Monday, 22 October 2012

Halloween Movie 8. Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971)













Based on Bram Stoker's not-easily-read novel The Jewel of the Seven Stars, this is a Hammer film that, with the benefit of hindsight, represents almost the last hurrah for the traditional 'lots of old furniture and people shouting' school. I've always had a weakness for Egyptian spookery, and this one comes closet to capturing the (admittedly very silly) idea that the curse of the pharaohs might represent a truly existential  threat to modern civilization. The excellent cast includes James Villiers as a posh baddie of the old school, Andrew Keir of Quatermass fame, and the curvaceous Valerie Leon, who featured heavily in the publicity campaign for the film. This one deserves a respectful remake, I feel - modern effects could work well witthin the framework of a looming psychic onslaught. Also, today they'd make a much better job of the snake, the cat, the wandering severed hand... Anyway, there's a nice 'making of' feature here


6 comments:

Oscar Solis said...

You have to love Hammer Films. This isn't a bad little film. The making of was a nice link.

One thing that strikes me about many of these films is how very "meat and potatoes" they are. I absolutely do not mean this in a negative manner. I love how they weren't overly showy with crazy camera angles, the acting was appropriate for the era and the writing and directing was only concerned with just moving the story along. Best of all they almost never resorted to cheap scares (take out the cheap, false scares along with the buildups to that moment out of today's scare flicks and you'd effectively cut the running time in half of these movies :) )

valdemar said...

Indeed, one thing Hammer always emphasised was the story. The acting was fair to excellent, which puts a lot of modern films to shame. One thing I didn't like about The Woman in Black was just that 'buildup to the scare' approach you mention.

Sam said...

This was on the Horror Channel last night and I almost, almost recorded it to show to my children. However I still remember the genuine near terror I felt as a small child on going to bed after seeing what I think was a TV adaptation of the book a few years before. I decided I'd better not.

valdemar said...

I suppose it depends on the child. I suspect some would say its the near-naked Valerie Leon that's age-inappropriate. Though having said that, the severing of the hand right at the start is fairly grisly.

Sam said...

What scared at that age was its Ancient Egyptian-ess, in that I didn't know any remedies against anything that came from that era. I vaguely knew about how to avoid/fight vampires, witches and WW2 German and Japanese soldiers, but not what to do about that culture (a mummy you'd run from, but this was darker, older and of the desert night (as mentioned it was I think a TV adapatation, with no Valerie Leon).

valdemar said...

I wonder which TV adaptation it was? Perhaps it was a repeat from the series Mystery and Imagination?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0275284/