Appears in: The Mummy (1932)
Scariest moment: After waking up, the reanimated corpse exits its coffin, lumbers over to the table where researcher Ralph Norton (Bramwell Thatcher) is seated, and slowly snatches the scroll off it. Norton, naturally, screams like a little girl.
Weakness: Destroying the scroll that gave him life.
Pity the fool who associates the movie title The Mummy with those soulless special effects films starring Brendan Fraser. As Hollywood often does, the producers behind the initial 1999 film took an elegant, subdued horror classic (the 1932 Universal movie of the same name), depleted all of its nuances and intelligence, and replaced them with pricey CGI and flat characters. For another example, see Jan de Bont's wretched remake of The Haunting.
Allow us to use this space to avenge the good names of Boris Karloff, director Karl Freund, and producer Carl Laemmle, Jr. Combining their formidable talents, the trio delivered The Mummy in 1932 to audiences that were riding high on Universal's one-two punch of Dracula and Frankenstein (which also starred Karloff) in 1931.
Karloff played Imhotep, an ancient Egyptian priest brought to life inside his coffin by overzealous archaeologists. Wrapped in filthy bandages and conveying imposition through mere groaning, the English actor gave yet another stellar performance in a role that required no dialogue.