Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1971)

Remember the curse of King Tut’s tomb? Ten years after Tut’s burial chamber was opened, six of the twenty-six people who were present for that had all died! Well this movie suffered its own curse:  two people died and a body double was used in one nude scene!

This isn’t your typical mummy movie though because it’s based on Jewel Of The Seven Stars, by Bram Stoker. Thankfully, the plot ditches all the hokum about guys wrapped up in ratty toilet paper shambling around after people in tents, swamps and universities and instead delivers a hottie named Tera, Queen of Darkness!

Margaret Fuchs, the very buxom daughter of Dr. Fuchs, has been having nightmares about ancient Egypt. She dreams that Tera (who looks a whole lot like Margaret) is laid out in a tomb surrounded by a gaggle of high priests.

We’ve all seen enough movies set in ancient Egypt to know that when you’re surrounded by a group of high priests, a situation like this will involve some sort of hideous mutilation like having your tongue ripped out, some part of your body chopped off or some good old fashioned mummification.

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In this case the high priests have decided that they are going to use this small thing that looks a bit like a garden hoe and chop off Tera’s hand. There’s also a bunch of dire sounding talking as they do this. Once they exit the tomb though, the severed hand starts running around!

I’m not going to do any research for you to tell you about the history of the whole dismembered hand gag in horror films, but this isn’t exactly virgin territory and we all know what sort of trouble Thing from The Addams Family could get itself into on a weekly basis, so you can imagine that this hand is probably up to no good.

There’s some wind, some jackal howling, and some screaming and the next thing you know everyone has died from having their throat ripped out! Cut back to the present day and we see Margaret has a scar on her wrist!

We eventually learn that Dr. Fuchs and a group of colleagues entered a tomb which had some sort of an ancient Egyptian version of a “No Trespassing” sign posted, though they were more colorful with their warnings than we are today.

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There they locate Tera’s resting place and open it, discovering that she has been preserved perfectly. Strange events also occur back in London that seemingly tie Tera and Margaret together.

Fuchs and friends cart off all the goodies, including the body and a pile of relics. Years later these relics are scattered amongst the people who were at the tomb.

You don’t have to be an Egyptologist to know what happens next. Tera possesses Margaret and has her go on a killing spree in an effort to recover the relics. This leads to a ceremony where Tera will be brought back to life once the stars are in their proper alignment. It’s all straight out of Ancient Egyptian Resurrection for Dummies.

This was a welcome change of pace from the usual mummy fare, chiefly because there was never really any mummy in it! Gone is the usual nudity and gore that characterized many Hammer movies of the early 1970s with the focus instead being on making the film atmospheric and dream-like. In style then, it owes more to Universal’s original film, The Mummy than to any of Hammer’s previously unrelated mummy movies.

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It isn’t anywhere near as good as the Boris Karloff classic, but it is evocative of the same type of nightmarish chills found in that film. Both don’t feature any mummies per se, but instead focus on the reincarnation theme and use flashbacks and dreams to tell their tales. The Hammer film falls down though in comparison to the original because of its sometimes messy way of presenting all the details that explain who Tera is and what she’s up to.

It also doesn’t have the narrative power because this is really just a story about a guy trying to bring a monster back to life for no particular reason, whereas The Mummy was about Im-Ho-Tep’s forbidden love surviving through the ages and the afterlife.

Compared though to some of Hammer’s other mummy movies such as The Mummy’s Shroud, which was basically a slasher movie, Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb is very entertaining and a breath of fresh air amidst the generally musty smell of the genre.

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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