Friday, 13 July 2007

Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1971)

The director of the 1971 movie Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, Seth Holt, died before the movie was completed. Which is a great pity, because judging by this movie he had plenty of promise. I’d heard bad things about this one, but I thought it was extremely good. It has more a feeling of the uncanny and the forbidden, of things that should not be, rather than out-and-out horror.

The plot involves an attempt by Tera, a long-dead sorcerous queen, to return to life in the body of Margaret Fuchs, daughter of the leader of the expedition who uncovered Tera’s tomb. Although you might suspect that Valerie Leon was cast more for her cleavage rather than her acting her performance as Margaret and Tera is actually rather good. Andrew Keir as her father is excellent, James Villiers is suavely villainous, Aubrey Morris as Dr Putnam is delightfully and eccentrically creepy. Mark Edwards as the boyfriend is a little on the bland side – the most amusing thing about the character is his name – Tod Browning. Overall though the acting is exceptionally good. As you expect from Hammer Films, the movie looks good. There’s some nicely atmospheric cinematography, the pacing is excellent, and the ending extremely good. By modern standards there’s very little gore, although there’s certainly more than in earlier Hammer movies. Personally I can happily do without gore. Overall a highly entertaining movie.

2 comments:

TheAnswerMVP2001 said...

Valerie Leon makes this film worth seeing, although I thought the story was a little confusing at times. Peter Cushing was originally cast to play Margaret's father, but his wife became very ill and died. Really a pity because I think he would have really made this film great.

Then there's the film's curse with Cushing having to drop out and his wife dying, the director was fired, re-hired and then suddenly died and later on the head writer was banned and eventually fired!

dfordoom said...

Seth Holt's death was a real loss to British horror film-making.