Average Karloff Classic!
When I first found out about The Ghoul (1933 horror film with Boris Karloff as the soon to be dead worshiper of Anubis) I thought it was going to be a schlock fest of corny lines and bad acting.
And it was! To a degree!
The story opens with a furtive gentleman of the Egyptian persuasion who runs up against a man who supposedly stole the Jewel of Life, a honker of a jewel that the Egyptian guy (Mr. Dragoray) has been searching for two years. But wouldn't you know it, it was sold for $75,000 to Professor Morland (who is conveniently dying in his deathbed, leaving instructions to his greedy servant with the Scottish accent, Lang).
The story eventually leads us to our hero, the snotty arrogant nephew of Morland, Raef and his cousin Ms. Holland, who for some reason hate each other because of family tradition. Yeah, I know.
The story is a bit more complex than what I expected.
Karloff warns that if he does not have the jewel in his hand then he will rise on the full moon. Well since he didn't have it buried with him (Lang stole it -- subplot of the various places he hides it) he rises! Or does he?
Or was he buried alive, a victim of catalepsy?
And who is this pastor who's hanging around?
Several people are after this $75,000 (in 1933 money!) jewel and are willing to kill to get it.
The humorous parts fall flat. The unintentional humor is hilarious. As Karloff tramps around the countryside looking for revenge, one is reminded of his Frankenstein's monster days and with a bit of the Egyptian mummy thrown in, it makes for a schlocky and yes, even scary at times, film.
When Karloff bends bars with his bare hands -- what a ghoul will do to have a little fun?
The make-up is quite frightful, especially with the closed-eye stuff on Karloff. And Ernest Thesiger who plays the Scottish creep Lang, would later go on as Dr. Praetorius in Bride of Frankenstein.
The film is dark, very dark. So dark that they have all the lighting done up in candles! Makes it hard to see on a streaming video on a flat screen! A must-see for Karloff fans, though clearly not his best horror.
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