Reasons why the 1932 production of The Mummy kicks serious ass:

  • Its star was billed as "Karloff the Uncanny".
  • Hours were spent devising realistic mummy makeup, hours were spent applying it to Karloff, he was forced to shamble around in it under hot studio lights...yet the audience never sees it in its entirety. In an era where directors can't wait to wave their expensive special-effects toys in your face, such restraint in the service of creepiness is a miracle to behold.
  • It contains the second-scariest laugh in movie history, when an archaeologist is driven mad at the sight of the resurrected Karloff. (The scariest laugh of course belongs to Dwight Frye as Renfield in Dracula.)
  • Karloff's deep-set eyes, burning like live coals in his gaunt, leathery face as he telepathically murders his enemies.
  • Director Karl Freund. He worked as a cameraman for F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu), Fritz Lang (Metropolis), and Tod Browning (Dracula) before his directorial debut here, and you can't ask for a better pedigree than that in the world of 1930s cinematic horror.
  • Karloff just being Karloff. He radiates lethal menace in every scene, like a cobra ready to strike. You can't take your eyes off the man.
  • The next time someone puts his mitts on you uninvited, think, What Would Imhotep Do? Then fix them with an subzero stare and say, "I prefer not to be touched."