Thursday, 26 November 2009

Random Creepy Karloff Moment

The Mummy
1932
Dir. Karl Freund

Egypt, 1921. A team of British archaeologists led by Sir Joseph Whemple uncover the mummified remains of Imhotep, an ancient high priest. When one young archaeologist reads from a sacred scroll, the Mummy comes to life – and the young man becomes delirious, eventually going insane. 10 years later Sir Joseph returns to Egypt with his son Frank. Unknown to them, the Mummy has revived itself and now exists as Ardath Bay, a mysterious man who helps the expedition uncover the tomb of his ancient love. Ardath Bay/Imhotep wants to be reunited with his love, but in order to that, the woman she has been reincarnated as, Helen Grosvenor, must die…

The opening scene of this classic horror tale contains one of the most chilling moments in early horror cinema. After having inadvertently resurrected the Mummy, which we see slowly opening its eyes as the scroll’s contents is recited, Ralph Norton (Bramwell Fletcher), a young archaeologist, sets about studying the scrolls he’s just read from. The camera lingers on him as he reads – everything is quiet. Too quiet. Suddenly, almost leisurely, matter of factly, a mummified arm reaches slowly into the shot to pick up the scrolls from the table in front of him. We see Norton react to the 'thing' standing before him - his look of surprise turning to incomprehension then turning to raw terror. Becoming delirious, all he can do is laugh hysterically as the Mummy, which remains largely unseen, shuffles off again - all we see are the trailing bandages behind it as it makes a 'stealthy' retreat. His crazed laughter echoes throughout the night as he loses his mind forever, mindlessly mumbling ‘He went for a little walk! You should have seen his face!’

This moment is so chillingly effective because it is so down-played and subtle.






Brought to you in association with The Boris Karloff Blogathon

2 comments:

The Igloo Keeper... said...

It's a classic moment. The way Karloff's eye just... glints... never fails to send a chill up my spine.

James said...

Spot on! Its the stuff of nightmares.