Big thanks to Svengoolie for showing this classic smack in the middle of my horror month. You really can’t go wrong in any way with a Universal monster movie. And something I’m noticing in watching them this year is the number of them that are pre-code (that is the era from the 20s until the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code in mid-1934). It’s something I’d never really thought about before, but I think these classics were well-served by the less restricted filmmaking of this era. What first caught my eye was Zita Johann’s Priestess of Isis costume – you wouldn’t see anything like that by decade’s end.
It’s hard for me to determine whether I love 30s movies because of Universal horrors, or that Universal horrors reinforce my love, but it doesn’t really matter. There’s a lot here to love, too. Not just bias-cut gowns and gorgeous day suits, but also the incredible Boris Karloff who spends less time at the titular mummy, and more as Ardath Bay, a distinctly creepy dude with a odd power over lovely Zita. There are lot parallels here with Dracula (1931), from the Bey character to Edward Van Sloan in a Van Helsing-like role again, to professional mannequin David Manners, a hero as ineffectual as usual. #Svengoolie’s presentation was top-notch as well; great trivia (my favorite part), snappy song, ridiculous parodies. What a fun Saturday night.