We start out our Halloween Horror Movie Marathon appropriately enough with the classic team-up of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in Hammer studio’s The Mummy (1959). Cushing plays the good guy this time, while Lee is the titular monster.
The Plot: You’ve heard this story before, and you’ll most likely hear it again. Back in the days of ancient Egypt, 4000 years ago, lived a Princess Ananka (Yvonne Furneaux) who had a personal bodyguard named Kharis (Christopher Lee). When she died, Kharis tried to bring her back using the Scroll of Life. He was caught and to atone for his sins against Ananka’s god, he was bound in bandages so he could become Ananka’s bodyguard for all eternity in the form of an undead Mummy.
All is well until some determined archaeologists, Steven Banning (Felix Aylmer) and his son John Banning (Peter Cushing), find the final burying place of Ananka and dare to open it up for exploration.
Years later, a worshiper of Ananka’s god brings the Mummy to England to exact his revenge on the family who dared move Ananka’s body. Poor Papa Banning goes first, then assistant Joseph (Raymond Huntley).
John Banning is almost done for when his wife walks in – and wouldn’t you know it, she looks just like old Ananka, giving the Mummy a start. Confused and believing his princess is actually still alive, he leaves John alone and returns to his master.
John’s pretty ticked off now so he goes down the street to confront the Mummy’s master and they have an oh-so-polite insult-fest and then John leaves to return home.
The Mummy attacks again, this time kidnapping Mrs. Banning but before he can take her down into the bog, she is able to get away, pretending to be Ananka. The Mummy is shot many, many times and he sinks down into the muddy bog, never to be heard from again (?).
This wasn’t one of my favorite Hammer horror films. Without Cushing or Lee I don’t think I could have sat through to the end. It was a little slow, a little repetitive, and Cushing’s character was a bit of a milksop up until he decides to confront the man setting the Mummy on his family. That scene is the highlight of the film and quite effective.
I did like the fact that Cushing’s wife was not a screechy, fearful woman. Yes, she fainted once, but if you walked in on an undead Mummy strangling your husband, I think you might faint as well. After that, she was clear-headed, intelligent and didn’t panic when it was time for her to pretend to be Ananka to save herself.
So, this is one of those ‘glad I saw it’ movies but one I doubt I’ll sit through again.