Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mummies Alive Week: The Mummy's Shroud

It's cliche history, folks!  Today's film is a movie that contains a lot of the tropes and cliches that people have come to associate with the Mummy film.  The film is called The Mummy's Shroud and you will probably get a feeling of Deja Vu while hearing about/seeing it.  The plot involves a Mummy, a fortune teller and lots of killing.  Throw in some authority figure cliches, the 'evil foreigner' and you've got a movie.  This film is in kind of an odd place, as it's not a Hammer film or a Universal one.  That makes it a bit obscure, although it is readily-available on DVD.  Then again, Dahmer vs. Gacy is on DVD, so that doesn't mean a whole lot.  This movie is an interesting little piece of history.  There's no need to grab your sweater, because I have...
We get a flashback to Ancient Egypt.  Yes, we start off with one of the most overused ones to date!  It's good, but overused.  After several minutes of that, we jump to the present day and find some people looking around the tombs.  This part actually goes on for longer than you might think, especially given that a Mummy film is just an excuse to show a Mummy do stuff!  Instead, they spend about twenty minutes between the flashback and this before setting up the Mummy being brought back to life via the titular shroud.  Took you long enough!
The middle portion of the film is essentially these events, played out in a random order...

* The Mummy kills people from the group at the behest of a Fortune Teller and an Egyptian.
* The father tries to leave Egypt, rightly-afraid of being killed.
* The Police Captain tells the father not to leave and subsequently has to stop him from leaving.

Rinse and repeat for about forty-five minutes.
Eventually, the remaining heroes figure out what is going on.  Oddly, the Police don't, despite the very first victim having his head crushed!  The mother- who appears to be a younger actress in old-age make-up- and son investigate, leading them to the Fortune Teller.  The other villain commands the Mummy to attack them, leading to the best action scene of the film.  If you've never seen a Mummy swing an axe at someone, now is your chance.  Eventually, the Chief of Police shoots the villain, allowing our heroes to burn the Shroud.  This causes the Mummy to fall apart and die...for some reason.  All is well...unless you were one of the dozen people killed here.  The End.
It's not bad, but it ain't anything great either.  The plot of this movie is simple enough to work.  I do question the pacing a bit, as they draw out the actual revival of the Mummy for quite a while.  Once it goes into action, it does deliver.  Aside from the stock aspects- the evil foreigner, snooty rich guy, etc- there were a few tweaks thrown in there.  For example, the Mummy kills one guy by pouring acid all over him.  That's certainly different!  Ultimately though, the film doesn't offer a whole lot that you haven't seen before.  Even judged by the standard of its day (1967), it's nothing all that unique.  It isn't a bad Mummy film & is by far the most adequate that I've seen so far for this week's reviews.  I do find it a bit funny how the Mummy bears a striking similarity to The Scarecrow (in the face anyways).  Take us away, random fight scene.
Next up, the most famous vampire writer of all-time (not Anne Rice) brings us a Mummy tale.  Given that I've never heard of it, I'm sure that the film adaptation is going to be super!  Stay tuned...

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