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Boris Karloff Creepy in 1932 Horror Hit

July 8, 2008

By Nick Chordas, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

Jul. 8–’The Mummy’

Not rated, $26.98

Hot off his success in Frankenstein, Boris Karloff — billed as “Karloff the Uncanny” — wrapped himself in rags and emerged as Im-ho-tep, a 3,700-year-old Egyptian high priest looking for his long-lost, reincarnated love.

The 1932 horror hit probably won’t scare the wits out of modern audiences, although the sight of the gaunt-faced Karloff wearing Jack Pierce’s signature makeup remains satisfyingly creepy.

Bonus features on the two-disc set include two commentary tracks and multiple documentaries. Kenneth Branagh, who remade Frankenstein, narrates a 90-minute feature on the heyday of Universal horror movies.

— Nick Chordas nchordas@dispatch.com

‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’

Not rated, $19.95

Not to be confused with the 3-D film that will open Friday in theaters, this adaptation of the Jules Verne tale was seen on ION Television (available on DirecTV and Dish Network) in January and will be reshown Saturday.

The subterranean adventure is a quickie, low-budget picture shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, and starring Rick Schroder, Peter Fonda and Victoria Pratt. The film employs many of the devices of Verne’s original story but changes the setting from Europe to Alaska.

The plot revolves around an anthropologist (Schroder) seeking a missing explorer (Fonda) in a mine shaft. About halfway through the 90-minute film, they find the center of Earth, looking much like the damp, hazy surface and populated with prehistoric beasts and primeval people.

Schroder looks and acts like Indiana Jones, but, with its flashlights, zip lines, formal dialogue and “Seward’s folly” reference, it’s hard to figure when this fantasy is set. Still, if you like the basic tale, it’s worth a viewing.

— Gary Budzak gbudzak@dispatch.com

‘Batman Begins’

PG-13, $28.99 to $49.99

Coinciding with the July 18 debut of The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan’s 2005 film, which introduced Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne, is out in three new DVD editions.

A Limited Edition Gift Set for Blu-ray comes with a 32-page booklet, a Dark Knight prologue with the first six minutes of the forthcoming film, script pages, storyboards and collectible postcards. Another Blu-ray version includes the Dark Knight prologue, and a standard-definition Limited Edition Gift Set comes with postcards, $7.50 in “movie cash” toward a ticket for The Dark Knight and more.

— Bruce Dancis McClatchy Newspapers

Not rated, $26.98

Not rated, $19.95

PG-13, $28.99 to $49.99

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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