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The Mummy (1932)
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that kids will see two mummy-related deaths (a museum guard dies of shock off-camera; an archaeologist succumbs to mumbo jumbo). A few Egyptian slaves are run through with spears. Sensitive kids may find a living mummy mildly distressing -- and be disturbed by the Egyptian king who is mummified and entombed alive.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
In this vintage monster movie, a British archaeologist with itchy fingers ignores an ancient curse and awakens the mummy Imhotep (Boris Karloff) from a 3700-year doze. The archaeologist promptly goes insane, and for 10 years the mummy is presumed stolen. Cleaned up to look like a modern-day Egyptian (sort of), Imhotep reappears and tells a couple of unsuspecting British Museum fellows where to dig to uncover the tomb of an ancient princess, untouched for nearly 4000 years. Ulterior motive? Yes! Imhotep is out to rekindle a long-severed love, and flips his fez when he finds a young half-Egyptian beauty who he believes to be her reincarnation.
Is it any good?
The humor derived from THE MUMMY's stiff dialogue and bizarre situations may be unintentional, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Charming -- at times laughable -- in its utter inability to evoke goose bumps, this 1932 Universal horror classic is a great one for children to cozy up to with the folks without much risk of lost sleep. "Too much yakking, not enough monsters." That's the general consensus of kids who want a movie full of dripping fangs, snaggly talons, and exploding eyeballs, none of which appear in this quaint classic. The mummy only inhabits the first few minutes of the movie, much of that time propped motionless in a corner. After that, it's Boris Karloff as a fez-sporting Egyptian who mutters ancient curses that make people clutch at their shirt collars and fall down dead.
This is a grand movie to watch at home with the lights out and the young ones laughing on the couch with Mom and Dad. There are enough brooding Karloff close-ups, weird incantations, and eerie stuff to satisfy kids who don't demand much from a monster movie. For parents, there's nostalgia and priceless lines like "Do you have to open graves to find girls to fall in love with?"
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why this movie is so funny. Did the movie makers intend to be funny?
Why do you think a movie that terrified people in the 1930s doesn't scare you? Did the monster seem terrifying or realistic?
How have horror and monster movies changed since this one was filmed? Are the changes for the better, the worse, or neutral?