Alongside the two other releases in the October 2017 slate of Studio Canal’s Hammer celebration on Blu-ray, Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb another welcome addition to the collection of classic British Horrors. The producers of the recent Tom Cruise reboot of The Mummy might do well to learn a thing or two from this cheap production that probably cost the equivalent of the food budget for the hundreds of technicians, but which tells the story in a far more effective way, and at a fraction of the cost.
Bond girl Valerie Leon plays dual roles of modern girl Margaret and evil Egyptian Queen Tera, whose remains have been transported back to the London home of her father, Professor Julian Fuchs (Andrew Kier, Professor Quatermass in Quatermass and the Pit) after an expedition he led in Egypt discovered Tera’s tomb.
The day before her birthday, Julian presents Margaret with a mysterious ruby ring which contains a representation of the Plough constellation which she is instructed to wear at all times. However, a curse and Tera are about to emerge and the dark and deadly power is about to get a second lease of life centuries after her previous demise…
Probably not as blood-soaked as other Hammer offerings of the time, Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb still provides a solid and satisfying addition to the Mummy series of films, be it the Universal classic of yesteryear or the Raiders-style blockbusters starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. Simple production values and some neat little physical effects add to the impact. Leon is very good in the dual role and Keir was solid in the sort of role he made his own in films like the Quatermass series.
It’s not as scary today, and looks relatively tame compared to the still-bloody offerings from the era like Scars of Dracula and Demons of the Mind, but fans will still have an affection for this film and an appreciation of what Hammer was aiming to achieve overall.
Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb, like William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, is a film that was plagued by troubled production issues. Peter Cushing was originally cast in the Andrew Keir role, but left after one day when his wife was diagnosed with emphysema. Tragically, director Seth Holt died one week before filming was to be completed of a heart attack, with directorial duties completed by Michael Carreras.
It is little facts of trivia like these that will help give Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb a new platform for people to discover. It’s a darkly fun yarn – and another proud example of what can be achieved on a limited budget with talent.
BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: SETH HOLT, MICHAEL CARRERAS (UNCREDITED) / SCREENPLAY: CHRISTOPHER WICKING / STARRING: ANDREW KEIR, VALERIA LEON, JAMES VILLIERS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW