Archive for The Mummy

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Fangoria #182 (1999) – Mummy Mania issue

Posted in Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2016 by Paxton

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Time to dip down into my stack of old Fangoria magazines to see if there are any cool mummy issues.

Oh look!  Found one.

Check out Fangoria #182 from May 1999. It’s the Mummy Mania issue with a cover story about the new Stephen Sommers directed The Mummy remake.

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The issue features lots of other mummy based articles.  The one I want to look at today, though, is an in-depth blow by blow of the history of the mummy in cinema. It’s called “Show Me the Mummy”.

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It’s a more straight forward historical account of the birth and proliferation of mummy movies than that Starlog invisible man article from last year that tried to write the history of the invisible man in popular culture into a weird, narrative story that presumes invisibility actually exists.  Essentially turning movies and TV shows with invisible people into “historical documents”.  This article, is a nicely researched account that doesn’t just list out mummy movies but gives some background info into some of the bigger releases.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: I Love Mummy (2002)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, mummy, nostalgia, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2016 by Paxton

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Okay, I went back and forth on several mummy TV shows to feature today, but I think I found a good one. And by “good one”, I mean it’s terrible. Let’s check out I Love Mummy, a UK-Canadian production from 2002.

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A family inherits an old house which inexplicable contains the sarcophagus of a 3000 year old Egyptian prince in the attic.

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The young son unwittingly opens the sarcophagus and out pops the wrapped up prince.  And a chase around the kitchen table ensues.

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After lots of screaming and the aforementioned chase around the kitchen table, we find out the prince is sort of a spoiled royal brat. We even flashback to ancient Egypt to see proof of his bratty behavior.

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After he died while surfing down the exterior of the Sphinx, he became stuck in purgatory. He’ll have to stay stuck in purgatory until he completes a list (on a scroll, of course) of things he has to learn on his own.  I wonder if this is where the idea for My Name is Earl came from.

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Obviously the family is reluctant to take this responsibility on, but the young son has become “attached”. So he doofuses his way into making the family “keep” the undead pharaoh. Because, let’s not forget, he is undead.

The show is, in a word, awful. I didn’t expect any better, to be honest. But there are two things that make this show interesting.  First, the daughter, Stephy, played by Kelly Turner, is crazy hot.

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Second, the mummy, Nuff, is played by Elyes Gabel. You may not recognize that name, but he’s currently the star of that CBS show, Scorpion.

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And after seeing both shows, I don’t think there’s that much a difference in quality between the two.


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: The Mummy: The Animated Series (2001)

Posted in cartoons, holiday, monsters, movies, mummy, nostalgia, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 18, 2016 by Paxton

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This year, despite my theme being mummies, I decided not to watch or review the most recent Universal The Mummy movies starring Brendan Fraser as Rick O’Connell.  I liked those movies okay, but I had other lesser known movies I wanted to watch and talk about first.  However, as a compromise, I decided to mention the animated series that is based on those movies.

In 2001, the WB aired The Mummy: The Animated Series. It was loosely based on the first two Stephen Sommers The Mummy movies.

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The main characters are, of course, Evie and Rick O’Connell, their son Alex, Evie’s brother Johnathan and the evil mummy Imhotep.  Rick O’Connell, surprisingly, is not voiced by Brendan Fraser (what, was he busy?).  He’s voiced by none other than Bo Duke himself, John Schneider.  There’s another character in here called The Minotaur that is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson who voiced The Joker in the 2004 animated The Batman series as well as a slew of other roles in super hero cartoons like Avengers Assemble, Hulk and the Agents of SMASH, Ultimate Spider-Man, Young Justice, etc.

The plot somewhat retcons the movies a little.  Back in ancient Egypt, Imhotep is in possession of the Scrolls of Thebes and is searching for the Manacle of Osiris. Just as he’s about to steal it, he’s caught and sentenced to be mummified alive (again, why ALIVE?!).  Flash forward to present day, Imhotep is revived by Colin Weasler and he begins the hunt for the Manacle anew.  Like in The Mummy Returns, Alex gets the Manacle on his own arm which causes Imhotep to hunt him to obtain it.  Rick and Evie battle Imhotep to keep the Manacle away from him with the help of the Medjai, sacred protectors of ancient Egypt.

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There’s a lot of Medjai back story in the cartoon as well as plenty of searches for things with “of” in the title (Manacle of Osiris, Scythe of Anubis, Lake of Eternity, etc, etc).  It’s a not bad, if not great, animated cartoon adventure series. About as good as those last two Fraser Mummy movies.


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Hammer Studio’s The Mummy (1959)

Posted in Genres, horror, monsters, movies, mummy, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on October 14, 2016 by Paxton

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Okay, I’m doing a more popular monster, so I get to visit a Hammer film this year!  In 1959, one of the more prolific Hammer directors, Terence Fisher, as well as one of the more prominent writers, Jimmy Sangster, tackled Hammer’s version of The Mummy.

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It starred the usual Hammer all stars, Peter Cushing as John Banning and Christopher Lee as the mummy.  As in the other Hammer monster movies, their mummy movie was based on Universal’s version, but maybe not the one you’d think.  Instead of re-adapting Universal’s 1932 The Mummy, starring Boris Karloff, this movie takes it’s story from two of the later Universal mummy sequels; The Mummy’s Hand (1940) and The Mummy’s Tomb (1942).  With a little bit of the climax from The Mummy’s Ghost (1944).  And while the Karloff version is held in higher regard, I feel the sequels have a bit more fun with the subject.

So, how did Hammer do?  I love the Hammer aesthetic.  Check out my reviews for Horror of Dracula or Curse of Frankenstein.  When Hammer works, it’s dynamite.  When it doesn’t, you get well meaning missteps like Curse of the Werewolf.

I won’t say this particular movie was a misstep.  But it wasn’t a favorite.  It just seemed to drag a lot, especially in the middle.  But while the story was lacking, the other Hammer touches where there.  The set design is GREAT.

The tombs look great and are set designed in that spectacular way that Hammer usually does.  I mean check out the above picture of the recently opened tomb.  It’s not been opened in thousands of years but the green lights apparently still work.  Amazing.

Also, Cushing and Lee are great as always.  I just love watching Cushing be gentlemanly and awesome.

And Lee’s mummy looks just incredible as well. Especially when he’s getting shotgunned in the chest by Peter Cushing.

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And check out this “ancient scroll” that is the basis for much of the plot of this movie.

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Looks like it was printed last Thursday at Kinkos.  That being said, it’s beautiful looking.  Take a look at the inscriptions on the left picture (click it).  That’s some wonderfully detailed imagery for just a few seconds of on screen footage.  That’s Hammer for you.

Here’s where I think the problem lies.  The mummy, as a monster, is essentially boring.  He’s too passive.  Much like my issues with traditional zombies, I don’t really enjoy watching mummy movies.  And that’s my  main problem with this movie.  The mummy is used as “muscle”, the second banana if you will. It’s probably why I like the Brendan Fraser mummy movies a bit more because I feel like that mummy was in charge. He actually felt dangerous.  While it was fun to watch Cushing and Lee, the overall story was a bit boring, but that’s a problem with most mummy movies for me and not necessarily a problem with Hammer’s movie.


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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!

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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.

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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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