The Mummy's Shroud

Dir: John Gilling
Star: André Morell, John Phillips, David Buck, Maggie Kimberly

Got to say, I love that poster, which makes it seem like this is a bandaged version of King Kong or something. Of course, the reality is nothing like that. Instead, it's the usual: to wit, find the tomb, open the tomb, be cursed by the tomb, get "paralyzed with fear" (rather than mustering the gentle amble necessary to out-run the mummy), die. Rinse and repeat, until someone finds the necessary scroll, amulet or widget necessary to stop the mummy - or better yet, turn it against its controller. This lack of variety might be why you can get a rush of, say, zombie or vampire flicks, yet mummy movies only seem to appear about once every five years. This one, in particular, apes Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, with a blustering, egomaniacal leader Stanley Preston (Phillips), overseeing the expedition of Sir Basil Walden (Morrell) and his minions. Despite the usual dire warning from a local - Roger Delgado, who played The Master in early 70's Doctor Who eps - they go ahead with the dig, uncovering a young prince's corpse, and take it back to Cairo, re-uniting it with the mummy of his bodyguard. The mummy is so delighted at the reunion, he wants to give each of the expedition members hugs of gratitude. By the neck.

The main change here is that this takes place entirely in "Egypt". Quotes are used advisedly, since it's apparent that Hammer's budget was not up to the cost of doing any significant shooting there - even the "desert" sequence was shot in a Gerrard's Cross quarry. They'd probably have been better off not bothering, rather than having actors black up unconvincingly to play Egyptians. Otherwise, things unfold in exactly the way I've come to expect, with little in the way of surprises, except for Kimberly's curious similarity to Angelina Jolie. The only other point of note is Hammer stalwart Michael Ripper - for once, not playing "innkeeper" or "constable", but getting to sink his teeth into a proper role as Preston's flunky, and it's a pleasure to see. The mummy, unfortunately, looks like someone simply put a papier-mache mask onto the actor, and almost completely fails to exude any kind of menace. Maybe I've just become jaded; however, if it's another decade or so before I see another mummy movie, that'll be fine by me.

[November 2010]

Shroud of Cairo
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