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Haram Alek

Ismail and Abdel Meet Frankenstein
Have Mercy / Shame on You

Egypt 1954
produced by
Studio Elgiza
directed by Essa Karama
starring Ismail Yassin, Abdel Fatah Al Kasri
written by Gamal Hamdi

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Ismail (Ismail Yassin) and Abdel (Abdel Fatah Al Kasri) work in an antique store when one day they are delivered two crates, both containing corpses, one that of professor Assim - who looks a lot like Bela Lugosi's Dracula -, the other that of a mummy, the Son of Bakhtur - who looks a lot like Boris Karloff's Frankenstein. Of course, both of these corpses rise, scaring the shit out of Ismail and Abdel, and costing them their jobs, once the crates are found empty.

Ismail's girlfriend Samya however comes to their rescue and hires them as waiters at a masque. But how come bumbling and naive Ismail has a girlfriend as attractive as Samya, who doesn't seem to mind his shortcomings one bit and helps him out of one jam after the next ?

Fact is, Samya is the assistant of professor Assim, and professor Assim wants to find out the secret of live mummies from the Son of Bakhtur, but for that, the mummy needs another brain, one that is not too crammed with knowledge possibly - so whose better to use than Ismail's ?

Thing is, professor Assim is not a brain surgeon, so he can't perform the brain surgery himself ... and thus he has put a curse a brain surgeon, Mourad - incidently the fiancé of his niece Alaff -, to turn into a wolf every time a dog barks (which is quite often during the movie), and he will only turn him back once the operation is performed.

After all the usual shenanigans, professor Assim faces both the wolfman and the Son of Bakhtour in the finale, and unfortunately right then and there he loses his hypnotic ring, which eventually leads to a clash between the three parties - at the end of which the professor and the mummy fall out of a window to their death, while Mourad, essentially a good guy, turns back to normal and the curse is lifted.


Quite obviously, this film is an Arabic language remake of Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein, with not only some plotelements lifted from that movie but even some comedy routines and extended sequences. For that and that alone Abbott and Costello-fans and Universal horror afficionados hate the film, and truth to be told, Haram Alek isn't all that good, and production value-wise, it's a definite step down from Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein. Having said that though, Haram Alek isn't as bad in comparison as people make it out to be, Ismail and Abdel are actually an improvement over Abbott and Costello (whose humour I have to admit always was beyond - or rather below - me), the film doesn't suffer quite as much from the ramifications imposed by the continuity of the Universal horror cycle, and the shoddy sets and make-up are actually quite endearing - to trashfilm lovers like myself.

One thing I still don't understand though: Why does the mummy look like Frankenstein ?


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD