Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

More Mummy

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Something has been nagging at the back of my mind since I posted my non-review of The Mummy, and finally this afternoon – possibly inspired by the Egyptian-desert-grade heat here where I live – I finally got it.
Because there was something –  the new mummy movie featuring Tom Cruise is actually closer to a “reboot” of the 1971 Hammer classic Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb than than any Universal Mummy film.

We get the lot: the cursed, evil Egyptian queen, the resurrection/reincarnation bit, and the world shattering plot.
Nice and smooth.

And of course Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb is very loosely based on the 1903 Bram Stoker novel The Jewel of Seven Stars (that you can read for free from Gutenberg).
According to Wikipedia

The story is a first-person narrative of a young man pulled into an archaeologist’s plot to revive Queen Tera, an ancient Egyptian mummy. It explores common fin-de-siecle themes such as imperialism, the rise of the New Woman and feminism, and societal progress.

Now I don’t remember feminism and the New Woman being discussed in the Hammer movie. But maybe I was distracted.
I do remember Valerie Leon.

blood from the mummy's tomb 06

 

Incidentally, this is one of those movies I saw as a kid in the parish’s cinema – and I still wonder how the heck the don was able to get away with it.
I mean, OK Godzilla vs Mothra or Matango, attack of the Mushroom People, fine with Tarzan and Zorro but… really? Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb? Ah!
Those were the days.

 

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Anyway, my childhood traumas apart – the film is fun and worth a look, and also comes with its own small (or not-so-small) curse attached: Peter Cushing had to drop out after one day of shooting because his wife was diagnosed with emphysema, and director Seth Holt died of a heart attack on set, one week from the closing of the shoot.

Granted, it’s 1903 seen through the eyes of 1971, with all the obvious drawbacks, naivete and concerns, but it still holds, in my opinion.

The Stoker novel, too, is quite interesting, as its queen Tera is loosely based on queen Hatsepsut – the woman that would be king, or better, pharaoh.
I think I mentioned a great non-fiction book about Hatsepsut in the past.
And Stoker’s novel is a prime example of something that was called Egyptian Gothic – a sub-genre of Imperial Gothic fiction that came to prominence in the 19th century after the French first and then the British took control of Egypt and started their archaeological campaigns.

Now both Imperial Gothic and Egyptian Gothic sound like genres worth exploring… I might indeed do some searching and then post on the subject.
I’ll keep you posted.

ADDENDUM: here you can find both the 1903 edition and the 1912 edition of Stoker’s book. 

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Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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