Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Hidden Mummy

This is going to be a relatively small post but I think that it’s necessary as a sort of precursor to a post that I want to do later on. At first, this post was going to be dedicated to showing the romanticism within the original Mummy film; however, I found something that struck me as brilliant in the film. You see, The Mummy really takes the term “the less you see, the better” and uses it to it’s advantage and of course that happens in most of the older black and white films but I think this one does it a lot better.

When we first see Mummy he is motionless, wrapped in bandages and cloth and he has the grotesque look of an aging and gooey mummy. Of course, seeing this image back then was disgusting to look at and I am sure for people back then it was also pretty scary to see. The next we see the Mummy his eyes open slightly and the camera pans down his body to see that his hands start to move around and this right here is an indication that the Mummy is alive and to audiences it was a pretty big ‘holy shit’ moment since they didn’t expect to see him do that.

The picture shows more of the scene than the movie.

Now here is probably one of the best parts of the whole movie comes into play, the Mummy awakes and it cuts to Frank who is looking through some scrolls. The camera pans down to a scroll that was left open and you see bandaged hand extend into the picture and touch the scroll. Frank then looks up at the unknown figure and begins to laugh in hysterics as the menacing shadow leans over him. The shadows leaves and the camera pans over to the ground and we see bandage wrappings on the floor leaving as the figure walks out the door but we never once see his legs, we only see bandages drag on the floor as Frank is heard in the background hysterical.

Why is this scene so frightening and out of all the other scenes in the movie? Put yourself in the mindset of people in the 30s, after seeing the grotesque mummy you are already grossed out by it, now imagine if the thing started to walk… but you never see it work. Your mind is going wild trying to picture a mummy walking and moaning. You never see the thing and because of that, you mind can makeup whatever it wants to fill in that gap in the picture and that is the most horrifying thing that the director could have done.


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