The Mummy (1959)

An British archaeologist (Peter Cushing) is exploring an Egyptian tomb in the late 19th Century. He is warned by a local fez wearer that bad things will happen to the person who invades the ancient burial site, but foolishly fails to heed the warnings.

Not as scary as Dracula, nor enjoying the interesting interplay between the well drawn characters of The Curse of Frankenstein, The Mummy is a solid if unexceptional entry into the Hammer Horror canon.

It follows a fairly basic and predictable plot involving the befezzed man bringing a long-dead mummy to the UK to hunt down those who disturbed the tomb, in a sequence of events very close to Dracula but without the benefit of that character’s awesome mythology.

“I’d sure better become famous one day…”

It manages to be reasonably atmospheric in places, with enough good looking sets to forget about the dodgy tomb exterior, supposedly in Egypt. It also has another great Hammer score. But the mummy itself (Christopher Lee) is less than scary and moves like a slow, lumbering zombie, similar to Hammer’s Frankenstein, something which makes it feel less threatening. Its conclusion is also woefully unsatisfactory. Without spoiling it, I will say that it’s on a par with the end of War of the Worlds.

fez up

The lack of drama between the non monster characters and obvious plot make this less than some other Hammers of the era, even if it remains a fairly enjoyable monster attack movie.

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