The Mummy


The Mummy

Critics Consensus

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.



Total Count: 28


Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,272
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Movie Info

Brought back to life after nearly 3,700 years, Egyptian high priest Imhotep wreaks havoc upon the members of a British field exposition. While disguised as a contemporary Egyptologist, he falls in love with Zita Johann, whom he recognizes as the incarnation of a priestess who died nearly 40 centuries earlier.

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Boris Karloff
as Ardath Bey
Zita Johann
as Helen Grosvenor/Princess Anckesen-Amon
David Manners
as Frank Whemple
Edward Van Sloan
as Dr. Muller
A.S. Byron
as Sir Joseph Whemple
Arthur Byron
as Sir Joseph Whemple
Noble Johnson
as The Nubian
Leonard Mudie
as Prof. Pearson
Katherine Byron
as Frau Muller
Eddie Kane
as Doctor
Tony Marlow
as Inspector
James Crane
as Pharaoh
Henry Victor
as Warrior
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Critic Reviews for The Mummy

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for The Mummy

  • Jun 05, 2017
    When looking at classic monster-horror films, there's a certain amount of suspension of disbelief needed. Not necessarily meaning that the films have no realism, but more so that the films are so dated in style and aesthetic that it becomes extremely difficult to understand how moviegoers were able to feel the scares of such a film. The Mummy is an interesting movie with the mythology it sets up, but lacks the thrills or lasting direction to catapult itself into the hall of fame of horror films. One thing this film does incredibly well is use Boris Karloff. Because the film is more of an atmospheric horror, it relies on particular creepy images rather than scaring with shock-horror, and no image is more creepy than a close up of Boris Karloff staring you down directly into the camera. He's a legend, and The Mummy is just one of many examples of that. Following along in the same sort of structure as films like Frankenstein, you can figure out the plot beats relatively easy, but that doesn't necessarily take away from the experience, though it certainly doesn't enhance it. Overall, this short take on The Mummy mythology is a fun one, even if it produces little to no scares whatsoever. 6.7/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 29, 2014
    Presenting a subtler horror film that trades in a manmade monstrosity for a monstrous man, The Mummy uses atmosphere rather than a traditional fright night to generate thrills. For those who haven't actually seen this austere yarn unfold, the shambling rag-wrapped corpse only appears in an early scene. Most of the film centers around Boris Karloff, bowing in his high-profile follow-up to Frankenstein, as undead flesh-faced high priest Im-Ho-Tep. Granted, his powers never get fully explained, but super strength and hypnotism seem to be among them. Indeed, the films biggest weakness involves Egyptian hokum-pocus of this sort and casting Caucasians as, well, everybody but the camels. In this 1932 Universal horror classic, a living mummy stalks the beautiful woman he believes is the reincarnation of his lover. The true star of this non-creature feature ends up to be director Karl Freund, whose mastery of lighting creates a ethereal shadow-drenched mood all of its own. Frankenstein director James Whale may've used expressionistic devices, but The Mummy is pure Expressionism. The film also gains points for keeping Edward Van Sloan (Van Helsing to Lugosis Dracula and Dr. Waldman to Karloffs Fankenstein) in the Universal Monster fold. Bottom line: Nile High Club
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 25, 2014
    With a marvelous make-up and cinematography, Freund displays a firm grasp for his first movie (also in the flawless use of music and silence), but the plot suffers from inconsistencies, like the mummy leaving the scroll in the museum after killing the guard even if he would need it later.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • May 18, 2013
    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.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer

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