Saturday, February 25, 2012

WHAT SCARED ME


The "mummy" in THE PHARAOH'S CURSE (1957)
Photo from FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND
#29, July 1964.
While we mostly look upon those times now with a sort of humorous terror, a lot of us have commented about being "scared out of our wits" while watching our favorite fright flicks back in the halcyon days of the classic monster craze daze. I just don't come across a lot of detail about exactly what it was that did the scaring.

Let me tell you, I don't wake up screaming anymore from something I watched 40 or so years ago (I'll leave that to gas prices and figuring out my new "smartphone", thank you very much), but once in a while I remember a scene from a movie or an image from a monster 'zine that made my skin crawl in a bewildering sense of horrified fright. In past posts, I've shared with you my run-ins with two other personal horrors, certain scenes from Robert Wise's THE HAUNTING, and a pic of a body snatchin' "Mexi-creature" from an early issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS.

Another such unsettling memory is the image of a withered visage from the B-movie, THE PHARAOH'S CURSE. I remember seeing this on Sunday afternoon TV when we went to visit some neighborhood friends who had moved away. It was a sweletering day in the middle of summer, but I guess since the movie took place in the desert, it only added to the verisimiltude.

The "mummy" in this movie was a dried-up lump of flesh that crept around his crypt, terrorizing the hapless explorers (sound familiar?). Despite the momentary frisson of the creepy memory, I can't help but to also chuckle a bit at the make-up department's low-budget move to dress him up in a pair of striped pajamas that looked more south-of-the-border than the usual mummy wrappings. Maybe a more fitting title might have been, THE CURSE OF THE SINISTER SERAPE?

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