Archive for the mummy Category

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Out of the Aeons (1935) – HP Lovecraft and Hazel Heald

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, mummy, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2016 by Paxton

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There were five stories written by a Massachusetts writer named Hazel Heald which were revised by HP Lovecraft and published. I’ll talk about one of those stories today.

The story is called Out of the Aeons and it was published in the April 1935 issue of Weird Tales magazine.

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Like the Doyle story The Ring of Thoth, this story isn’t a typical “mummy story”. It begins with the discovery of a mysterious mummy on a mysterious island that mysteriously appeared in the middle of the ocean and then mysteriously disappeared soon after its discovery.

The story is written as a letter of final confession for the curator of the Cabot Museum in Boston.  The letter explains that some unbelievable and terrifying events have sprung up around the mummy and this letter he’s writing is to set down on record what actually happened as museum officials have essentially “white washed” the majority of the story with the press.

Much of the story is the curator delving into the history of the mummy.  It’s a fairly interesting and creepy sort of legend that has been culled from several banned tomes like “The Black Book” and the “Necronomicon”.  About half the story is catching the reader up to what the mummy could possibly be.  The back half of the story is essentially what happens to the mummy in the museum when the story gets out and the exhibit becomes popular.  All the nutzos come out and the situation escalates to a creepy and horrific end.

I enjoyed this short story.  I think I liked it even better than the previous Lovecraft stories I read, Herbert West, Re-animator and From Beyond.  I really need to delve into some of the Cthulhu stories.  Lovecraft’s writings have sort of the “creeping dread” atmosphere that keeps you on the edge of your seat feeling like something just isn’t “right”.  Very effective.

A few tidbits of Lovecraftian mythos make appearances in this story.  One of the characters who briefly visits the mummy is awesomely named Swami Chandraputra, which is a known alias for Randolph Carter, one of Lovecraft’s recurring characters.  There are several Dark Gods listed in this story, two of them being previously mentioned as a part of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.  Lastly, the previous curator of the museum who actually discovers the mummy is named Pickman and shares this name with the painter in Lovecraft’s story Pickman’s Model.


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Mummies Alive! (1997)

Posted in cartoons, holiday, monsters, mummy, nostalgia, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 12, 2016 by Paxton

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In 1997 DIC Entertainment released the animated series Mummies Alive!

Mummies Alive title card

The premise is very mummy-y. Evil sorcerer Scarab kills the Pharaoh’s son but is entombed alive for his crime (why do they never KILL these guys? It’s always entombed ALIVE). He revives in modern day (1997) and searches for the reincarnation of the prince he killed. However, the prince’s protectors are also revived to protect him from harm. It’s a constant battle to keep Scarab from getting his hands on the reincarnated prince.

The prince’s guardians are all mummies each with the power of an Egyptian god. Ja-Kal uses the spirit of falcon, Rath uses the spirit of snake, Armon uses the spirit of ram, and Nefer-Tina uses the spirit of cat. They are able to call upon these powers for magical armor and abilities.

And in typical “cartoon magical transformations” form they call on the powers when they are in immediate danger but then it takes 30 seconds or more for all four mummies to fully transform and by then, in reality, they’d all be dead.

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To trigger their powers, the mummies call out the phrase “With the Strength of Ra!” Using these magical abilities depletes their strength, so once their strength is exhausted, they must rest in their sarcophagi to regain their abilities.

Along with Scarab, the mummies had to contend with a litany of Egyptian gods and monsters like Anubis, Set and Sekhmet.  But the best episode has to be the one where the mummies actually take a tour of Alcatraz (not even kidding).  Here’s the cartoon version of Alcatraz Island.

alcatraz

The show only ran one season but managed to pump out 42 episodes.

You can check out the very first episode, Ra! Ra! Ra! below:

Here’s the episode called The Bird-Mummy of Alcatraz where the mummies take the tour of the infamous prison:


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Lot 249 (1892) – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted in books, Classic literature, monsters, mummy with tags , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2016 by Paxton

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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story, Lot 249, was originally presented in a collection of medical stories called Round the Red Lamp.

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Published in 1892, this collection of short stories created a scandal when first released. Doyle’s fans were expecting more Sherlock Holmes-type detective and crime stories but this collection featured mostly harrowing medical stories about disease and amputation.

The story I read is called Lot 249 and is about an Oxford college student whose downstairs neighbor may or may not have reanimated an ancient Egyptian mummy through some type of dark magic.  This story was written during a late 19th-Century fascination with Egyptology and was the very first to use a reanimated mummy as the antagonist and would influence horror stories for years afterward.

It’s a short, quick read.  It reminded me a lot of Lovecraft’s Herbert West story in style, which wouldn’t be published for another thirty years.  Lot 249 is mostly three characters interacting over the course of a few days.  We get the details of the events through dialogue after the fact.  We don’t really see any of the mummy attacks.  We actually don’t really even get to see the mummy walking around.  There are a few quick glimpses in the coffin, but that’s about it.  And surprisingly enough, the story is wrapped up completely with no “will the mummy actually come alive again” type cliffhanger ending.  You could almost argue that there’s no definitive proof that the mummy did in fact come alive and start killing people.  Like I said, a lot of the eyewitness testimony is coincidental and hearsay.  Doyle leaves it up to the reader to fill in the blanks however he wants.

It’s an interesting story to read from the perspective of that this will influence the “creeping mummy” horror genre for so many years to come.  I’m glad I included it here, even if it isn’t the most exciting story I’ve ever read.  I’m a fan of Doyle and was glad to be able to include him in this year’s AWESOME-tober-fest.

In 1990, Lot 249 would be adapted as one of the chapters in the Tales from the Darkside: The Movie.  The adaptation in that movie would be written by Michael McDowell who also wrote the movie Beetlejuice and the movie novelization for Clue: The Movie.  It would star a very young Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore and Christian Slater.


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: A tomb full of mummy covers

Posted in comic books, monsters, mummy, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2016 by Paxton

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We’re getting towards the end of my mummy themed weeks.  Next week, the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest, will be my usual “greatest hits” articles where I revisit previous topics in the history of my Halloween celebration.

But, now, let’s continue our slow, creeping walk down mummy lane with a variety of mummy covers for comics and magazines.

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I spoke about this character earlier in the month, so here are two more covers for The Living Mummy’s appearances in Marvel’s Supernatural Thrillers.  (Supernatural Thrillers #7, 1974, John Romita cover, Supernatural Thrillers #11, 1975, Frank Brunner cover)

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Here’s the Living Mummy teaming up with The Thing in a cover by Ron Wilson and Chic Stone (Marvel Two-in-One, 1983).

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The Gold Key Star Trek title even got in on some mummy action. (Star Trek #21, 1973)

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Wonder Woman battling mummies in a cover by Ross Andru (Wonder Woman #161, 1966).

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The Shadow wants in on some of that battling mummies action. Cover by Frank Robbins. (The Shadow #8, 1974).

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I’ve reviewed other Dell comic monster adaptations with Frankenstein, Wolf Man and Dracula.  Here are two covers for Dell’s adaptation of the Universal Mummy movie. Unfortunately Dell didn’t try to turn the mummy into a super hero.

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If you listen to the Nerd Lunch Podcast, you should remember the character of Fantomah. I talked about her on episode 197 where we were modernizing Golden Age comic characters. CT assigned me Fantomah.  Well, Fantomah was rebooted several years after her “wild jungle girl” phase into an adventurer who was descendant of ancient Egyptian royalty.

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Here are two Hammer Horror magazines featuring cover stories on the Hammer mummy movies.  I love that Mummy’s Shroud painted cover on the right.

 


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Marvel’s The Living Mummy

Posted in comic books, monsters, mummy, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2016 by Paxton

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Marvel has had a long history with monsters.  I’ve covered several monster titles from Marvel for previous AWESOME-tober-fests like Tomb of Dracula, Frankenstein and Werewolf by Night.  Well, not surprisingly, Marvel also had a mummy character.  He was called The Living Mummy and he debuted in the horror anthology series Supernatural Thrillers, issue #5, August 1973.

Supernatural Thrillers #5

You may remember the comic Supernatural Thrillers as I reviewed issue #2 last year which contained an adaptation of HG Wells’ The Invisible Man.

The first four issues of Supernatural Thrillers were mostly adaptations of existing work; Stephenson’s Jeckyll & Hyde, Robert Howard’s Valley of the Worm, Sturgeon’s It! and the aforementioned The Invisible Man.  With issue #5, editor Roy Thomas had Steve Gerber create a new original character to be run as a feature.  While issue #6 would contain a somewhat sequel to Irving’s Sleepy Hollow, issues #7-15 would solely feature the character The Living Mummy.

Living Mummy

The Living Mummy started out as N’Kantu, son of the Chief of the Swarili Tribe in ancient Cairo.  He is 21 and is preparing to become a tribal warrior by taking the Test of the Lion.  While away on a hunt, N’Kantu returns to his tribe to discover that the Pharoah Aram-Set has conquered his tribe and enslaved them to work building monuments. N’Kantu helps plot a rebellion, but his planning is discovered and he is sprayed with a paralyzing liquid that renders him immobile. Then his blood is replaced by a special alchemical embalming fluid, he is wrapped in bandages and put in a coffin to lay, immobile, for the next thousand years.

Living Mummy origin

After about a thousand years, the paralyzing liquid wears off and N’Kantu escapes from his coffin, however, he is completely insane due to being trapped immobile in the dark for a millennia. So he goes on a rampage in “modern” Cairo.

He gets electrocuted which knocks him out, then is electrocuted AGAIN and is revived.  Goes on another rampage.  Meets an archaeologist who cures his insanity, but unfortunately N’Kantu is then sent to another dimension. And in this dimension, we get a few stories of The Living Mummy…wait for it…IN SPACE.

Mummy in space!

Yep, he’s trapped in space fighting aliens.  Doesn’t get much more awesome than that, ladies and gentlemen.

After the mummy shenanigans in Supernatural Thrillers, N’Kantu would break out and guest star in other titles like Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up and Deadpool Team Up.  He made the jump to television in the animated series Ultimate Spider-Man, Super Hero Squad and Hulk and the Agents of SMASH and even joined The Legion of Monsters at one point.


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