The Suspense of Silence Used Effectively in The Mummy

It’s obvious that films today can kill a scene with too much CGI. We saw what Lucas did with the original Star Wars scenes. Particularly, in horror this can absolutely kill the mood. Instead of CGI what other organic methods can be used? Silence is one of the most powerful techniques in any interaction. There are situations where something unsaid can say volumes, whereas a spoken word could kill or dampen an effect. Especially in today’s culture, silence is overwhelmingly overlooked and underused. Think of pregnant pauses, or even uncomfortable silences that may only last seconds but seem like an eternity to those stuck in that scenario. It was a great technique used by some of the horror directors in the 30’s and Karl Freund used it to great effect in 1932’s The Mummy. Essentially there are times in a horror film where instead of ratcheting up the theme music, and intensifying the emotions of the actors and audience to build up anticipation for a fright, it can be equally if not more effective to slow things down, slow the heartbeat of the viewer, and make everything dead still and dead quiet. In that scenario the motionless silence can be excruciatingly uncomfortable as the anticipation builds for whatever is about to happen.

 

The First Ever Reveal of The Mummy Is One of the Great Scenes in the Mummy Genre

The first reveal ever of the Mummy on film uses this technique; and what is brilliant about the scene is the reaction of Bramwell Fletcher, the actor who encounters the mummy for the first time. So this is not necessarily a spoiler, if you haven’t seen yet, but the audience does not see the monster right away, but understands that the monster is present through the reaction of the actor, Fletcher. It is a bit of a startling scene that juxtaposes dead silence with sudden shrieking terror- with a bit of unintentional comedy mixed in. As far as introducing the Mummy on screen for the first time, this scene could not have done it better.

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