East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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The adventure movie renaissance that never was

This post is essentially me writing trying to put some order in my ideas.
(also, it goes online with only two recycled images, because my connection is playing up)
Take it for what it is.
My friend Lucy did a post, on her blog, about The Mummy, the 1999 movie featuring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. She pointed out hos it was originally planned to be a low-budget B, and then turned into an 80-million dollars blockbuster that made an inordinate amount of money but failed to launch a true and proper old-style adventure movie renaissance.

And she’s right. Consider all the low-budget (but fun) Indiana Jones clones we got in the 80s – movies that tried to re-capture the thrill and wonder of the original Spielberg film with lower budgets and inferior talent. Where are the Mummy clones post-1999?

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Sunday Night in Hamunaptra

Last night I went and re-watched Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy, from 1999. I first saw it in the theatre, in ’99, with my brother. At the time we were used to go at the matinee show, taking advantage of the discount, and enjoying shows in which we were often the only viewers. For The Mummy, there was about a dozen people in the theatre, mostly pensioners. We smuggled in two packs of crisps and two bottles of Sprite, and had a great time.

Possibly even more than the first Indiana Jones movie, The Mummy is my perfect go-to movie if I need to explain to some mundane friend what pulp is all about.
It often goes like this…

Me: I read and often write, you know, pulp fiction…
The other guy: Ah, Tarantino… lots of swearwords, chicks doing coke…
Me: No, rather like The Mummy.
The other guy: (Weird stare) Uh?!

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Egyptomania goes to the movies, a review

Last year I was paid 50 bucks by an Italian magazine to review books not available on the Italian market and related to the Horror genre1. I did it, and the reviews were so successful that my 50 bucks gig was not renewed for the second year – it was not worth the investment.

Now, my contract having been dead for over six months, I thought I’ll reprise here some of those reviews, expanding and revising the text.
Screenshot from 2018-08-22 13-13-12If you like them, you might consider buying me a coffee or supporting me on Patreon. Unless you did already, in which case, thank you.
Should there be any interest, I will go on with new reviews using the same format.
Let me know what you think in the comments, please.

For starters, here’s a bit about a very interesting non fiction book, called Egyptomania goes to the Movies . Continue reading

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Arthur Conan Doyle’s Mummies

It is Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday!
The man that gave us Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger deserves a little celebration, and what better way to celebrate a storyteller than through his stories?
So here we go – a Ladybird Horror Classic, The Mummy, based on ACD’s own Lot n. 249.

And here you can get the original, as an illustrated PDF, as published by Harper’s Magazine.



Curse of the Mummy

I do not usually do negative reviews – because I think it’s much better to just talk about the good things.
Good things are what we want to suggest to our friends – not bore them with how much we hated the last movie we saw, right?

Well, let’s try and be positive.

I’ll start by showing my age and say that my first mummy was the one in the Jonny Quest episode The Curse of Anubis.


Which probably explains why my all-time favorite mummy movie is the 1959 Hammer horror The Mummy, featuring (who else?) Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
There’s a bad guy in a fez – just likein the Jonny Quest cartoon… and the added bonus of there not being an insufferable dog as comedy relief.

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My girl’s gonna be popular soon (well, maybe)

I wonder if this will have any impact on my sales.
Yes, I’m as mercenary-minded as they come, but really, bear witrh me.
Here are the trailers for the forthcoming reboot of the Mummy franchise.

Now, to be completely honest, my interest in this movie is not very high – I liked the first Brendan Fraser Mummy movie, great pulp entertainment, but the rest of the series bored me somewhat.
This new one does not tickle my fancy.
Oh, I’ll see it, one way or another, sooner or later, because, you know, it’s in my field and all that, but I’m not overly eager to buy a ticket.

But now turns out the mummy of the movie is the mummy of an evil Egyptian queen called… Amunet.
And that sort of rings a bell, so to speak. Continue reading