unwrap the new Mummy films set for release in 1999 A
Shivers feature by M J Simpson
THIS year promises to be a bumper year for fans of Mummy movies, which is appropriate as it is now 40 years since Christopher Lee donned the bandages in Hammer's The Mummy. There's something appealing and enduring about the Mummy - a zombie-like creature enmeshed in the magic and mystery of Ancient Egypt, a civilization which, even as we near the end of the second millennium, holds on to its secret. No less than four such films are currently lined up for release, providing four very different slants on this monster.
The blockbuster of the quartet is economically called The Mummy: Universal Pictures' remake of the 1932 film which starred Boris Karloff. The central role of Imhotep is played this time around by Arnold Vosloo, best known as the actor who took over the artificial skin and floppy hat from Liam Neeson in the two Darkman sequels.
If the film is accurate to the original, then Vosloo is likely to spend more time swathed in old-age make-up than bandages, which is how Karloff played the character (the bandaged monster was only really established in the sequels, starring Lon Chaney Jr and others).
Brendan (George of the Jungle) Fraser keeps his shirt on in the lead role of adventurer Rick O'Connell, who discovers the Ancient Egyptian 'City of the Dead', Hamunaptra, in the middle of the Sahara Desert in 1925, while fleeing from a horde of screaming Tuareg warriors. He attempts to uncover the secret of Hamunaptra, assisted by Evelyn (Rachel Weisz), a librarian at the Cairo Museum of Antiquities, but hampered by her unscrupulous brother Jonathan, played by John (Four Weddings and a Funeral) Hannah.
The Mummy is written and directed by Stephen (Deep Rising) Sommers with make-up provided by Nick Dudman, fresh from Star Wars: Episode One. The film was shot in Morocco and at Shepperton Studios last year and opens in America on 7 May, and in the UK a week later.
Spirit of Evil
A very different sort of Ancient Egyptian threat is offered by Russell Mulcahy's new film, Talos the Mummy. The spirit of an evil priest is contained in the bandages which wrapped him, although his actual body has long since disintegrated. Unleashed on the modern world, these living bandages snake under doors and through small gaps to commit a series of grisly murders on the reanimated souls of the priests who murdered him some 3,000 years ago.
A stellar cast includes Jason Scott Lee, Honor Blackman, Lysette Anthony and even Christopher Lee himself, who is bloodily torn in half. And for everyone who has ever seen the famous Hammer poster showing the Mummy with a light shining through a hole in its torso, then been disappointed to find there's no such scene in the movie, Mulcahy's film actually creates this classic image, 40 years on! Due for release in April, Talos the Mummy has been cut by 25 minutes from the two-hour version which was previewed at film festivals last year.Talos the Mummy pic copyright Miramax
on in Shivers #62 as
we look at Trace aka Michael Almereyda's The Mummy and
For Love or Mummy.
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