Archive for Mummy

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

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 Mummies Live

Posted in Mad Monster Merchandise with tags , , , , , , on 22 October, 2008 by Cavan

These are amazing. I followed the link from the ever wonderful Frankensteinia and found myself browsing the site of Cheshire born sculptor Mike Hill who has left the UK for the sunny climbs of LA. I’d seen his amazing Batman and Superman wax-statues in the DC Mythology book but have never seen these amazing busts. His Frankenstein sculpts have to be seen to be believed but the accuracy on these mummy busts of Karloff and Lee is staggering. Just look at that expression in the Hammer Mummy’s face and Karloff’s the Uncanny’s gaze has perhaps never been so hypnotic… 


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

“Cowabunga effendi!”

Posted in Mad Monster Merchandise with tags , , on 20 October, 2008 by Cavan

So, if you’re attacked by a mummy and don’t have any Twinkies or Special Mummy Ray, you’re pretty much doomed. Unless of course, you’re attacked by a mummified Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and then all you need is some pizza hidden somewhere on your person. In 1993, Playmates teamed up with Universal to release classic horror versions of the heroes in a halfshell. Raph found himself wrapped up. 

I remember seeing this and being an oh-so-mature 20 year old thought it was too childish to buy one. Now I’m wondering if I can find it on ebay. I shouldn’t look… should I?

In the meantime, here’s the blurb from the box:

“Taped up in a pyramid for thousands of years, disturbed by the foul Foot, Raph the Mummy lives and breathes! And he’s glowin’ to get out of his tomb and stalk the earth, just like the classic Universal Mummy! Rising from its deep dark depths, Raph the Mummy climbs out of his sarcophagus in search of Shredder – and pizza. And he’ll make anyone who gets in his way pay! The cost will be nothing less than one killer curse! And this is a curse that cannot be broken, except with a pepperoni pizza, drownin’ in olives. Raph’s easily won over with pizza, yes, but he’s still scary, cuz he glows in the dark! That helps him see at night, but it’s been so long since he’s seen the light of day, he may not know what he’s swingin’ at with his cobra sais and stealthy stone dagger! So beware – and if you ever hear a Mutant moan, you can be sure it’s Raph, the mummblin’, mummified monstrous Universal monster! Whoever wakes him better have a wedge to serve him – or you will be forever cursed, just like the Clan! “

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, .

Poll: Which is your favourite version of The Mummy?

Posted in Poll with tags , , , on 17 October, 2008 by Cavan

It’s the clash of the Mummies. Karloff vs. Lee vs. Vosloo. Monochrome vs. technicolour vs. cgi. Who will survive the desert storm? Let’s get ready to rumble! 

Thank you for voting. Now please enjoy a picture of the lovely Zita Johann, the original Mummy squeeze. Hurrah!