The Mummy (1932)

There are certain movies that haunt a viewer for a lifetime. These films most likely do not affect each viewer the same. In fact, it is certain that they do not.

But some element, a particular scene or the overall mood, serves as a mind hook and the image returns again and again. It is not to be avoided but faced head-on. I know that Boris Karloff’s portrayal of Imhotep represents for me an internal father. He lurks in the shadows of the film and even when appearing fully framed onscreen he still recedes into the darkness. Pierced through by the light, but absorbing even that.

He is a dark, powerful figure. The orientalism embedded within the film’s narrative makes it even more mesmerizing to a young viewer. Imhotep is the exotic what-might-have-been father. Not the actual powerful and dangerous father that may walk through the door at any time.

Boris Karloff as Imhotep in The Mummy

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