Retro Review: The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb

One of the biggest controversies in the realm of archeology is the exploitation found by people from the West and taken to display in their homelands regardless of where the discoveries were made. In recent years there have been treaties, laws, and regulations concerning this practice. However, before this people had to rely on ancient curses and the undead to punish archeologists looking to profit off of another nation’s heritage. At least that is what Hammer Studios taught us in 1964 with The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb the second film in the famed horror studio’s series of mummy movies.

During an expedition financed by the loudmouthed huckster Alexander King: Sir Giles, John Bray, and John’s fiancée Annette stumble across the tomb of Ra-Antef. Sir Giles’ wishes to turn the mummy over to a museum are shut-down as Alexander plans to tour it around as a sensationalized exhibit for profit, which John and Annette go along with. Along the way they scoff at the supposed curse that promises those who open the mummy’s sarcophagus are doomed to a horrible death. They cross paths with a man named Adam who shows a fascination with their work but seems to have his own agenda as the begins to claim victims.

While the pace of this film is slower than one normally expects from a Hammer Horror, the characters are interesting enough to keep the audience interested while they set things up for the bandage-wrapped monster. Once Ra-Antef enters the picture, the Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb kicks into a whole new level of fun. He exemplifies why mummies are underrated as far as movie monsters are concerned. They may lack in speed, but one can not reason or negotiate with them, they are methodical and single-minded in their quest to kill whoever disrupted their tomb. Rest assured the kills in this movie are top-notch with skulls crunching and blood splattering. Combining this brutality with an eerie Michael Myers-esque heavy breathing makes Ra-Antef a rather creepy antagonist for the film.

As far as Hammer mummy films go, the Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb would rank somewhere in the middle. It does not have the clever plot of Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb and poor Dickie Smith does not have the intimidating physical presence of his legendary predecessor Christopher Lee in The Mummy. This is not to denigrate the film, far from it as this horror flick is pure entertainment. Those looking for an old-school adventure involving the Egyptian undead look no further as Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb is worth a watch.