Archive for the The Mummy Category

The Mummy Dark Resurrection

Posted in The Mummy, Universal with tags , , , on 3 November, 2008 by Cavan

There are a few things I couldn’t fit into Mummy month, so there will be some more mummified muttering over the next few days…

Dark Resurrection is the six of Dark Horse’s Universal Monster novels but unlike its predecessors, Michael Paine’s novel isn’t a direct sequel to the classic movie but a re-imagining. Imhotep’s backstory is slightly retconned and a new story is woven around Ardath Bey. It’s a nice little page-turner but unfortunately never really holds together. The old suspension of disbelief wears a bit thing as the cursed Joss Brandt starts having family members dropping dead left, right and centre, all in mysterious circumstances, but is still is worried about throwing a birthday party for his aging gran.

The other problem is that Paine has forgotten this is a mummy novel and instead delivers a shed-load of zombies, as corpses galore rise from the dead to rip the living apart. At first these scenes are quite chilling, but soon follows an increasingly familiar formula; a previously unseen member of the Brandt dynasty (who largely don’t seem very nice at all) are torn asunder and found dead before the action immediately shifts back to an increasingly confused Joss.

So much of the novel is spent with these undead killings, that when we finally get to the conclusion it feels as if Paine has rushed to tie up all the strands that have flapped around like a bunch of rotten bandages for the previous 200 pages.

It’s just a shame that Ardath Bey only really makes an impact on the plot in these final, rushed pages and even more of a shame that you can’t ever imagine Boris Karloff acting out the character that is supposedly based on the role he so perfectly created.

This one should have probably stayed in the tomb…

2 (out of 5) tana leaves

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Curse from the Mummy’s Tomb

Posted in The Mummy with tags , on 30 October, 2008 by Cavan

Half bone, half bandage…all blood-curdling terror!

For a movie about the curse of eternal life Hammer’s second Mummy movie is just plain lifeless. The plot, which is strangely obsessed with people’s hands being chopped off, is painfully drawn out and the acting lack-luster. Of the bad guys, Dickie Owen’s faceless mummy is a lumbering, uninspiring throw-back to the worst of the Universal Kharis pictures and Terence Morgan’s Adam Beaucamp is signposted so early on as the villain of the piece that any mystery is washed down the nile within seconds of his apperance. He might as well be wearing a sign saying ‘I’m controlling the Mummy, me, me, over here!’ The reason for his villainy is actually quite a nice twist and is one of the films few saving graces (one being the ever-watchable Fred Clark and the American showman determined to make his millions from the Mummy and our linen-wrapped juggernaut’s particularly nasty dispatch of George Pastall. It ain’t nice having your head popped beneath the foot of a 5,000 year old living corpse even if it does happen out of shot).
A weak effort from Hammer at the time where they could do little wrong.  

2 (out of 5) Tana Leaves

The Mummy’s Shroud

Posted in Hammer, The Mummy with tags , on 21 October, 2008 by Cavan

Beware the beat of the cloth-wrapped feet

Some people hate this movie, and I’ve yet to work out why. Sure, it has its faults (what Hammer horror doesn’t) but it also contains some bona fide chills that set it head and bandaged shoulders over other mummy capers.

It’s true that you do have to wait an awful long time for any mummy-action – the prologue is almost unbearable and when you get past a flashback sequence which features acting and sets that a school play would be ashamed off you then have to cope with a lot of mucking around in the desert – but when it happens, it’s certainly worth the wait. The mummy itself has been the cause of some controversy. Some say that it’s a step back from the make-up of either the Universal flicks or Hammer’s own 1959 effort. But there’s one thing to remember. This bad-boy was actually based on a real-life mummy (so to speak) found in the British Museum. While you’re missing the pathos of Lee in The Mummy, you’re treated to an unstoppable killing machine. It’s like the Terminator wrapped in linen. And once the killing starts, the fun begins. Our avenging slave, Prem, is as creative as he is unrelenting. My favourite death (which is an odd-thing to write sometimes) is Prem’s second victim who is knocked to the ground and then burnt to death after the mummy has smashed a bottle of acid over his head. Nasty doesn’t begin to cover it. Here we also have a mummy who kindly clears away after himself by hanging up the corpses in the cleaner’s cupboard, but still is apposed to braining someone against the wall when time is short. The fact that this is all carried out by a killer with an emotionless mask for a face is all the more unsettling.

Of the mummy’s co-stars, John Philips shines in his blustery performance as the glory-hunting bigot, Stanley Preston, but is acted off the screen by Michael Ripper as Preston’s put-upon and eternally nervous agent, Longbarrow. I challenge anyone to remain unmoved by his sad exit, poor soul.

Yes, I will admit that The Mummy’s Shroud has its problems. The low budget means that the sets leave a lot to be desired and some of the supporting players seem plain bored, but there’s still much to enjoy, not-the-least in the final showdown in the museum complete with an axe in the neck, words of death, a pre-Doctor Who Roger Delgado and a fantastically crumbly undead head. 

3 (out of 5) tana-leaves

It’s Hammer time: The Mummy (1959)

Posted in Hammer, The Mummy with tags , , on 18 October, 2008 by Cavan

Torn from the tomb to terrify the world!

You have to wonder about Peter Cushing’s archealogist John Banning. He’s been studying the ancient Egyptian priestess, Princess Ananka for most of his adult life, and is so dedicated to the cause that he risks being crippled forever rather than missing the opening of her tomb, and yet he doesn’t twig that his wife, rather conveniently, is the spitting image of her. What a plum.

After enduring The Mummy’s Curse I was more than releaved to fast forward fifteen years to Hammer’s 1959 The Mummy. Of course, the Terence Fisher flick is almost a Universal mega-mix. There’s the scroll of life from The Mummy, the legend of Kharis from The Mummy’s Hand and the swampy finish of The Mummy’s Curse. But while the Universal Mummy’s were set in the present day (or even the future) Hammer’s offering was firmly set in what was becoming its signature gothic style. 

There’s another Hammer icon here; Christopher Lee as the living corpse himself and without doubt Lee is the joy of this film. Encased in wonderfully rotting bandages, his is a Kharis who is brutal and driven. Though stiff-legged, when he’s set you in his sights, you don’t stand much chance. Smashing through doors and windows, he’s like a juggernaut, marching forward with terrifying speed. And then there’s those eyes. They really are the window to Kharis’s troubled soul; terrifying one second and bursting with pathos the next. The scene when he first spots the doppelgänger of his beloved Ananka is simply beautiful and on a level of Karloff’s best monster performances.

The movie does have its faults. The opening is a trifle slow and you have to question why Ananka’s tomb has escaped tomb robbers as it’s defenses seem to be a couple of doors from MFI and a piece of garden twine, but as soon as the action moves to Britain, its a full on creep-fest with sinister fez-wearing priests, drunken peasants, lunatics and even a debate of whether displaying ancient corpse’s is morally right. Mummy movies never got better than this. 

4 (out of 5) Tana Leaves

TERRIFYING TRIVIA
Ananka’s High Priest, Mehemet Bey, is played by George Pastell who eight years later, in the guise of Eric Kleig, would be raiding tombs of the planet Telos, in Doctor Who’s first tribute to the Mummy genre, .

Marvel Adventures Hulk 13: Are You My Mummy?

Posted in Comics, Superheroes, The Mummy with tags , , , , on 15 October, 2008 by Cavan

“The Thunderclap of Thor will destroy you in the name of The Living Pharoah…”

This must be the year that the Hulk faces classic monsters. This month we see him duking it out with Frankenstein’s Monster, but in July ol’ tall, green and angry faced off a New York full of mummified superheroes. Marvel Adventures is the comic book house’s range of titles that are safe for all ages but if you’re not afraid to unleash the inner kid in you, then this is full of fun. Bruce Banner, Rick Jones and their pet monkey, called, er, monkey arrive back in New York to discover that the citizens are cowering in their homes, the streets are abandoned and a giant pyramid has been built slap bang in the middle of the big apple. When they spot NYPD officers in the distance, they rush over to New York’s finest to discover what’s going on, but before you can say “Great Cheops” they realise that the cops have been turned into brain-dead mummies and Banner is hulking out to save his friends. Things go from bad to worse when it transpires that it isn’t just the police that are wrapped up (geddit?) in the affairs of that evil mutant, the Living Pharaoh, but any figure of authority on Manhatten. Unfortunately, in the Marvel universe that also includes the likes of the Avengers, Fantastic Four and X-Men. 

As I said this is just fun, pure and simple and refreshingly old fashioned to boot. Don’t be expecting the creep out horror of Marvel Zombies, or any plot that will tax your brain. That’s not to say that there isn’t something a little spooky about the mummified heroes; the wide staring eyes of Captain America is a little unsettling and the ending? Well, you’ll never look at the Silver Surfer in the same light again. 

3 (out of 5) Tana Leaves

Inca Mummy Girl

Posted in The Mummy, TV Reviews with tags , on 13 October, 2008 by Cavan

Sunnydale. You gotta wonder why people moved there. Sure, they didn’t know about the entire Hellmouth thing, but the place is as doomed as Albert Square on December 25th. When a touring Incan mummy exhibit comes to the local museum you can be sure that before long our cheerleading Vamp hunter is going to have to start kicking undead butt.

At least it’s a shapely butt. Ara Celi is stunning as a 500 year old Ican princess who escapes her tomb when a student manages to smash the seal that keeps her safely living impaired. He gets a big mummified snog and she gets all of his life energy. Before too long the truly yummy mummy is posing as an exchange student and has worked her way into Buffy’s Scooby Gang and is desperately trying to live a normal life while goofy old Xander tries to get into her… affections. The normal life thing isn’t helped though by her habit of draining life-force and scattering seriously deceased husks here, there and everywhere. This doesn’t bode well as Xander invites her to the school dance.

This episode is a typical monster-of-the-week romp from the early days of the hit series, before Buffy and co disappeared up their own continuity. The production team were obviously saving their case for the season finale as the makeup and prosthetics are minimal at best. But typically cool Buffy dialogue helps everything nip along nicely and the Mummy Girl is far easier on the eye than Lon Chaney. Interesting to see Buffy tackling one of the ‘classics’ for the first time too. The Wolf Man, Frankenstein and, of course, old Drac were to come. For once the Mummy wasn’t bringing up the rear (which isn’t just another excuse to bring up Ara Celi’s shapely form again. Honest).

3 (out of 5) Tana leaves. 

Try the taste from the tomb – Trebor Mummies

Posted in Mad Monster Merchandise, The Mummy with tags , on 7 October, 2008 by Cavan

I thought I’d imagined these sweets until I found an old post of The Cobwebbed Room blog. I remember getting the copy of Buster that came free with the mummilicious treats back in 1980. They tasted as vile and chewing on Imhotep’s jock strap if memory serves, but the adverts were cool. 

Anyone else remember them?