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The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb

1964

By Tom BakerPublished 18 days ago Updated 17 days ago 3 min read
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The movie mummy looks nothing like this.

A rather slow-moving mummy picture churned out by Hammer in the Good Year 1964, Curse of the Mummy's Tomb stars Ronald Howard (not Opie, or perhaps the "Un-Opie"), Terrence Morgan, Fred Clark, and Jeanne Roland in a Victorian (turn-of-the-century) macabre melodrama that starts with some noble Sahib losing his hand in Egypt, which abruptly turns into a game of Hot Potato.

Two or three Brits, one a doddering old man, the other the guy who seems to be in all these Hammer pictures as an exemplar of the very soul of bland, Mayonnaise and Wonder Bread without a slice of pickle, dig me? exult over their archaeological find, and also that they and Her Majesty seem to rule the Seven Seas and five continents. (Except North America; those mothers rule no Yankee Boys, what what.)

Yankee Boys, or at least one cigar-chomping, thumbs-in-suspenders sleazoid promoter of Egyptological research for the sake of bolstering himself as a cheap, third-rung Barnum, (played as a sort of off-brand Jason Robards by Fred Clark), brings the artifacts and the Mummy of "Ra-Anteff" back to London to put on display. (By the way, did we mention that this mummy can come back to life? Careful readers might have already gleaned that, one supposes.)

We get the standard annoying mummy movie backstory, which flashes us back five thousand years to The Dynasty of the Lower Nile (if such a thing ever existed), and something about Ra the brother of Bey being such a popular Pharaonic figurehead he is banished like Akhenaten or some damn thing, and then rubbed out by having his hand cut off like that Effendi but I don't guess anyone plays touch football with it; but, anyway, someone gets wrapped in bandages so they can go shuffling around a movie set a few millennia later. I hope he gets a good cut of the residuals in his contract.

By and large, mummy movies are replete with these ancient historical backstories, starting with the pale, skeletal, desiccated visage of Ardeth Bey in the original The Mummy (1932) with Boris Karloff, who, "didn't like to be touched [...] a cultural prejudice." There's no evidence that this mummy wants to get close and personal with you either, except maybe to throttle the life out of you. (Or crush your head under his bandaged heel, as he does to actor George Pastell after Pastell declares undying love and fealty to him; which, on the whole, seems a little ungrateful, dontcha think?)

Jeanne Roland plays a French woman with a remarkably annoying fake accent who falls in love with Adam Beauchamp, a name out of a "Dark Shadows" revival who may not be a man at all but does have an impressive 1964 oiled and slicked-back coif that comes perilously close to looking as if it were ripped off an old image of Johnny Cash. Roland starts the picture with Sir Ronald the Urbane but gravitates to Beauchamp before the viewer can even say, "Extra-marital affair."

The titular Mummy Who From the Mummy's Tomb has Emerged knocks down a doorway, and is a very odd shade of greyish-purple; he seemingly has no mouth. The latter fact is kind of cool because it suggests Undifferentiated Tissue like the stuff in Naked Lunch that covered up the Talking Asshole. I'm not sure what it's doing on a mummy (especially one so strapping that looks like he eats well and works out three days a week), but there it is.

The Sleazy American Entrepreneur gets it after being solicited in a Jack the Ripper alleyway by a Cockney-talking whore, Guvnor, and then we have some scenes in a sewer. The whole thing has the requisite watery climax of ultimate doom and destruction, but to say any more would ruin the film (if that were possible).

Hammer films are generally better packaged and titled than they are actually watchable. Although they always have a cool-looking monster and atmosphere. It's a cold, stale British porridge of warmed-over stuff, rehashed from superior flicks. But the mouthless, grey-skinned undead shambler is kind of coolly iconic for Horror Movie History, and, with that, we can go ahead and recommend the film because despite what the titular title monster would suggest, this one moves quickly and leaves little dust in its wake.

The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964) ORIGINAL TRAILER [HD 1080p]

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About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com

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Comments (2)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock17 days ago

    They were too wrapped up in the concept to bother with making it good. Then they thought that one big bandage would fix the entire thing. Sorry, old & hackneyed, much like the movie, lol.

  • Kendall Defoe 17 days ago

    Mr. Baker, you will not believe this, but I have a t-shirt advertising this very film. Think the charming actress caressing a mummy caught my attention...and wallet! Thank you for this!

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