in which janklow gets entirely too emotional regarding the Mummy (1932)

it has probably been noticed that there are a few topics about which our hero janklow feels very strongly (such as, say, all that feminism in movies) which the mention of results in him getting all worked up and ranting about said topics for however long it takes to get them out of his system. usually, though, i feel like there’s a sound argument contained in all that noise; sometimes, though, i must admit that the argument is far more rooted in my irrational hatred.

which brings us to the Mummy.

the Mummy absolutely enrages me. he is the worst movie monster. the WORST. something about the very concept makes me fill with anger. but let me see if i can make my case here.

the Mummy (1932)
ah, what appears to be a well-soiled old man. surely this movie will be incredibly frightening!

the Mummy is the worst of the Universal monsters

while this is a little before the time of, well, almost everyone who’s on the internet, i think it’s still common knowledge that Universal Studios cranked out a world-famous assortment of movie monsters: Frankenstein, Dracula, the Invisible Man (i mean, he’s a monster in a moral sense, anyway), the Wolf Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and, i guess, the Bride of Frankenstein. famous characters, all of them, although i suppose you can attribute that to the strength of the original material in several cases.

the Mummy is the worst of all of these monsters. now, okay, SOMEONE has to be the worst. i guess that’s not necessarily the Mummy’s fault. but it’s a definite black mark when i’m thinking of “who could the worst Universal monster be” and my mind doesn’t immediately leap to “mole people.” and i suppose it’s a little rough to be paired with iconic monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula. but are you telling me that if the Mummy didn’t exist, i’d be on the internet bitching about the Invisible Man? unlikely!

Boris Karloff (1932)
i think it’s telling that the Mummy looks most unsettling when he’s NOT in his mummy makeup

the Mummy is a completely lame monster in general

this lameness, i think, is the crux of the matter. Frankenstein is turbo-strong and probably hard to kill; Dracula can change into a bat and seduce the hell out of some women; the Creature from the Black Lagoon has claws and a swimmer’s physique. ultimately, all of these monsters are a threat to anyone who should run afoul of them in a dark alley; the Invisible Man can at LEAST make off with your wallet or something.

the Mummy… he does what, walks very slowly towards you? eventually he chokes you to death? is this a monster you can evade by, you know, jogging slowly away from him? granted, it’s not like Frankenstein is going to be winning any foot races against the Mummy, but he at least looks a little menacing. the Mummy appears to be a collection of soiled rags that intends to kill you… very slowly… eventually. at least the mole people have a certain, as the French say, “i don’t know what” going for them.

i asked my father to describe “what it is the Mummy does,” and he said something along the lines of: “well, he chokes you, and he’s very strong, so you can’t get away from the choke.” it, to say the least, is a little less impressive than the Wolf Man savagely ripping you a new one with his claws.

i think it also helps to note that Boris Karloff notably played both Frankenstein and the Mummy, and yet you never hear him described as “the guy that played the Mummy.” we always reference Frankenstein. subconsciously, we all know how lame the Mummy is, even if we don’t want to admit it.

the Mummy's Ghost (1944)
apparently he came back from the grave to get chicks. this is actually a fair assessment, and not a joke

the Mummy spawned an awful series of “sequels”

one of the less-noticed lame things about the Mummy is that while it spawn an EXCESSIVE number of sequels … they’re not actually sequels. instead, the Mummy was unnecessarily and secretly remade eight years later as “the Mummy’s Hand.” eight years later? this is generally code for “the original totally sucked.” and THEN they made a bunch of sequels to that movie: the Mummy’s Tomb, the Mummy’s Ghost (and i must note that the concept of an undead being having a GHOST seems entirely excessive) and the Mummy’s Curse.

but one thing my father (who must have watched these Mummy movies one too many times) pointed out is that they added some ridiculous “tana leaves” requirement to all of those post-1932 sequels: apparently these magical Egyptian leaves are what the Mummy needs to live and thrive and slowly, ever-so-slowly, kill his eventual prey.

the Mummy (1999)
i like to think Fraser is screaming with rage and disappointment as he finds out how terrible of a movie series he’s made

the Mummy is to blame for those Brendan Fraser Mummy movies

considering that they’re essentially an attempt to remake (and then add sequels to) the Mummy, i am totally blaming it for these awful, awful films. the problem with the Mummy was that people expected me to take it seriously, not the lack of awful, awful CGI effects in the original. i think they’re supposed to make me think the Mummy is filled with powerful magic, but actually, i think i prefer “…and then you get slowly strangled by a dead guy.”

and then the Mummy remakes spawned the atrocious Scorpion King films (plural! how the fuck did anyone think it was a good idea to make two of those?), which, in turn, is something ELSE i can blame the Mummy for. goddammit.

next week, maybe something more rational? we shall see.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *