Best Mummy Movies
In 1922, famed explorer Howard Carter discovered the Valley of the Kings and the Tomb of King Tut. This kicked off a fascination with Ancient Egypt which permeated every aspect of popular culture, which includes movies. Ever since a bandaged Boris Karloff slowly crept out of his sarcophagus almost 90 years ago, the Mummy has been a staple of horror movies.
The Mummy (1932): The one that started it all and added one of the key films of the Universal Monsters franchise. The studio’s new star Boris Karloff played Imhotep a cursed Egyptian priest who is returned to life. Now he seeks out the reincarnation of his love Princess Anck-su-namun in the present. Calling himself Ardeth Bay, he associates himself with an archeologist which allows him to meet Helen, the woman who carries the soul of the princess within her. In order to restore his love, Imhotep must sacrifice the young woman to the god Isis. The Mummy officially kicked off a slew of sequels, spin-offs, and remakes establishing this monster as a cinema mainstay.
The Mummy’s Hand: While the first movie was a gloomy gothic fare in the tradition of the Universal Monsters, the sequel was a fun, fast-paced, pulp action/adventure film. With Imhotep out of the way, viewers are introduced to Kharis who would be the Mummy in the Universal Monster films going forward. Cursed to protect the Princess Ananka, Kharis is summoned by the brewing of tana leaves to to kill those who are too close to her resting spot. Now an adventurous archeologist, his comedy sidekick, and his quick-shooting love interest have discovered where Ananka’s tomb is meaning the Mummy must be summoned. The Mummy’s Hand defined what a “Mummy” movie would be going forward. Spielberg has even listed this film as an influence on Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy: The legendary comedy duo of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello had tangled with: Dracula, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s creation, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, and even Boris Karloff. This left one monster left for them to play their antics off of. Stranded in Cairo, two American become tied up in a conspiracy to get a pendant from the mummy Klaris, which would lead to the treasure of Princess Ara. Of course in true Abbott & Costello they get tied up in hijinks as the Mummy terrorizes the pair. While this film may not be as well regarded as their previous meetings with the monsters, Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy is still a fan favorite in their filmography.
The Robot vs The Aztec Mummy: While the most of the other films are on this list for their quality, this Mexican horror/science fiction flick is on here because of how much fun it is. While there was an entire series based on the Aztec Mummy, this one is the most beloved by fans of cult cinema. The evil scientist known as the Bat seeks to steal a treasure guarded by the mummy Popoca. His latest scheme to defeat the mummy is to build a robot with the brain of one of his henchman to battle it out with the monster. This is a ridiculous film which has to be seen to be believed, feel free to read the Retro Review HERE.
The Mummy (1959): The Hammer Horrors were establishing themselves as the new banner carrier for gothic horror. With Terrence Fisher having had buckets of success directing Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in films featuring Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster, it made sense that this trio bring the Mummy to life. On a dig to unearth the tomb of Princess Ananka, the family of Professor John Banning unintentionally summon the mummy Kharis. Now the mummy has followed them to England where he embarks of a path of destruction. This film brought the usual lavish cinematography and fast-pace traditional of Hammer to a new horror.
Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb: The final chapter of the Hammer Horrors Mummy films ended with perhaps the best film in the series. While on an expedition in Egypt, Professor Fuchs and his colleagues discover the tomb of the legendary mummy Tera and bring her remains back to England. Coincidentally the birth of Fuchs’ daughter Margaret follows shortly thereafter. When she is older, one of the scholars who aided in the finding of Tera’s tomb enlists the young woman to help him track down the artifact relating to Tera. With each one Margaret collects, the spirit of Tera begins to take her over and wants revenge on the men who disturbed her rest. Departing from a mummy as a haggard monster in bandages, Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb went another direction and is one of the most underrated of the Hammer Horrors. Read the Retro Review HERE.
The Monsters Squad: The Mummy is summoned alongside the rest of his monster colleagues to help Dracula in his schemes in what is easily one of the coolest movies of the 80’s. The only ones who can save the day from the monsters are a plucky group of horror-obsessed kids dubbed The Monster Squad. Awakening from a local museum, the Mummy makes his presence known when he emerges from the closet of the Squad’s youngest member, Eugene. Luckily as the final battle approaches, cool guy Rudy is able to unravel the bandages holding him together with a coolly delivered line of “see ya’ later, band-aid breath”. In this wonderful salute to the classic monsters it is only fitting that the Mummy join the collective of terrors in this cult classic.
The Mummy (1999): This 1999 film has gone down as an absolutely beloved piece of cinema for good reason. Librarian Evie and her brother Jonathan discover the possible existence of the Lost City of Hamunaptra and enlist the roguish swashbuckling Rick O’Connell to guide them there. While there, they and another team of explorers accidentally summon the powerful mummy Imhotep. Now free from his tomb, Imhotep unleashes plagues of destruction on the world until he is reunited with his love Princess Anck-su-namun. This movie is pure fun from start to finish and the cast led by Rachel Weisz and Brendan Fraser could not have been more perfect.
Bubba-Ho-Tep: From cult director Don Coscarelli and genre icon, Bruce Campbell comes a movie that should have been ridiculous but is executed to perfection. Having swapped places years ago with the impersonator who actually died, Elvis Presley now lives in a backwoods retirement home. There he wastes away his remaining years with his friend Jack who believes he is John F. Kennedy who had his skin dyed black and was dumped in the this home. Their fellow citizens soon find themselves at the mercy of an ancient Egyptian mummy who was lost during a museum tour of the US. This undead monster now stalks the elderly in this home sucking out their souls each night. Elvis and Jack must join forces to stop this mummy and free the souls he has taken. While a planned sequel never materialized Bubba-Ho-Tep has developed a cult following.