The Mummy Special Edition
Universal 1932
Directed by Karl Freund
Starring Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Bramwell Fletcher, Arthur Byron, Edward Van Sloan

We all fear the unknown! Today the unknown is much the same as it was during the Great Depression. Falling stock markets, bank runs, price hikes, and gang violence show us that ot much as changed. Sure, the Depression wasn't full of computers, widescreen TVs, cell phones, and satellite and cable communications. We have many more choices, and maybe not for the better. In the cold, dank Depression steeped in the Industrial Revolution, people had simpler lives and sought out simpler forms of entertainments - radio and the recently developed talking movies. In those days over seven decades ago, the sound was provided on huge sound discs.

Universal Studios has been primarily a B-movie studio, cranking out westerns, serials, and other family fodder. In February of 1931, Universal scored a huge hit with Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, and almost a year later they had another smash with Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff. The two films employed different perspectives to tell their stories. Dracula is quiet, ethereal, and menacingly subtle. Frankenstein is scientific, brutal, and loaded with pathos.

Both Karloff and Lugosi went on to become stars, and made films for years to come for Universal and other studios. After Frankenstein Karloff (as he was known then) went into production on James Whales' The Old Dark House, but next on his plate was The Mummy, loosely based on the King Tut expedition. The Mummy is quite literally Karloff doing Dracula. His performance is a far cry from his much pitied Frankenstein monster - cold, evil, and as mysterious as the desert sands of an Egyptian pyramid.

This Special Edition is newly remastered in High Def and loaded with bonus features, one especially dynamic on make-up legend Jack P. Pierce (with contributions from luminaries such as Rick Baker, Bob Burns, and Tom Savini). This two disc set is sure to please young and old monster fans, adn takes this writer back to the early 60s, when I first beheld Karloff as Im-Ho-Tep, the doomed Egyptian priest, on Weird, Weird, World theater on KTLA Channel 5 in those so long ago times. It's a perfect introduction for newbies who are waiting for this summer's new The Mummy - Tomb of the Dragon Emperor flick, and will set the mood for all those who wish to get wrapped up in the legacy.

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