A Tale of Two Mummies: The Mummy in 1932 and 1999

Mummy One
Boris Karloff, The Mummy, 1932

It’s interesting to think, as a culture, what we deem scary.  We have a diverse collection of nightmarish creatures with which we’re fascinated.  They star in our favorite horror movies, and gentler versions of their faces get stuck to the windows of suburban houses the entire month of October in celebration of Halloween.  Plucking these beings – ghosts, vampires, werewolves and the like – from various cultures and myths, we embrace them and re-invent them as our own, simultaneously fearing and worshipping horror creations that may be remarkably different from the original version of the entity in question.  It’s a bizarre practice, if you think about it, and one that may not be as prominent in other cultures.  It might make us wonder: What is horror?  What can we learn about ourselves through the monsters we create? Continue reading “A Tale of Two Mummies: The Mummy in 1932 and 1999”

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A Tale of Two Mummies: The Mummy in 1932 and 1999

“What a Lovely Throat!” – Getting Nosferatu’s Ultimate Hickey

Nosferatu 2
Photo Credit – Nosferatu, 1922

One year, at the suggestion of another teacher, I required my Advanced Placement Literature students to read Edith Hamilton’s Mythology.  Hamilton was a serious scholar who compiled myths from varied sources and combined them into relatively easy to read, concise packages that, lined up one after another, formed a fat, enticing book.  I was so compelled, as a 25-year-old, by the magical stories in her text, that I’d sit in my bedroom all night, reading, underlining, and scribbling notes in the book’s margins.  I’d set the book down every so often and take manic walks in my pajama pants around Montrose, an artsy neighborhood in Houston, Texas, while listening to Joan Baez on my IPod and letting my mind roam.  My decision to walk around Nosferatu 1downtown Houston at night was not a product of common sense or concern for safety, but I suppose none of the horror movie’s I’d watched up to that point properly indoctrinated me with a rational fear of the dark, or of other people.  (I was watching The Ring on repeat then, so I likely thought that it was more dangerous to sit in front of the television – lest an evil little girl crawl out – than it was to walk outside.)  Then, I’d hurry back in the house, run to my bedroom with its deep, maroon walls and black and brown bookshelves from Target, and re-enter the world of myth.   Continue reading ““What a Lovely Throat!” – Getting Nosferatu’s Ultimate Hickey”

“What a Lovely Throat!” – Getting Nosferatu’s Ultimate Hickey

Crazy for Caligari: Exploring Early Horror Cinema

 

Caligari D
Photo Credit – The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

I suppose I’ve been intrigued by The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari ever since I realized it took slot #1 on Rotten Tomato’s Best Horror Movies of All Time List.  Unsurprisingly, this list is heavily contested.  Commentators will complain, for example, that King Kong sits in slot #5, even though it’s not technically a horror movie.  The same might be said of Abre Los Ojos – the Spanish version, and, for that matter, the original version of Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky – and Frankenweenie, which I can only assume doesn’t fall under the category of true blue horror.  Still, every ranking is subjective, and even if I questioned the list maker’s assessment, I still had to see what it was about this old, silent, black and white film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, that makes it such a monumental hit according to a major contemporary movie review site. Continue reading “Crazy for Caligari: Exploring Early Horror Cinema”

Crazy for Caligari: Exploring Early Horror Cinema