Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'Blood from the Mummy's Tomb' spilled for no cause

Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971)
Starring: Valerie Leon and Andrew Keir
Director: Seth Holt
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

In "Blood from the Mummy's Tomb", archeologist Prof. Fuchs (Keir) loots the tomb of an ancient, thoroughly evil Egyptian princess, carting its entire content (including her perfectly preserved, perfectly sexy, body) back to England and recreates the tomb in his basement. The dark magic harnessed by the princess in her lifetime--the same magic which is keeping her body from decaying--manifests itself by causing Fuchs' daughter Margaret to first grow into the perfect image of Tera (with Leon playing both the undead princess and Margaret) and then to unleash deadly dark magic upon an unsuspecting modern world as the spirit of Tera possesses the young woman.

While "Blood from the Mummy's Tomb" isn't the worst of Hammer's mummy movies' it's darn close (that honor goes to "The Mummy's Shroud.") It's got a muddled confusing plot that's crammed with too many characters (so none are ever properly introduced), at least one subplot too many (so none are ever properly resolved) and a build-up that's too slow and that seems even slower due to the fact that the storyline is confused and muddled and jammed with too many characters. The most amazing thing about the film is that it is losely based on Bram Stoker's "The Jewel of the Seven Stars", and it succeeds in being even more boring than that novel is!

Leon is easy on the eyes, and she gives an okay performance. Keir has a small part, but he does his usual excellent job--and it's him that really makes the ending work as well as it does. In fact, the ending is probably the only part of this movie that I'd consider to be well-executed. Everything else about "Blood from the Mummy's Tomb" is weak and flawed to some degree or another. (There is a scene where one of the members of Fuchs' expedition is killed by Tera's magic... but it's ruined by bad editing, so it goes from having the potential to be damn scary to just too much so it is seems more silly.)

Despite a strong ending, I'd only recommend "Blood from the Mummy's Tomb" to Hammer completists. As it stands, I think the creepiest thing about it is that Prof. Fuchs left the nearly naked Tera exposed on the slab in his basement. While she's a joy to behold, I would have thought that as Margaret came to resemble her more and more, Fuchs would have covered Tera up. Or maybe not. Who knows what happens behind closed doors among the upper-classes?