Dir: Seth Holt
Star: Valerie Leon, Andrew Kier, James Villiers, Mark Edwards
This was based on one of Bram Stoker’s later novels, falling about mid-way chronologically between Dracula and Lair of the White Worm, and roughly in the centre in terms of quality, I suspect. Unlike the other entries, it’s set in the contemporary era, and kicks off with Margaret Fuchs (Leon) getting a ring with an F-sized jewel in it from her Egyptologist father Prof. Fuchs (Keir), on the eve of her 21st birthday. In the street across the road, the mysterious Mr. Corbeck (Villiers) watches with interest, for the ring came from the severed hand of evil queen Tera, whose grave was found by Prof Fuchs, Corbeck and their colleagues at the precise moment Margaret’s mother was dying in childbirth. Tera’s spirit enters Margaret, and waits. The expedition return to England, each possessing a relic taken from Tara’s tomb. Now, after waiting her chance, it’s time for the queen to be fully resurrected.
I have fond memories of this from my early teenage years – in particular, Ms. Leon’s cleavage. [It was probably a mistake to mention this to Chris before viewing] Still, it can’t be denied that she does pretty well in her double-role, for someone largely consigned to playing eye-candy in the rest of her career. However, the movie never gels satisfactorily around her, perhaps because it was a somewhat troubled production. Director Holt died during filming, and Kier’s role was originally played by Peter Cushing, who left the film one day into shooting, due to his wife’s illness. That they soldiered on and finished at all is somewhat impressive, but this was the third such Hammer film I watched over one weekend, and it’s basically the same concept rolled out yet again. The only significant variation is that the vengeful mummy being nicer to look at at, and while I’m not complaining about such an approach, it wasn’t enough to sustain my interest fully for 90 minutes.