Posts Tagged ‘mummies


Where’d HE come from? The Mummy

Your life as a Pharaoh in ancient Egypt came to an end, so you were embalmed and mummified. Foregoing the description of most of the process (which includes removing your organs and placing them into separate jars) you’re on the journey to the afterlife. Unfortunately, someone decides that all the gold and valuables in your pyramid are worth something, and begins robbing you of them. It’s time for revenge, but make sure you don’t become unraveled. But, how did we get here?


Pharaohs had pyramids built, making chambers to protect their mummified bodies as well as their possessions (I guess you CAN take it all with you). In order to ensure that they weren’t disturbed the pyramid would contain fake chambers, booby traps, and curses.


Mummification has been around since at least 3300 BC. The process entailed some of what I said above with the removal of the body’s organs and placing into canopic jars. Embalmers would also break the bone behind the nose, suck out the brain matter, and fill the head with plant resin or sawdust. Next the body was covered with natron, which dehydrates the body faster than desert sand. Strips of white linen are then wrapped around the body followed by a sheet of canvas. Amulets, charms, and whatnot were then placed around the body for good fortune (or Ka).


Our interest in mummies began in 1799. A French guy named Napoleon decided to invade Egypt. While he was there several French scholars and scientists, many of whom were probably seeing the pyramids for the first time, started digging around. Their findings became sensational.



Fast forward to America in the 1820’s. Culture has found interest in the pyramids and mummies. With the first mummy being unwrapped at a theatre in Piccadilly, coupled with Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” Jane C. Loudon released “The Mummy!: Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century,” a tale of a character named Cheops who comes back from the dead and gives advice on politics and life. “The Mummy!” was sold in three volumes (easier to transport) and was praised for its futuristic concepts.


From that point, other writers jumped onto the “mummy train.” William Bayle Bernard, a London playwright and drama critic, produced his play “The Mummy” in 1933. Edgar Allan Poe was influenced and “Some Words with a Mummy,” posthumously in 1850.


The fascination with mummies, pharaohs, and Egypt in general began to fade and “The Mummy” returned to rest. In 1922 Howard Carter unearthed the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Egypt and mummies were cool again and Hollywood had a new creature to exploit.




It was 10 years later that Universal released, “The Mummy.” Boris Karloff starred as Imhotep, an ancient Egyptian priest who, after being awoken, seeks to find the reincarnation of his soulmate, Princess Ankh-es-en-amon. The film was somewhat remade in 1940 as “The Mummy’s Hand.” It had sequels such as “The Mummy’s Tomb,” “The Mummy’s Ghost,” and “The Mummy’s Curse,” all starring Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Mummy. Even Abbott and Costello ran into them.


Hammer Films, an English horror-film producing film company, made a bunch of Mummy films in the 1950’s. The company was known for taking a character’s image and running with an idea. Their sequels only pertained to the image of the character, not the character’s previous movie. Hammer released “Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb,” “The Mummy’s Shroud,” and “The Mummy’s Tomb.”


With the success of “Tomb Raider,” Universal decided to remake “The Mummy,” Starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, and Arnold Vosloo as Imhotep. A fun, comedic, action-adventure romp, “The Mummy” was the middle ground between films such as “Army of Darkness” and the “Indiana Jones” trilogy. This “Mummy” raked in the box office and led to such sequels as “The Mummy Returns” and “The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.” It also had a spin-off character in “The Scorpion King,” which had two movies (the latter straight-to-DVD).