Well here’s another American classic from AMC, the british version of The Mummy. Chris Lee plays the mummy and Pete Cushing plays the British archaeologist who gets bit on the ass by the mummy’s curse. I mean I don’t mean the mummy bites him on the ass or anything, that never happens. But after Pete, Pete Sr. and Uncle Joe unearth the princess Ananka in Egypt (best line: “There’s something evil in there Uncle Joe, I felt it. Oh well, let’s get it open.”) this angry Egyptian follows their British asses home and starts reading scrolls at em. Next thing of course the mummy’s come back from the dead and the Egyptian is commanding him to kill the party of three who fucked with the princess’s tomb.
This isn’t that good of a setup though, really. I mean you got one stiff, stumbling mummy, three potential victims, two of them old, one of them bedridden, the young one with a gimpy leg, and you know the mummy’s never gonna get Pete anyway. So I mean how much can possibly happen here? This is so little to work with that they have to spend about 10-15 minutes in the middle with Pete narrating a little educational film about ancient Egyptian burial rituals.
I’m not saying the movie is terrible, and I can’t blame this Hammer studio for wanting to do a mummy movie to seem like a classic. But watching this made me realize something. The Universal mummy movie isn’t all that hot either. Boris Karloff looks like gangbusters in his mummy makeup at the beginning, but then he’s just an Egyptian priest for the rest of the movie and it’s pretty good but it’s dull compared to Dracula, Frankenstein or Invisible Man. So I don’t want to sound racist but I think mummies in general are a big load of shit.
I mean think about vampires. They got the basic mummy characteristics: back from the dead, live in a tomb, don’t mind getting shot. BUT, they can think for themselves, walk at a reasonable speed, talk, wear capes, turn into bats, suck blood, hypnotize people. I mean WHAT the fuck is a mummy thinking, all he can do is lumber around and strangle people. It’s like the difference between Flash and Superman. Superman can do everything Flash can do plus fly, shoot beams out of his eyes, time travel, all kinds of shit. Just ask Kalspirit.
Plus vampires got the whole romance deal, the attraction to blood, the deadly but sexy thing. They kill to live, to stay young. And Frankensteins have the playing god, creating life theme and the whole misunderstood innocent brute kills by accident deal. But this Chris Lee mummy? He just does what he’s told and all he’s told is to get revenge for these three going in some lady’s tomb. I mean it’s like “Hey you kids, get offa my lawn!” That’s not classic horror, sorry bud.
This mummy is nothing but a remote control zombie. But he’s some kind of rich boy priss of a zombie, lives in a big palace crypt with gold and treasures and servants and what not. American zombies are the real deal, they just live in a little hole in the ground, they work their asses off to bring home the brains and although they may be mindless zombies they at least don’t have some dumbass in a fez telling them what’s what. They stumble wherever the fuck they wanna stumble as long as there’s not some torch or something there scaring them.
That said, Hammer’s The Mummy does get a little more interesting late in the game when you start realizing what an imperialist prick this archaeologist Pete is. He hears the Egyptian is living nearby and you know what this fucker says? “But what’s an Egyptian doing here?” Can you believe that? Like, “There goes the neighborhood.” Next thing you know he’s gonna be telling us oh no, no, I don’t have nothing against Egyptians, in fact I have three Egyptian friends.
Well Pete goes to this Egyptian’s place to “welcome him to the neighborhood.” They get to talking shop and the Egyptian mentions the idea that maybe stealing corpses from graves and putting them on display in museums is a tiny bit of desecration. You know, in a way, if you think about it. But Pete not only disagrees but starts talking shit about ancient Egyptian religion, saying that you have to be an imbecile to believe in it. Even though he’s seen the mummy with his own damn eyes!
I mean this Pete is just unbelievable. This is the same white supremist attitude that asshole Count Dracula had when he bit Mamuwalde and cursed him with the name Blacula. So even though the mummy isn’t a monster you can relate to like a vampire or a frankenstein, you start siding with the Egyptian just cause this British Pete is such a dick.
I really think mummies are all style and no substance. The Egyptian rituals and bandages and what not are real cool, but they’re just gussying up a monster with no soul. So I mean if you’re THAT into scrolls and sarcophagi then go ahead and watch this, but REALLY people, I think we can do better than a fucking mummy.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.