MARCH 15, 2012
You know why "Yummy Mummy" never took off like "Count Chocula" and the others? Because most Mummy movies would bore the shit out of the kids who make up the target audience for breakfast cereals. Ironically, it would be long past that cereal’s lifetime before Stephen Sommers would unleash his mostly terrible (but kid-friendly) Mummy series on the world, so until then kids would get their mummy movie fix from stuff like Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb, the fourth and last Hammer film in this “series”.
I’ve seen worse Hammer films, but rarely one this uninvolving. The plot is decent enough – a mummy will be resurrected once she gets the objects back that were stolen from her tomb, and of course, each object’s owner will be killed in this process. Those kills give the movie its only semblance of action, but such moments are not only too infrequent, but they’re drawn out and dull. The guy with the little totem of a snake, for example – there’s like three straight minutes of him just yelling and running around his room, intercut with shots of the inanimate snake. If you have this movie on DVD, you should probably take advantage of your PS3, which lets you watch the movie at 1.5x speed with the sound still playing. It’ll still be too slow, but at least you’ll be done a half hour sooner.
Another issue is that there’s no actual mummy running around; our long-dead Egyptian character (Queen Tera) spends the entire movie in her sarcophagus, using supernatural powers to do her bidding. So it’s sort of like a Final Destination movie where there’s no actual on-screen villain, except nowhere near as fun or eventful. Maybe if the death scenes were a little more elaborate, or there was some sort of mystery behind it all, it would be more interesting, but everything’s pretty straightforward and lacking any excitement.
There are two things saving it from a total loss, however. One is (spoiler!) the grim ending, which sees the death of pretty much every character. Ordinarily the hero would pull the heroine out of danger as the lab/castle/dungeon/whatever burned to the ground around them, but that can’t happen here, because he was already dead! Our guy dies like 15 minutes before the movie’s end, which is a pretty nice surprise. The only survivor is the heroine, but it’s got some great irony built into it – she’s so banged up that she’s now in a full body wrap herself – just like a mummy!
The other “life-saver” is Valerie Leon, playing both Tera and Margaret, the heroine. I can’t consider myself a full-fledged expert on Hammer by any stretch of the imagination, but she HAS to be one of the top 5 most gorgeous and sexy women in the “Hammer Glamour” canon, right? Good lord. And it’s a fun showcase for her as well, because she spends half the movie as the heroine and the other half as a villain, so I’m satisfied on all levels. The rest of the cast didn’t leave as much of an impression – most of them are just older British dudes with beards, which makes her shine even more. Peter Cushing was originally cast as her dad, but his wife fell ill and he was replaced by Andrew Keir. Not a bad actor, but that’s the equivalent of hiring someone like Bruce Willis to star in your action movie and having to replace him with Beau Bridges. Or expecting a review from Roger Ebert and getting me.
Cushing wasn’t the only replacement on the production – director Seth Holt actually died on the set (heart attack) with a week’s worth of filming to go. Unless it was just the sight of Leon in one of her cleavage-baring costumes, I can’t imagine what could have excited him enough on this production to give him a heart attack (he was only 47 years old), but it’s still a shame. The film was completed by Michael Carreras, who directed the previous entry (and produced Dracula AD 1972, among others), but he’s dead now too so there’s not a lot of other info about the movie online. Even the book it’s based on – Bram Stoker’s “The Jewel Of Seven Stars” – has a pretty flimsy Wikipedia page, though it suggests that the movie’s grim ending was taken from the source novel. Anyone read it? Better than the movie, I assume?
Oh well. They can’t all be winners. I still love ya, Hammer.
What say you?