Horror, like almost everything in the world, is subject to fashions. So no one should be too surprised when there are a series of slasher movies or that zombies seem very much the order of the day. Of course, some fashions, and franchises, go on longer than others. Just consider Halloween, which first hit the screen way back in 1978 and now is out to ride again in 2021.
One genre that is surely due for a revival soon is the classic mummy movie. Whether they are emerging, fully bandaged, from sarcophagi in dusty old museums or pursuing Egyptologists around the maze-like interiors of torch-lit pyramids, they make for great horror films.
Of course, Ancient Egypt, in general, is a pretty rich source of material in most forms of entertainment. For example, many videogames have taken inspiration from ancient Egypt when creating characters, including Gibdo, from The Legend of Zelda. Pokemon has embraced the theme by bringing its ceremonial coffin to life with Cofagurius. Influences can also be seen in the iGaming industry, as anyone visiting a casino online will find a number of slots games based on the mythology of the time. Two examples include Ghost of Dead and Rich Wilde and the Book of Dead, itself a homage to the Indiana Jones genre of movies. Both are understandably very popular with slots fans.
To see why the subject provides such great source material you only have to look back to the true classics of the genre like the original movie, 1932’s The Mummy, starring Boris Karloff. This had real resonance with audiences coming less than a decade after Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun. This was said to bring about a curse on anyone who breached the royal burial chamber – and a number of probably unrelated events, including Carter’s premature death, added to the credibility of the myth.
Over the following decades, there were a series of Mummy movies with highlights including a four-strong series from the famous Hammer studios. These appeared between 1959 and 1967 when The Mummy’s Shroud drew a veil over the genre. Then, 1999 brought The Mummy. Directed by Stephen Sommers, this was light on horror but high on action, which has earned it a 75% Rotten Tomatoes audience score.
Now, the moment really is ripe for the return of one of the most popular horror figures of all time. You only have to look at some of the reasons why the mummy makes such a great protagonist to see why. For a start, there are all kinds of storylines that can be woven around the mummified remains of an ancient Egyptian.
They may be bringing a curse to fall upon any archaeologist who has disturbed their tomb. Or they might be hell-bent on exacting revenge on others who have wronged them in the past, for example by bringing them from Egypt to be displayed in a museum. Then there’s the terrible mystery of what the mummy may look like once they have been unwrapped from all their bandages – it leaves the viewer’s imagination to run riot speculating about what lies beneath.
In short, it all adds up to a very compelling argument to create a truly terrifying new mummy movie and throw all the CGI trickery available into the production. That could really have us all calling for our mummies!
“Tutankhamun’s Death Mask” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by hans s