Box art for The Mummy (1932)

The Mummy (1932)

drama, horror, sci-fi & fantasy, thrillers


The legendary Boris Karloff stars as the mummy Im-Ho-Tep, a high priest who is revived by British archaeologists 3,700 years after being embalmed alive for trying to save the woman he loved.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    93%
  • Audience Score
    71%

common sense

ON for kids age 9
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
Language
0 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
Sex
0 out of 5
Violence
3 out of 5

This vintage classic is more funny than scary.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids will see two mummy-related deaths (a museum guard dies of shock off-camera; an archaeologist succumbs to mumbo jumbo). A few Egyptian slaves are run through with spears. Sensitive kids may find a living mummy mildly distressing -- and be disturbed by the Egyptian king who is mummified and entombed alive.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about why this movie is so funny. Did the movie makers intend to be funny?
  • Why do you think a movie that terrified people in the 1930s doesn't scare you? Did the monster seem terrifying or realistic?
  • How have horror and monster movies changed since this one was filmed? Are the changes for the better, the worse, or neutral?
  • What

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    93%
    reviews counted: 8
    see all The Mummy (1932) reviews
  • Audience

    71%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: "It's alive! It's alive!"

- Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: The drama may be clumsy, but Freund's lighting is a wonder.

- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fresh:

- Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Yet another monster movie from Universal Studios, this film is not quite as large as life as many of its predecessors, including the preceding film of star Boris Karloff. This film, though inspiring a cavalcade of other monsters and similar films, was not made to satiate a call for mummies in motion pictures, or maybe it did. Capitalizing on the fame of the unearthing of King Tut's tomb, this film was put into production and called Karloff once more to play the terrifying villain, after his starring role in "Frankenstein". Karloff plays a de-mummified servant to the former empress of the Egyptian people. He gives himself over to death after being mummified and buried alive, just trying to bring her back from the dead. Now he lives as a reanimated living corpse, and he's back to find the reincarnated version of his former lover in order to reunite them for eternity. As always happens in these kinds of films, the woman is hypnotized, put into a trance-like state, bending to her beau's rule over her. Still, there is the always interesting love story between the reincarnated beauty and another man, who eventually stops the villain. The plot of the film is actually a call back to "Dracula," which also has two lovers split by a monster, a venerable older male figure that helps defeat the beast, and the plot eventually winds down because of its formulaic quality. Besides being a complete rip off of "Dracula" this film is also majorly racist against the Egyptian people. Many of their mythologies are used inaccurately; the film starts the untrue myth of living mummies, though it does get some of reincarnation right. I'm not saying all film respects mythology, but this film is blatantly racist with many of its assumptions about the culture, history, and mythology of an entire nation and doesn't even create a good monster with all of its material, only skewing the past. The love story was touching, and mummy devotion is always entertaining, but this film isn't all that lovable.

- FrizzDrop, Saturday, May 18, 2013

3 stars

With a marvelous make-up and cinematography, Freund displays a firm grasp for his first movie (also in the flawless use of music and silence), but the plot suffers from inconsistencies, like the mummy leaving the scroll in the museum after killing the guard even if he would need it later.

- blacksheepboy, Monday, August 25, 2014

3 stars

karloff was absolutely perfect for this film, and it is still frightening 80 years later. the art direction is excellent and the costumes work perfectly to transport the viewer into a different world. knowing that the remakes of late have been in the adventure vein, i would love to see another horror version of this story for todays audience. a great classic.

- sanjurosamurai, Monday, November 15, 2010