THE MUMMY (1932)
THE MUMMY (1999)

Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron, Edward Van Sloan and Bramwell Fletcher

Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr, Patricia Velasquez and Kevin J. O'Connor

Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr, Patricia Velasquez, Freddie Boath and The Rock

Karl Freund (1932) and Stephen Sommers

Running Times:
73 mins (The Mummy (1932)), 125 mins (The Mummy (1999)), 130 mins (The Mummy Returns)

15 (The Mummy 1932), 12 (The Mummy, The Mummy Returns)

Out to buy individually on DVD 21/07/08

1921, a field expedition in Egypt uncovers the burial tomb of an ancient Prince called Im-ho-tep (Karloff), a heretic who was buried alive for sins against the gods but when someone reads from the scroll buried with him, he returns to live. Killing anyone who stands in his way, Im-ho-tep becomes Ardath Bey, who reveals to latest expedition the location of burial chamber of bride Princess Anck-es-en-Amon (Johann) but he wants to bring her back from the grave the same way he has returned.

1923, English librarian Evelyn Carnahan (Weisz) stubbles upon evidence that the lost Egyptian city of Hamunaptra, the place where the treasure of the Pharaohs actually exists and that American prisoner Rick O'Connell has been there. As the pair and her bother Jonathan (Hannah) head to the ancient city they do not know what is waiting for them. For Hamunaptra is the final burial place of High Priest Imhotep (Vosloo), who must not be disturbed or he will be awaked and bring back the seven plagues of Egypt to the entire world.

1933, Rick (Fraser) and Evie (Weisz) O'Connell are now married with an eight-year-old son, Alex (Boath). Now consummate archaeologists, Evie is drawn to an ancient Egyptian chamber that holds the bracelet of the Scorpion King (The Rock). Unbeknown to them, the reincarnation of Anck-Su-Namun (Velasquez) is trying to resurrect her love, Imhotep (Vosloo), because if he has possession of the bracelet, he will have the power to take over the world.

Back in the golden era of Hollywood, Universal was known as the studio with the movie monsters and at the turn of the new millennium, they resurrected one of their favourites, The Mummy.

The original Universal version of 'The Mummy' was released in 1932 and starred the biggest name in horror at the time, the immortal Boris Karloff as Im-ho-tep, the Egyptian prince buried alive by the Pharaoh. Resurrected by someone reading from the Scroll of Thoth, Im-ho-tep becomes Ardath Bey and places himself with the expedition circles and when he reveals the location of tomb of Princess Anck-es-en-Amon, with the plan to resurrect his former love using the same ancient scroll, killing anyone who stands in his way. What he doesn't expect however is meeting Helen Grosvenor, the reincarnation of his long dead love who responds to the reading of scroll.

The original, as with the versions of 'Frankenstein', 'Dracula', 'The Invisible Man' and 'The Creature from the Black Lagoon', set the standard for classic horror movie monster telling. Even though the acting wasn't the greatest, the dialogue was awful but the stories are ever lasting and Boris Karloff is still unsurpassed in horror circles.

1999 saw Universal resurrect their name as the studio for monsters with a new version of 'The Mummy'. Of course with the advances in technology, this was going to be an all out action movie that would re-ignite the movie monster franchise and it did. Mixing horror with adventure, very much in the same style as the 'Indiana Jones' films, the movie succeeds on the strengths of the concept, which takes, runs with and updates. The movie introduces us to a very different kind of Mummy, one that regenerates and has control over the seven plagues of Egypt and the desert sand. Played by Arnold Vosloo, this is a powerful, old school horror villain who has to feed on the life force of those cursed to have opened the tomb but then has the power to take over the world. To counter act this we have the introduction of a fearless action character, who will save the world and get the girl.

His name is Rick O'Connell and played by Brendan Fraser, he is an old school adventure hero and one that is very reminiscent of heroes from the classic serials of the era that also influenced 'Indiana Jones'. The damsel in distress is a little more modern however, with Evelyn Carnahan, played by the wonderful Rachel Weisz, able to hold her own even though she is a little dizzy. You also have the hapless brother in the shape of Jonathan, played by John Hannah and the local fighter Ardeth Bay, played by Oded Fehr.

Back in 1999 the movie reinvigorated the action adventure franchise and made grandiose adventure fashionable again.

2001 saw us return to the desert for another Egyptian adventure but this time Rick O'Connell and Imhotep have to fight an even bigger evil for in the shape of the Scorpion King and the army of Anubis. Rick and Evelyn are now married with an eight-year-old son called Alex. While they are on there latest dig in Egypt, Evie, played again by the excellent Rachel Weisz, makes a discovery that could lead them to the fabled treasure of the Scorpion King. This comes in the shape of the bracelet of Anubis. Unfortunately the followers of Imhotep also want the bracelet, as it will lead them to a lost oasis were they can gain control of the Army of Anubis and take over the world. All they have to do is defeat the Scorpion King and Imhotep, with all his power, is the only one that can do it.

With all the main cast returning and the Rock, Dwayne Johnston joining as The Scorpion King, this hits the ground running and is relentless in its action sequences. The plot is of course far fetched and takes what is left from the original 1932 version. Stephen Sommers delivers another action filled adventure that you cannot help but enjoy.

The Universal Mummy films are only to be enjoyed. The original is suitably hooky and sets the standard for the rest to follow and Stephen Sommers' versions are a lot of fun, but never genre defining. While they have problems keeping up with the Jones, this is action horror adventure at its cinematic best.

THE MUMMY (1932)
THE MUMMY (1999)


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