoying reading them. Ever since Space Cop brought up the bit about the cardboard in Dracula I've been watching youtube videos on the Uni and Hammer lines. You're going to make me do a big rewatch if you guys keep this up!
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:06 PM   #1115
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These are pretty good reviews. I am enjoying reading them. Ever since Space Cop brought up the bit about the cardboard in Dracula I've been watching youtube videos on the Uni and Hammer lines. You're going to make me do a big rewatch if you guys keep this up!
Yeah, I re-watched Werewolf of London because of Agent and Bride of Frankenstein for the anniversary. Kind of makes me want to watch some more. Actually, IIRC, I've never watched the sequels to Invisible Man. I gotta get around to that. They're the only movies in the classic Universal canon I haven't seen.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:46 PM   #1116
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The Wolf Man is an amazing movie, but every time I see it I can't get it out of my head what a god damn creeper Larry is to Gwen. He couldn't pull that shit today!
IIRC, Chaney Jr. And the actress that played the female lead did not get along very well on set. I think I read that in Universal Horrors.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:51 PM   #1117
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IIRC, Chaney Jr. And the actress that played the female lead did not get along very well on set. I think I read that in Universal Horrors.
That sounds familiar. And more confirmation form IMDb

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Evelyn Ankers had difficulty working with Lon Chaney Jr.. Already peeved at Ankers because she was given his dressing room (the studio was punishing him for vandalizing studio property while drunk), the actor would constantly irritate her, nicknaming her "Shankers" while playing juvenile, practical jokes; he liked to sneak up on her in full makeup and scare her.
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Old 01-08-2018, 09:59 PM   #1118
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The Wolf Man is an amazing movie, but every time I see it I can't get it out of my head what a god damn creeper Larry is to Gwen. He couldn't pull that shit today!
Don't kid yourself, he'd have an even easier time doing it today and still earning a fat paycheck.

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These are pretty good reviews. I am enjoying reading them.
Now I kind of want to do a satirical review just to see your reaction.

Hmm, haven't watched the Abbot and Costello films yet...

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IIRC, Chaney Jr. And the actress that played the female lead did not get along very well on set.
No wonder he tried to tear her throat out.
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Old 01-08-2018, 11:04 PM   #1119
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When I was a kid, before the days of the internet, I remember Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein being a movie that old school horror fans turned their nose up at. I always liked it, but felt guilty for doing so because it really was the swan song for those monsters and it was done for laughs.

Now it seems to have found appreciation from fans as the classic it is. Its actually a very well made movie, certainly better than at least the two House Of movies, and other sequels.
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Old 01-08-2018, 11:05 PM   #1120
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Man, I should break out the new blurays...
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Old 01-21-2018, 11:24 PM   #1121
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Watched Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) last night with my dad, since I haven't seen it in a really long time (same with him) and because he doesn't like horror, so that means no It (2017).

"Back! Back!"
"Yes, Master..."
"He thinks I'm Dracula."


As silly as this it, let's face it: this is exactly how many of us act towards damn near every scary idea and situation. Each time we encounter the impossible, we dismiss it as all talk and then panic when it isn't. These two just take it to over-the-top levels.

It was funny seeing the animation at the beginning, and I was actually a little surprised they managed to get both LCJr and Lugosi into the film (Glenn Strange was a good stand-in, dude nailed the humongous aspect, being goddamn 6-5).

I like the ideas they present here: Dracula is trying to gain a perfect powerhouse servant by reviving the near-indestructible Frankenstein Monster and replacing the brain with that of someone easily controllable. At the same time, he's being hunted by the Wolf Man (probably in revenge for something that happened in House of Dracula, but I haven't seen that in a while so I'll need to refresh my memory). Gives a perfect excuse why all these elements are brought together.

We get the slapstick, verbal/emotional abuse-comedy that defines pairs of Abbott-Costello, Laurel-Hardy, and the Stooges. They're two regular schmoes that are a mix of caught up in this mad scheme and intentionally targeted, and while Abbott doesn't buy into all the spooky nonsense (representing one way people might react to a scary situation), Costello has everyone out for his head (representing the other half, panic at seeing fantasy come to life).

I'm also kind of envious of McDougal's House of Horrors. Haven't been to a wax museum in forever, and that placed looked sweet. Too bad the man himself is a massive prick.

I like the various ways they play with the classic horror genre cliches: the groaning coffin actually being heard by someone (love the candle gag); the raised cape; never looking right behind you/killer taking way too much time to pounce; the random castle that so conveniently happens to be nearby; the man-in-a-mask gag/wearing similar clothes; the revolving door (I think I loved this one the most); and more besides.

Honestly, as goofy as this is, I got a kick out of some of the laughs, you get to see a whole cast of famous monsters (including the cameo at the end!), and it just fits as a nice little of-the-times sendoff to an era.

Plan to watch Dracula's Daughter tonight, because I don't really watch football.
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Old 01-22-2018, 02:55 AM   #1122
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Watched Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) last night with my dad,
That's the best one, but Mummy is pretty good too.

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. . . since I haven't seen it in a really long time (same with him) and because he doesn't like horror, so that means no It (2017).
You do watch some movies by yourself, though, right? If you have a hard time fitting them in on work nights, I'd recommend splitting them up (half movie on Monday, the rest on Tuesday). About 10 years ago I wouldn't have dreamed of doing that, but now that I do, I get through a lot more movies.
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Old 01-22-2018, 03:15 AM   #1123
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That's the best one, but Mummy is pretty good too.
Yeah, I need to watch that too when I can.

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You do watch some movies by yourself, tough, right?
Yeah, just did two a little bit ago (Last Film thread). I have less time for most films during the week, because I get home, clean up and relax for a short bit, and then dinner, followed by whatever I can fit in before bed. Because plenty of films run for ~2hrs or more, that means I typically have to fit those in on weekends, and most of what I watch is sent in from Netflix, which I take down when I see my dad every week so we can spend time together.

Because of the large in-load of Classic Universal Horror DVDs, I've taken to watching more than usual lately, both out of supply and strong interest (I have plenty of other things to watch, but not as strong a desire to watch them right now).
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Old 01-25-2018, 02:32 PM   #1124
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That is a fucking lovely poster. Hell, I ordered on Sunday a CFTBL shirt, should get it fairly soon.
I don't think it's from the same series, but on a related note, here's an article about a new art show based on the Universal Horror classics. The Mummy one is my iPad wallpaper right now.




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Old 01-28-2018, 07:55 PM   #1125
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Dracula's Daughter (1936)

"Why was it necessary to lie?"

I remember when James Rolfe reviewed this for Monster Madness, I couldn't stop laughing at the piano scene, Sandor (Irving Pichel) was a riot with every word he spoke.

That aside, I have to say that I found this to be able to draw me in a bit more than Lugosi's hit. Not saying it's objectively better, just that I found it to be of greater personal fascination because it gets a bit more into the duality of vampirism.

I love that it picks up literally on the heels of Dracula (1931), with two bumbling bobbies stumbling upon Renfield's corpse, and Edward Van Sloan really seizes the show from there. I really approve of how this film handles Van Helsing as he doesn't hide what he's done, insisting that he killed a dead man (it'd be easy for him to manufacture a lie, that Dracula was a serial predator of entirely human make who was finding new stomping grounds, and the Transylvanians would all-too readily affirm the falsehood with their own horror upon investigation), and insisting that vampires are real (I love how he draws parallels between psychology and his own occult studies).

The characters of Garth (Otto Kruger) and Janet (Marguerite Churchill) was hilarious and interesting to watch. They fight like they've been married for over twenty years, and her antics at badgering him are really a marvel (especially for a '30s horror flick, and in this particular franchise no less, feels completely unique to see her mischief on display). Her interactions with Zaleska (Gloria Holden) were very unexpected: they aren't rivals, they aren't friends, and Churchill's problematic relationship with Kruger means she gets in Holden's way here and there, even though she ultimately holds the key to Holden's future. I really have to applaud how this atypical three-way relationship was handled.

On to the woman herself: Zaleska was a brilliant study in anti-villainy. She's a monster preying on the innocent, unable to break from her curse, but she loathes it and wants to be rid of it. It was very fascinating, seeing her want to strike out and be normal again, trying to figure out a way to wholly escape Dracula's control. The scene with her and Pichel, where her piano music shifts to be more of what you'd hear in a harrowing moment than anything crafted by a person of calm composure, and where her every idea is twisted into something dark and threatening by Sandor --- I loved it. (Sandor, Jesus Christ, dude, tone down that grimdark attitude!)

I also like how her desire to be free is mirrored by the Transylvanian locals, who celebrate like ordinary folk when Dracula is gone, but then lose their shit when they see a light in his castle again.

I think the only problem I have is the momentary, end-of-the-film matter that Pichel brings up when he says he was supposed to be made immortal. I felt that was unnecessary, bringing up the whole "eternal reward" deal. Yeah, it creates the justification for what happens shortly after, but to me it just felt kind of needless.

Other than that, incredible film.



The Mummy's Hand (1940)

"Hey Steve, can a dame go crazy from being sawed in half too many times? "

The first of the Kharis line, stepping almost wholly away from what Karloff the Uncanny accomplished in the '32 production. And frankly, there's nothing really wrong with what's done here.

We get a new princess, a new mummy borne of terrible sacrilege, new archeologists, and a helluva backstory for everything. I think the only issue with Kharis's background (or the film in its entirety) is that they recycle portions of Karloff's background, the actor being switched for a few shots here and there but otherwise a wholesale repeat. But aside from that, they come up with a new idea that works without going too heavily into the mysticism and spirituality, a plot device that is their own.

The characters were solid adventurer tropes, but they give us something to relate to: Steve Banning (Dick Foran) is the academic bum; Babe Jenson (Wallace Ford) is the streetwise friend the laymen can identify with; Solvani (Cecil Kellaway) is a genuinely entertaining magician (his tricks backfiring on him while he's drunk in front of his daughter is amusing); Marta Solvani (Peggy Moran) is the daughter who keeps an eye on things.

Of course, there are also the villains: The High Priest (Eduardo Ciannelli) establishing a series staple; Andoheb (George Zucco); the Beggar (Sig Arno); and the titular Kharis (Tom Tyler). Ciannelli was 50 when he did Hand, but damn if he didn't look a helluva lot older, really conveying the trembling, feeble elder passing on a dark legacy. Zucco was great, playing a mastermind not only behind murders but of a secret network of spies (if the Beggar isn't alone; it makes sense that the Priests of Karnak would operate a bunch of paid-ears so they can more carefully maintain control over Ananka's tomb and the knowledge of its existence).

As for Kharis, setting aside what I noted earlier, I think he's a worthy successor to Imhotep. The makeup on him is solid, but without feeling like an imitator to Karloff's. He also has his signature twisted/broken body, dragging his foot and only being able to use one arm. I think one of the most critical scenes of his is actually when he see him freak out at the end, when the fluid is spilled everywhere and there's a brief shot of him with wild eyes, in a total panic. Probably his eyes are the most expressive part of him, these black, unholy orbs that threaten to drown you (though powerful eyes are a staple of the Classic Universal Horror flicks).

When I started watching this, I wondered if I had seen a review by James years back, because I couldn't remember immediately even though I was pretty sure I had. Once I saw the iconic temple stairs, I knew it. "Yep, this is the film where the dude gets shot in three different edits. Knew it seemed familiar."

Maybe my only issue with this is Zucco falling for Churchill. Hardly a problem, given the damsel-in-distress shtick monster films love, especially in that era, but his plan for them both just seemed kind of ridiculous. Other than that, the film was a good step in a new direction.



The Mummy's Tomb (1942)

"The moon rides high in the sky again, Kharis; there's death in the night air. Your work begins."

This is where things start to get kind of schlocky, methinks. Not terrible schlock, but some awkward missteps here and there hold this film back a bit.

Dick Foran, Wallace Ford, and George Zucco return, this time aged 30 years (Zucco does a stunningly-close impersonation of Ciannelli from Hand). I liked the passing of the baton from Zucco to newcomer Mehemet Bey (Turhan Bey), and especially his plea for the Egyptian gods to protect Bey from the temptation of love that almost killed him (it was hilarious to see Babe fail to kill a man with multiple gunshots at point-blank range; that's two things he can't do worth a damn).

Correction: Mehemet Bey was played by Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian. Seriously.

I really disapprove of the excessive flashbacks, especially when Foran will mention something in the form of a short, single sentence, and then we get another flashback. Maybe it was that, without home viewing devices, audiences then really appreciated actually seeing something they either forgot or missed entirely, and I can appreciate how helpful a gesture it is, but it also pads the length, and the format for this in particular came across as stilted.

There's also Wallace Ford getting renamed to "Hanson" when he was clearly "Jenson," but I suppose that's just another example of writers not double-checking their sources. Minor complaint, but irksome.

Problems aside, the film is actually good. We get a new setting that makes a fair bit of sense (the villain's lair gives justification in a new way to the title; and the goal means they're in the States for a sound reason). We get an evil plan that isn't a complete rehash of the "find a tomb, enter it, get cursed" trope, but works as a killer bringing about a conclusion to prior events. We also get the scenes where they use chemistry to discern the mold of Kharis's wrappings, which was a damn smart move both for the characters and for the writing.

I have to say that Bey worked very well here, aside from falling in love and repeating the same "I'm going to make us immortal" material from Zucco. He actually tried to resist, and when he gave in, I liked the whole "I'm sending you on a mission of life" moment (though I think Chaney shouldn't have shied away as he did, since he's supposed to be totally suborned to Bey's will).

We really don't get to see Chaney do much here. I feel like it's a doubly-missed opportunity: he performs pretty well within his constraints, but Zucco mentions how Kharis's body was burned away to a fair degree, and I feel the studio should have cast a man with a more gangly, almost skeletal frame so that we can get a real embodiment of that statement (or, barried, that, had Zucco mention that his body was partially restored so as to be of further use to the Priests).

I'm of two minds about the mob scene. On the one hand, it makes sense that someone like Babe would basically set such a bomb off; on the other, it really is something that could only happen in a monster flick.

But this film did give us a great final clash, one that readily calls to mind the climax of James Whales's Frankenstein (1931). Hard to deny how good that ending is.


I still have three Mummy flicks to watch (Ghost, Curse, and A&C). Such a busy schedule I have.
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