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The Mummy (1932)

tomatometer

92

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 26
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 2

Relying more on mood and atmosphere than the thrills typical of modern horror fare, Universal's The Mummy sets a masterful template for mummy-themed films to follow.

60

Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 2

Relying more on mood and atmosphere than the thrills typical of modern horror fare, Universal's The Mummy sets a masterful template for mummy-themed films to follow.

audience

71

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 11,711

My Rating

Movie Info

The Mummy represented Boris Karloff's second horror starring role after his "overnight" success in Frankenstein. Brought back to life after nearly 3,700 years, Egyptian high priest Imhotep wreaks havoc upon the members of the British field exposition that disturbed his tomb (shades of the King Tut curse). While disguised as a contemporary Egyptologist, he falls in love with Zita Johann, whom he recognizes as the latest incarnation of a priestess who died nearly 40 centures earlier. Spiriting

Aug 28, 2001

Universal Pictures

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All Critics (26) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (2) | DVD (15)

Thoroughly unreasonable hocus-pocus.

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The transformation of Karloff's Im-Ho-Tep from a clay-like figure in a coffin to a living thing is the highlight.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The drama may be clumsy, but Freund's lighting is a wonder.

September 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The photography is superior to the dialogue.

August 8, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (3)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A sombre and atmospheric depiction of eternal passion and occult reincarnation.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A Dracula rip-off that is, in fact, considerably better than Dracula in almost every regard.

October 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Master photographer Karl Freund directs without shock tactics -- apart from the burying alive scene -- but with images of death and decay worthy of Edgar Allan Poe.

October 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

This vintage classic is more funny than scary.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Dated, but interesting if only to see the origin of the many Egyptian films that were to follow it.

August 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

This spine-chilling movie, shot in the German expressionistic manner, was the first of eight directed by one of the great cinematographers of cinema history.

September 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

"It's alive! It's alive!"

December 5, 2005
ColeSmithey.com

More atmospheric than terrifying

September 16, 2005
Lawrence Journal-World

The flashbacks are particularly terrifying.

January 3, 2005

The film lacks the usual number of chills and thrills that one would expect from a 'horror' film, but this one draws you in with its mood instead.

November 1, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Universal pulls another moody horror classic out of its hat.

November 13, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

A bit slow, but Karloff at his peak. A true horror masterpiece.

December 25, 2002
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Poetic, brilliant, creepy horror classic with a great Karloff performance

August 22, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The first and (arguably) the best of the Mummy's stalk-a-thons.

July 25, 2002
eFilmCritic.com

The story was fascinating hokum and its originality spawned a flood of such horror genre films.

April 23, 2002 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Absolutely marvelous.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for The Mummy

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

"It comes to life!"

The Mummy is a cool little horror film from 1932. It's a classic for sure, but by no means does that mean it is perfect or even great. Boris Karloff's presence and the fact that this was his first role after hitting it big with Frankenstein. As the title character, he does a great job injecting power and intrigue into it. There's no doubt that without Boris Karloff, this movie would have been a whole lot harder to watch. The acting is terrible in spots, but serviceable most of the time. The dialogue and chemistry between characters is where this one completely misses the mark, but luckily some great cinematography and camera work saves the day.

British archeologists disobey an ancient curse and awaken Imhotep, who ten years later tries to bring the love of his life back from the dead as well and will stop at anything to do so. The story is well done and interesting enough. It doesn't come together all that great, but that has a lot to do with the hour and thirteen minute runtime that doesn't allow for adequate closure at all. The climax is godawful and should have completely ruined the whole movie for me. Luckily, for some reason, it didn't though.

While, The Mummy is by no means a masterpiece of horror, it's well worth a look for the diehard fans of the genre. There's a lot of reasons to watch it if you are. Firstly, Boris Karloff; doesn't matter what the movie is, it's worth It's also the first mummy movie if I'm not mistaken, which started a whole new sub genre for the horror genre. So while it's nothing special, it has its merits.
October 4, 2013
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Yet another monster movie from Universal Studios, this film is not quite as large as life as many of its predecessors, including the preceding film of star Boris Karloff. This film, though inspiring a cavalcade of other monsters and similar films, was not made to satiate a call for mummies in motion pictures, or maybe it did. Capitalizing on the fame of the unearthing of King Tut's tomb, this film was put into production and called Karloff once more to play the terrifying villain, after his starring role in "Frankenstein". Karloff plays a de-mummified servant to the former empress of the Egyptian people. He gives himself over to death after being mummified and buried alive, just trying to bring her back from the dead. Now he lives as a reanimated living corpse, and he's back to find the reincarnated version of his former lover in order to reunite them for eternity. As always happens in these kinds of films, the woman is hypnotized, put into a trance-like state, bending to her beau's rule over her. Still, there is the always interesting love story between the reincarnated beauty and another man, who eventually stops the villain. The plot of the film is actually a call back to "Dracula," which also has two lovers split by a monster, a venerable older male figure that helps defeat the beast, and the plot eventually winds down because of its formulaic quality. Besides being a complete rip off of "Dracula" this film is also majorly racist against the Egyptian people. Many of their mythologies are used inaccurately; the film starts the untrue myth of living mummies, though it does get some of reincarnation right. I'm not saying all film respects mythology, but this film is blatantly racist with many of its assumptions about the culture, history, and mythology of an entire nation and doesn't even create a good monster with all of its material, only skewing the past. The love story was touching, and mummy devotion is always entertaining, but this film isn't all that lovable.
May 18, 2013
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

Not quite as scary and eerie (after the opening scenes) as many of the Universal horror films, but a fun movie nonetheless. Favorite part is early on when the young archeologist sees Imhotep come alive and walk away with the scroll. One of the scariest sounds I've ever heard is this man's hysterical laughter after witnessing Imhotep's resurrection. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. But afterwards, it seems to slow down. The effects aren't as good as they could be, and it gets a little dull at times. I'm not really impressed with the actress who plays the love interest either. Call this film a good try.
April 4, 2012
webalina

Super Reviewer

1932's The Mummy is the film of which all subsequent Mummy films have been judged upon. But there can only be one. Boris Karloff's legendary role is what separates this film among all the other rip offs, remakes that came after it. This film solidified Karloff's stature as one of the horror icons of old school cinema. The film is brilliant and is a must see for horror fans who want to rise above the usual fan, and experience some of the first true monster/ horror films. The film has some effective suspense, an interesting love sub plot, which adds much more emotion to the overall film; and the film has a wonderful cast starring opposite Karloff. The film is a turning point in the horror medium, and stands as a film that all other monster films are judged upon. A stunning classic that has not only effective chills, but hints of human emotion too. This is a definite classic of horror, and it is a superb film of which no remake will ever top. Karloff is a legend. The Mummy is a timeless film that has stood the test of time and if you decide to watch some classic horror films, then this film should definitely be on that list. The cast do a fine job opposite Karloff, and Karloff simply steals the show with his hypnotizing performance. One of the classic horror films ever made. This film is a must for every horror fan. A well constructed film with a well developed plot and great acting is one of the few reasons why this film is a classic. But more significantly, it is because of Boris Karloff's immortal performance as Im-Ho-Tep. One of the key films that shaped horror films forever. A must for classic film fans and horror fans alike.
October 2, 2011
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

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December 14, 2012:
Len Wiseman Talks His Mummy Reboot
It'll take place in the present day.
September 28, 2012:
Weekly Ketchup: Len Wiseman Will Direct the Mummy Reboot
This week's Ketchup includes movie development news for the video game adaptation Spy Hunter, a...
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He promises "a darker twist on the material" as well as "a scarier vision."

Foreign Titles

  • Mumie (DE)
  • The Mummy (UK)
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