Wednesday, October 01, 2008
31 Days of Halloween - Day 1 Movie
I wanted to start with something from the 1930s that I hadn't seen in a while. I chose "The Ghoul" (1933) starring Boris Karloff, Ernest Thesiger, Cedric Hardwicke, and Ralph Richardson. I wish I'd chosen something else.
"The Ghoul" concerns a dying Egyptologist (Karloff with some seriously disfigured makeup) who insists on being buried under certain conditions which include a valuable jewel, all of which he claims will bring him back to life at an appointed time. However, if the jewel is not buried with him, he will return as a murderous walking corpse.
Of course the jewel is removed from his body before burial and Karloff comes back from the grave to get it back from a houseful of unlikeable schemers.
The film is beautifully shot with great sets, and it's nice to see Karloff and Thesiger together two years before "Bride of Frankenstein," but this movie is unsuspenseful with an uneven mix of humor and intrigue in the typical old dark house formula it follows. If any of the characters had been remotely likeable, it might have been more enjoyable, and Karloff seems to stumble through it in a role that's almost reduced to a cameo appearance.
There are far worse movies than this, and if you're a fan of Karloff, or classic horror, it's worth checking out, but otherwise you can live without it.