The Universal Classic Monsters chapter of Mummy Mondays is over… Now it is time for Hammer Horror! This is the first The Mummy movie in color, and is the second of four movies titled The Mummy that I’ll be talking about (that’s actually why I included the year of release in the titles which I started this blog).
If you’ve seen the previous The Mummy movies (or read my thoughts on them), you recognize a lot of story elements. We have the Scroll of Life and Joseph Whemple from 1932’s The Mummy, but the rest of the characters and plot points are from The Mummy’s Hand, The Mummy’s Tomb, and The Mummy’s Ghost. Back are Steve Banning, John Banning, Isobel Banning, Mehemet Bey, Kharis, Princess Ananka, and the god Karnak. So what exactly does this movie do differently, then?
Well for one thing it’s longer than an hour, although I don’t know if it needed to be. We have an extended flashback detailing Princess Ananka’s death and Kharis’ punishment that goes on for at least 20 minutes. And really, I get why: Kharis is played by Mr. Christopher Lee (in slight brownface, which is never dated and always a good idea), and as the Mummy he never speaks. Through the flashback we get several scenes where he actually gets to talk, so that’s… not really worth all the time eaten up by the flashback, but oh well. At least Kharis’ backstory isn’t as egregious as the second flashback, cutting to earlier in the same movie! Sure, that had additional footage, but it felt like the worst kind of padding.
At least the story’s decent, even if it is very familiar. Mehemet sends Kharis to kill those who desecrated Princess Ananka’s tomb, but when trying to kill John Banning (Peter Cushing), Kharis mistakes Isobel for Ananka and retreats. In the end he grabs her and carries her into the swamp, like the ending of The Mummy’s Ghost, only here she escapes, the townsfolk shoot Kharis to shit, and the day is saved. To the best of my knowledge this is the actual last time we see Kharis (outside of a companion game to 2017’s The Mummy that has since been removed from the internet), so rest well, you shambling bastard. You’ve earned it.
MUMMY FUN FACT! Man, Christopher Lee–who looked pretty good as the Mummy–got beat all to hell in this movie… He bashed his shins while walking through the fake swamp, dislocated his shoulder crashing through a door, threw his back out carrying Isobel, and got burned by the squibs (miniature explosives to make it look like a movie gunshot actually hit).
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