Friday, October 13, 2006

The Ghoul

(1933) **

Boris Karloff plays a sick old Egyptologist who, on his deathbed, issues bizarre instructions for his burial. On the next full moon he plans to present Anubis with a precious relic and hopefully the "doors of immortality" will be open to him. If for some reason the relic -- a large jewel worth a whopping 75 grand -- is not on his corpse, the full moon will wake him up to kill, KILL. You'll never guess what happens.

I thought this would be a fun jaunt but it nearly put me out. Most of the characters act as if they're in a bad drawing room comedy, belting out their lines and blocking themselves awkwardly. Of the eight main players, no less than five of them are after the diamond. There's one foggy London street scene that had me goggled with trying to figure out who was who and what they were doing. "Who's that guy?" I said, and then "who's THAT guy?" Our hero couple are the two rightful heirs to Karloff's estate: he's a big tall jerk who we're supposed to like for some reason and she's chip chip chipper. Also plucky. They're cousins. The romantic build-up is between two cousins.

I was irked when the brief cut to the doctor towards the end revealed that Karloff wasn't ghoulified, but had been entombed alive. That didn't really explain how he went from sickly old dying man to the lurching, bar-bending ghoul, but I didn't care because I sensed the "The End" coming. Don't watch this one if you're sleepy.


JPX said...

I'm so disappointed to hear that this was bad. Ever since going through all the Universal Monster collections (i.e., Werewolf, Creature From the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Invisible Man, Frankenstein, and The Mummy)I've been thristing from more gems from the 30s and 40s. Have I really exhausted them all? Ideas anyone?

Octopunk said...

Yeah, it is too bad. I saw what year it was made and rubbed my hands with anticipation. You still get a lot of the good b&w photography, but you get stuck watching lots of talking and walking.