31 Weeks to Halloween: Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)
Out of the depths of an ancient tomb echoes a sound that shakes the world... with laughter!
Halloween is so close we can feel it everywhere we go. It's another Saturday in October and we're one step closer to the big day, so you know what that means: we're checking out one of our final Universal Monster movies. As we inch closer, the reality is beginning to set in that next week is our final monster review, and it's a bittersweet feeling. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we have this week's hilarious movie to talk about - and if we're talking about a funny Universal Monsters movie, it has to be an Abbott and Costello film, right?! Right - this week, we're checking out the 1955 classic Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy! The film is the third in the series based around the monsters, but it is also an important film because it is the Abbott and Costello film produced by Universal-International. In just the last few weeks, we've seen the comedy duo meet Frankenstein and The Invisible Man, but this week we travel all the way to Cairo, Egypt where the legendary slapstick comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello (whose characters are using their actual names) are stranded as they try to land a job that will not only get them paid, but get them on their way home to America. And, of course, things get out of control quickly for the duo and they end up in a handful of trouble! The movie was directed by Charles Lamont - who worked on a handful of other Abbott and Costello films previously, including their Invisible Man film - and features stuntman Eddie Parker as Klaris (not Kharis like in previous Mummy films), the films Mummy. The movie is laugh-out-loud hilarious and filled with some of Abbott and Costello's funniest material of the three movies, but honestly, I like it the least of the three; not at all saying the movie is weak or lame, I think the bar was just set so high with the previous two films that they ended up being hard to follow up to. Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy absolutely has to be noted for its creativity and storytelling, however; the tie-in to the world of the Mummy is totally awesome and makes for a fantastic story with some of the most over-the-top hilarious moments from the duo. If you're at all a fan of Abbott and Costello and their hilarious antics, this film is still a must-see, even if it is the weaker of the three!
Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy's premise is literally in the title, but what it is missing is the pretty cool twists and turns the film unexpectedly takes as it throws our heroes into some serious trouble! Abbott and Costello are two Americans stranded in Egypt with no way to get back home, until they overhear Dr. Gustav Zoomer (Kurt Katch) talking about how he has the body of mummy Klaris. Klaris is the guardian of the Tomb of Princess Ara, and he holds a medal that can be used to locate the treasure of Princess Ara - treasure that would make anyone who gets their hands on it very, very wealthy. Unfortunately for them, they weren't the only ones who heard about the medallion; so when Abbott and Costello go to the doctors house to apply for the job of moving the mummy back to America and find the doctor murdered, the real trouble begins. Abbott and Costello try and solve the murder all the while becoming the suspects. As the two manage to get their hands on the mummy's medallion, evil is afoot as the other scavengers try and steal it from them - and that's when the real trouble starts. What follows is Abbott and Costello trying their damndest to make it out alive and maybe with a handful of cash as well! Will they make it out of Egypt with their heads?! Find out in... ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY!
The Mummy himself - Klaris - gets a good amount of on screen-time but honestly, it looks so lame that he doesn't even really become the main interest in the film. Again, maybe my standards were set to high with Boris Karloff's version, but Klaris just looks very underwhelming. Looks aside, he does have some pretty sweet parts in the movie and some totally awesome interactions with the comedy duo, so to say his role is a total disappointment is a lie. But let's be honest, these movies weren't made to be these huge hit monster movies, they were made to be entertaining comedy films with some added monster flair; so when the film slacks a bit with monster action, it makes up for with the classic, hysterical comedy of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The jokes are funny, the antics will have you laughing out loud, and the sets are totally killer. I've never been in Egypt but the studio did a fantastic job putting the duo in what feels like the stereotypical Egypt setting, and everybody and everything looks great. Pair all of that with the films fun storyline and this film is another hit, even if it is the weaker of the films in the series. Truth is, many modern day films take themselves so serious and are afraid to let loose and be wacky - we don't see that at all these days. And Abbott and Costello weren't afraid to be those wacky dudes, and incorporating classic monsters into their films (regardless of how lame they make look - well, really, it's just the mummy in this film) just makes it that much more awesome.Still, this film rules and makes for a great send-off for the comedy duo, and Abbott and Costello put together - yet again - a lighthearted and silly flick that still holds up sixty years later. I think the movie is still funnier and more worth your time than a lot of modern day horror comedies, so if you're looking for something a little different for your Halloween watchlist, don't rule this one out!