DVD Review: The Mummy vs. The Mummy

The Mummy Vs The Mummy
(or 1932 Vs 1999)

(or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)

I know what you’re thinking. I do. You’re thinking, “Well, there is no comparison The Mummy 1999, kicks The Mummy 1932 in the ass!” As a lover of old movie I would like to say, “Screw you! The Mummy 1932 is classic!” …But I can’t. You’re right. The Mummy 1999 kicks The Mummy 1932 in its mummified ass. You can say “Yeah, but that’s only because it had tons of special effects, tons of action, a lot of jokes and Rachael Weisz!” To which I would say, “Yeah, but…..um…. The Mummy 1932 had Zita Johan wearing almost nothing…and Boris Karloff!”

The Mummy 1932 was not a good film even from the eyes of someone who loves old movies. If I were 10 and watched in a theater, and had to walk home afterward MAYBE it might scare me a little. No, I can’t even say that. Being 10 years old, and having to walk home, pedophiles would scare me more. I liked the original Dracula; I liked the original Frankenstein, but the original Mummy? Not so much. If you say vampire to someone, they will immediately start talking like Bela Lugosi, whether they know it or not. Why? Because he ROCKED as Dracula. If you say Frankenstein, they will put their arms straight out and go “Arrrrrr…Errrrrrr!” Why? You guessed it, Boris Karloff ROCKED as The Monster. You say, Wolfman to someone and they’ll say, “Oh, yeah. Wasn’t Michael J. Fox in that?” To which you’d have to slap them. The Mummy 1932 was just boring.

What I DID like about this edition of the Mummy 1932 was all the extras that came with it. Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed looks at the film, as well as what was happening in 1932, Universal Horror, narrated by Kenneth Branagh, about all the classic universal monster movies. At an hour and a half, it was a bit long, but VERY interesting. Did you know that the guy who played Major Stasser (Conrad Veidt) in Casablanca was a huge monster movie star when he was younger? I didn’t! Some of the scenes they showed from his early work made me want to go out and get them, very creepy!

We also get a featurette on the legendary make-up artist Jack Peirce. In addition to the Mummy, he worked on films featuring Dracula, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein and The Phantom of the Opera, as well as having done some work on the television series Mr. Ed….seriously. I suppose a man has to feed his family.

Also included is a pair of commentary tracks, some posters and stills, as well as trailers for the various Mummy films.

Speaking of extras The Mummy 1999 comes with TONS of them including a whole extra disc of them. Included on disc one are Deleted Scenes, a trio of commentary tracks featuring Director/Writer Stephen Sommers and Editor Bob Ducsay, Brendan Fraser going solo and finally actors Oded Fehr, Kevin O’ Conner Arnold Vasloo.

Disc twp gives us a sneak peek of Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, as well as a piece that goes over the Pharaoh lineage (Very interesting!), a handful of segments going over the effects, make-up and so forth. Also included are a Storyboard Comparison, Photo Montage and the Theatrical Trailer.

But ignoring the extras, The Mummy 1999 was simply more entertaining. It was The Mummy as inspired by Indiana Jones (I am talking Indy circa Raiders, not Crystal Skull) and was a lot of fun. Brendan Fraser was believable as the leading man, an adventurer with a twinkle in his eye. John Hannah provided comic relief as brother to Rachael Weisz.

Was The Mummy 1999 a remake of the Mummy 1932? Not really. It used the same basic story. An Ancient Egyptian Priest is mummified alive, because he tried to resurrect his lover. Then thousands of years later we “modern” men (modern for the 1920s where both movies are set) dig him up, and let him escape. People die, and he again tries to resurrect his lost love.

To recap: The Mummy 1932: a suck fest; The Mummy 1999: fun for the whole family.

Randy Otteson
For more reviews from Randy, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.