Mummy Mondays is continuing to shamble along, this week with the penultimate Mummy film from Hammer Horror: The Mummy’s Shroud! And like last week we’re changing up the formula a bit! Sure, the villain is still an incredibly slow, shambling corpse, but, like, this time he didn’t have an undead boner for a lady.
We start with a flashback explaining who the Mummy is this time. When the pharaoh has a son, Kah-to-Bey, his fatherly adoration blinds him to the scheming of his brother. A coup kills the pharaoh while a young Kah-to-Bey escapes with his loyal slave, Prem. Huh, I guess The Lion King truly is universal. Anyway, Kah-to-Bey doesn’t survive long, and Prem buries him while swearing to protect the young ruler forever. So our Mummy this time isn’t royalty, but is a slave! Hm, okay, I can see the problem with that. It’s not the best, but I do appreciate something different.
Cut to 1920 when a cast of characters find the hidden body of Kah-to-Bey, covered in the titular Mummy’s shroud. Important protagonists include yet another rich asshole financing everything (Stanley Preston), his son who hates him (Paul), and the son’s semi-psychic girlfriend (Claire). There are several other less important characters, but for the most part they’re just to add to the body count. Angered by the desecration of the boy pharaoh’s tomb, a guardian named Hasmid uses the shroud to command Prem to murder the infidels. No one has any idea what’s happening–despite some psychic premonitions–until the financial backer dies. When the Mummy comes for Claire, Paul rushes to her rescue. Hasmid is killed, the shroud is taken by Claire, and with it she speaks the words of death which causes Prem to crush his own skull. The shroud is returned to the corpse of Kah-to-Bay, and the day is saved. I mean, minus the half a dozen or so dead people.
While Paul and Claire are arguably the mainest of main characters, they’re not the most interesting characters. Hasmid and his psychic mother–all of the women in the movie either have psychic powers or a strong sense of intuition–are delightfully sinister. But the real standout roles start with Barbara, the mother of Paul and wife to Stanley. She’s got this constant level of detachment from her husband, but when she realizes that she never entered the tomb so she’s safe from these strange murders, it becomes this absolutely chilling contempt for the man. And he’s an ass, so he deserves it. Then there’s Longbarrow, the doting assistant to Stanley. He’s not at all important to the plot so I didn’t mention him earlier, but he gives the role 110%. Stanley at first promises to take Longbarrow with him when he flees the country, but when he changes his mind, Longbarrow’s disappointment is heartbreaking. Then he accidentally smashes his own glasses right as the Mummy is coming to kill him, and for the first time in all of these movies I felt really bad about one of the victims dying. He wasn’t my favorite character, but he’s so meek it felt like a complete “kick the dog” moment.
MUMMY FUN FACT! Longbarrow was played by Mr. Michael Ripper, who was actually in the previous two Hammer Films Mummy movies! In The Mummy he was a random poacher, and in The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb he played an Egyptian servant named Achmed (not to be confused with Ahmed, the villain of the Goosebumps book, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb). Sadly he does not appear in Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, because as far as I can tell, no actor has been in 4 Mummy movies consecutively (by my count, he’s tied with George Zucco at 3, while non-actors/non-producers tied at 5 include makeup artist Jack P. Pierce, costume designer Vera West, and set decorator Russell A. Gausman).
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