The Mask of Fu Manchu Screen 3 articles

The Mask of Fu Manchu

1932

The Mask of Fu Manchu Poster
  • Perhaps the most willfully perverse of these—and definitely the least respectable—is MGM’s The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), which, despite its harrowingly vile racism, is more than worth a discussion around these topics for the singular, perplexing way it brings its own queerness to the forefront, baldly inviting its spectators to take pleasure in kinky depravity and gleefully conflating horror and desire.

  • Rivaling D. W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” in the pathology of its racially driven sexual paranoia, the movie was produced by William Randolph Hearst, whose newspapers often warned of “the yellow peril.” Given the campy gusto with which Boris Karloff plays the titular monster of depravity, it would be pleasant to think that he and his Liverpool-born director, Charles Brabin, were satirizing, rather than dramatizing, the xenophobic mythology of British imperialism.

  • Though light-years away from anything resembling political correctness, this 1932 horror thriller is often magnificent, imaginative stuff--bombastic pulp at its purple best.