Saturday, January 7, 2017

Day 68: The Ghoul

Boy oh boy, if any movie could be prescribed as a sleep aid, it is this. I fell asleep watching this on three separate occasions. I finally made it through last night. It might be the heavy thudding soundtrack that repeats forever, putting one in a somnambulistic state. The movie itself isn't bad, actually.

Boris Karloff is a professor of antiquities getting ready to die. He has spent his life savings buying a jewel that will grant him eternal life if Anubis accepts it as an offering, after he is dead. So, Karloff gets the jewel taped to his hand, has a tomb built with an Anubis statue in it and has the key left inside the tomb so he can get out after he is resurrected. Meanwhile, an oddball cast is assembling in the rest of the film. Karloff's two heirs (bickering distant cousins so are also the love interests in the movie), his very Scottish manservant, his weaselly lawyer, a local do-gooder priest and a dangerous member of a religious cult all want the jewel Karloff was buried with for various reasons (mostly money).

Sure enough, Karloff emerges from his tomb on the night of the first full moon after he is buried. After killing the chauffeur of the cult member, he gets into his old house where the rest of the cast is gathered (also included is the female cousin's roommate, a man-hungry goofball). Now, I thought, here is a recipe for a great horror movie. All these distinct characters in this gloomy mansion being offed one by one by Karloff.

Unfortunately, he doesn't kill anyone else. He just lurks and scares people until he gets his jewel back. It isn't until the last ten minutes, set back at his tomb, that things get exciting. All the parties collide and everyone who is dangerous makes their play against the others. The last ten minutes almost make up for the interminable second act of mindlessly moving pieces around the board.

I won't spoil anything but I was kind of surprised by some of the plot developments at the conclusion. This is a fun movie that should probably be watched when wide awake and not after any heavy meals.

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