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The Mummy – Review

The Mummy – Review

Mar 28, 2011

reviewed by hallo
directed by Terence Fisher, 1959
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Legendary horror director Terence Fisher cemented his status as horror icon with the release of the 1958 masterpiece Horror of Dracula.  The movie set box-office records in the UK and the US, only to be broken one year later by the release of The Mummy.  Yes, Hammer Horror was establishing itself early on as a force to be reckoned with, arguably remaking Universal’s most prized horror gems into even better stories and adaptations.

The Mummy is about a team of archaeologists in the 1890’s who discover the tomb of the Egyptian princess Ananka.  There is much celebration over the once-in-a-lifetime find except when Ananka’s high priest returns from the dead to destroy those who desecrated her tomb.  They can’t say they weren’t warned – just before the team opened the tomb, a messenger of doom (who reminded me of Kazim from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), who still worships the God Karnak, declared that all who desecrated Anaka’s place of slumber would be destroyed.  It is this mysterious Egyptian who eventually summons the power of Kharis, the high priest, and bids him the task of hunting down and killing the archaeologists.

Peter Cushing stars at John Banning, one of the three desecrators, and Christopher Lee portrays the high priest/mummy.  Although The Mummy lacks the charm, elegance, and beauty of Horror of Dracula, there is still much to be appreciated in the film.  Lee presents a sympathetic monster who is more concerned with his true love Ananka than he is on the destruction of the desacrators.  When Banning’s wife appears on the scene and looks strikingly similar to the Princess Ananka, the intentions and loyalties of the mummy dramatically change.  In this way, The Mummy reminds the viewing audience that the heart for a woman can soften even the most determined acts of revenge.

In a neat piece of trivia, The Mummy was one of those films where the principle artwork and posters were released before the movie had even finished production.  Many times, the artwork was not in parallel with the imagery of the film.  So, when Christopher Lee saw the movie poster with a big hole gaping in the mummy’s chest, he was determined to make sure that happened.   So, at the end of the movie, we see the mummy getting elephant guns blasted through him.

This is just simply a classic that must be viewed by every horror fan.  Don’t go into it expecting Brendan Fraiser.  It is way better than that.

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