Ass-uming you’ve never seen it, 1932’s The Mummy may be a tad unexpected. For a film that inspired an entire sub-genre of mummy monster movies, it bares very little resemblance to subsequent films. There aren’t any real action set pieces and the story is a strangely poetic fantasy of a love that transcended the ages. The tit-ular mummy (played by the beyond great Boris Karloff) is only bandaged for a short time at the beginning, so there’s very little shambling. It’s a deliberately paced film with gloomy, eXXXpressionistic atmosphere. After over 80 years of other mummies in its wake, the film still feels unlike any other film to feature a bandaged ghoul. One such film that it has very little in common with is 2017’s The Mummy.
Universal actually has a history of rebooting this particular monster. While commonly referred to as “sequels,” the truth is that the Mummy films of the 1940s were hardly a continuation of the Karloff original, despite the first installment’s (The Mummy’s Hand) use of sets and footage from it. Imhotep of the original was replaced with Kharis, the shambling mummy most audiences vaguely recall. The Kharis films moved at a faster pace, had more action, and more comedy. They were all a great deal of fun, but none of them came close to the beautifully eerie original. When Universal took another crack at the sarcophagus with 1999’s The Mummy, they clearly found more inspiration in Kharis than Imhotep, although they did borrow the latter’s name. With this new Mummy, it seems that the filmmakers drew from the 1999 film more than any of the other previous films. There’s hardly an ounce of Karloff left in it. In essence, it’s the reboot of the reboot of a film made 85 years prior. With that in mind, it’s pretty easy to divorce it from the first film. And as one in a long line of monster movies, It’s pretty enjoyable. If viewed as just a bit of fun monster nonsense, it’s a good deal of fun. This film is precisely the sort of film you should be watching with an eXXXtra large soda in one hand and a plastic tray of nachos (and/or Twizzlers and Reeses’s Cups :)) in the other. I’m also pleased to report that, for the most part, the film is a ho-rror film. That is to say that there’s a good deal of zombie-ish mummies, creepy critters, terrible curses, shocks, thrills, and soul-sucking. I doubt there’s anything that’ll give you lasting nightmares, but it’s always fun to see some theme park-y scares on the big screen. The action and spook-scares compliment each other nicely and make for a groovy night at the movies. While I would’ve preferred something a little more Gothic, what we have pretty entertaining. The film stars Tom Cruise as a scrappy treasure hunter (very similar to Brendan Fraser’s Rick O’Connell) and Sofia Boutella as the tit-ular Mummy. Mr. Cruise seems like he’s having a blast and gives charm to a somewhat jerky character. Ms. Boutella is striking and fairly menacing as the Mummy, but she really isn’t given much too do. This version of the monster is devoid of any of the tragedy of the role once had. As much as I enjoy Mr. Cruise (and trust me, I do!! :)), I do wish they had focus more on the Mummy as a character. Instead, she seems like secondary figure in what should be her film. Also in the film is Russell Crowe in the role(s) of Dr. Jekyll and… you know who. He’s fun in the film, but it seems like they plan on eXXXploring that character(s) in a potential sequel.
The Mummy is intended to be the first in a series of new Universal Monster Movies and I do ho-pe it does well enough for sequels. By no means is this a great film, but it’s a fun popcorn flick. The Universal Monsters are among my dearest ho-mies, so any eXXXcuse to bring them back is fine by me. Ho-pefully, the sequels will embrace the Gothic nature of the original films and bring back some of the cl-ass-ical horror that made them immortal. For now, The Mummy is monstrous enough for me. To a new world of Gods and Monsters.
Happy The Mummy Release Day, Monster Mashers! 🙂 The film marks the beginning of Universal’s Dark Universe, a series of interconnecting monster movies featuring our favorite ghouls of the past. While we wish they had stuck to pure Gothic Ho-rror, anything that brings attention to Cinema’s Greatest Monsters is worth supporting. And it only makes sense that the Universal Monsters would join in on “shared universe” craze. After all, they created the cinematic sci-fi crossover with 1943’s Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman.
Ho-wever, while The Mummy is the first attempt to start a franchise to under the Dark Universe banner, it wasn’t the first attempt to eXXXhume the great monsters… Back in the late ’90s, Universal had planned a straight Black-and-White throwback to the classic Frankenstein films, done entirely in CGI! In October 1998, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Universal head (;)) Casey Silver had green-lit the film for release in 2000. The film was set to be the first full-length animated feature by Industrial Light & Magic and was budgeted at 80 million dollars. If all of that wasn’t enough, The Wolfman was also supposed to be in the picture!
Alas, this beautiful nightmare was not meant to be. The project died, but Universal did resurrect the creeps in 2004’s Van Helsing. Oy. Only 16 seconds of test footage exists for the film, but it’s pretty fang-tastic! The tower is perfect and Frankie’s got those Karloff-ish good looks we all love so very much. How magical would it have been to have a modern monster film like this?! Hopefully, if the Dark Universe goes on, we may get some installments that have that classic Universal Monsters flavor.
For 16 seconds of pure Monster Magic, check out the video below:
Ho-wdy, Ho-rror Ho-mies! As you creeps probably know, the Universal Monsters are getting a brand-new shared universe, and they’re hoping to give Marvel a run for their “mummy!” We here at KH love a good Monster Mash, especially one from the original House of Horrors. Starting with 1943’s Frankenstein meets the Wolfman, Universal has had a rich history of having grand ol’ ghouls go face-to-fang. However, there are two iconic monsters that have yet to appear in the same film…
Yes, it’s true… The Mummy and The Invisible Man, Universal’s baddest bandaged baddies, have never co-starred in a film together! Now, I know there’s a fair chance that the “wrap” stars will appear together in an installment of the new franchise, but it’s been over 80 years! You would think that Universal would throw us an invisible and/or mummified bone, but they never did.
However, the gauze ghouls did get a chance to share the spotlight in a commercial for Meineke Mufflers in 1988. Not only are The Mummy and The Invisible Man here, but they are positively horrible.. in a good way! 🙂 That Mummy could stomp around in a real monster movie, as far as I’m concerned! I don’t recall the Invisible One being much of a driver, but I suppose The Mummy would need a new a muffler for the ol’ chariot… 🙂
Ho-wdy, Kinky Ho-mies! As Bobby “Boris” Pickett taught us, monsters love to bust a move…when they aren’t bustin’ heads! 😉 To help prove that, Universal Studios gathered up their grooviest ghoulies and took them to the stage to shock ‘n’ roll! Beetlejuice’s Rockin’ Graveyard Revue was a theme park show hosted by…wait for it…Beetlejuice!!! 🙂
The Ghost with the Most was joined by Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, and The Phantom of the Opera… Talk about Monsters of Rock! Our beloved monsters first appear in their classic costumes, but go ghoulishly glam after the first minute.
(You gotta love this Phantom, who looks like an unholy hybrid of Sting, David Bowie, and The Joker!)
Since yesterday was the 29th anniversary of Beetlejuice, I thought I’d eXXXhume this Monster Mash and present ya with a birthday BJ… 😉 Enjoy the fab flashback, freaky fiends! 🙂 xoxo
“Centuries of passion pent up in his savage heart!”
On March 5, 1954, a terrifying monster from a primitive age clawed his way into the modern world… and into the hearts of horror fans everywhere!
With The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Universal Studios unleashed yet another timeless movie monster into the world in the form of the Gill-man, the missing link between land and sea animals. Blessed with shimmering scales, powerful claws, gorgeous lips, and the biggest eyes in horror since Peter Lorre, the Gill-Man is the envy of all ghouls. In fact, his signature look is so fabulous that it’s been referenced, parodied, and ripped off by everything from The Munsters to Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas to countless “B” horror Movies. Despite having only three (official) films to his name, the Gill-man’s popularity has endured throughout the ages, much like the Gill-man himself. This popularity has led to decades of action figures, model kits, shirts, masks, pinball machines, plush dolls, Halloween decorations, and even a stage musical at Universal Studios Hollywood! The Phantom of the Opera isn’t the only musically inclined monster, you know!
Happy Birthday, Gill-man! May you finally find a girl who appreciates your good looks!
In remembrance of Mr. Dwight Iliff Frye (February 22, 1899 – November 7, 1943), on what would’ve been his 118th birthday (plus one day ;)).
Behind every great monster stands a great madman and few are madder than the Dwight Frye of the screen. Blessed (or perhaps cursed) with a galvanizing stare and psychotic intensity, Mr. Frye was cinema’s perfect henchmaniac. After gaining recognition as fly-eating lunatic Renfield in 1931’s Dracula, Mr. Frye spent most of his career in an endless parade of, in his words, “idiots, half-wits and lunatics.” His portrayal of the half-mad Fritz in James Whale’s Frankenstein forever burnt the image of the hunchbacked lab assistant into our collective consciousness.
Mr. Frye was never happy about his typecasting in Hollywood and dreamt of doing bigger roles, like he did on the stage. Despite this, Frye always gave 200% to every role he took, regardless of its size or the amount of flies his character had to eat. He never achieved the success of a Boris Karloff and his parts were often cut from films. A remarkable resemblance to Secretary of War Newton Baker had him signed to a substantial role in a biopic President Woodrow Wilson for 20th Century Fox. Frye had hoped this role would give him the mainstream approval he had wanted. Unfortunately, after seeing a double feature of A Lady Takes a Chance and Sherlock Holmes Faces Death with his son, Frye and his boy boarded a Los Angeles bus, where he succumbed to heart attack, dying just a few days after being cast.
Dwight Frye may not have had the career he wanted, but he certainly left his fang-shaped mark on film fans. Two years after his death, he received his first fan letter. Film historians and horror publications like Famous Monsters of Filmland have been singing his praises for decades. Today, he has taken his place alongside Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in the pantheon of classic horror stars and continues to scare the daylights out of children, adults, and flies to this very day. I think it’s fair to say that Mr. Frye has left behind a remarkable legacy, After all, how many horror icons have a 6 1/2 minute Alice Cooper song written about them?
Happy Birthday, Mr. Frye. You’ll always be a big, bright, shining star to us here at Kinky Horror. xoxo