The Mummy (1932)
Universal’s first stab at unwrapping the myth of the Egyptian mummy is still the best and Boris is the main reason. Karl Freund employs his expressionist film training to make this movie full of shadows and poetry and Karloff, both under wraps and as the liberated Imhotep/Ardeth Baey is magnificent, acting as he did in the Frankenstein films, with his haunted eyes and imposing physique.
The Mummy’s Ghost (1944)
Beefy Lon Chaney Jr. gets into the mummy get-up again for his third time in this excellent Universal horror. He plays Kharis, the slave to a vengeful priest, played by John Carradine. Despite its age, the film is mean and genuinely scary. Chaney is excellent as the hulking dead brute.
Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)
The last studio movie comedy legends A&C did together is not their best but it’s ample amusing and Parker’s mummy does what it needs to do, adding silent menace for the bumbling duo to bounce off of. Parker is essentially channeling Karloff and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy (1958)
Most of this kooky movie is made up of footage from the first two Mexican “Aztec Mummy” romps, but when Angel Di Stefani’s wiry mummy finally fights the cardboard robot, it’s a riot! Di Stefani’s tragic dead dude is really crumbly and cool. Someone should make a new Aztec Mummy flick..
The Mummy (1959)
Britain’s Hammer studios followed the full-blooded, full-color template laid out in both The Curse of Frankenstein and Horror of Dracula with this electric mummy film. Christopher Lee gets even more buried under makeup than he did in Curse as the ragged Egyptian monster (though he gets to be himself in the bloody flashbacks) and he’s a hulking, monolithic monster. It’s great to see Lee’s old pal Peter Cushing serving as his righteous foil again too. Terence Fisher directs with urgency as usual.
Assignment Terror (1970)
Paul Naschy’s third chomp at essaying his werewolf Waldemar Daninsky is a weird, unhinged and sleazy monster mash also known as Dracula Vs. Frankenstein (but not to be confused with the Al Adamson flick). Michael Rennie’s alien brings back the classic monsters for whatever reason and in typical Eurohorror fashion, the results are cheap and frightening. Reyes mummy, with his wrinkled face exposed and spindly fingers is unique and eerie. As is the movie.
Dawn of the Mummy (1981)
Frank Agrama’s Egyptian/Italian exploitation film is slow to start but once it gets going, look out! Essentially, this is Euorzombie flick with the Egyptian undead waking up and hacking up and eating their victims. Super-gory and weird with paper mache mummies that are as ugly as they are nightmarish.
Time Walker (1982)
Everyone hates Time Walker but we’re not sure why. Distributed by Roger Corman, the low budget film is unique in that the mummy here is actually an alien, kept under wraps for centuries and now moving with urgency around LA. Jack Olsen never made another movie, but he’s got the physical chops to play the fungus spreading Ankh-Venharis and the movie is tons of dopey fun.
The Monster Squad (1987)
Full disclosure: we’re not big fans of this flick. It’s a silly, smarmy affair, with a charmless young cast trying to ape the antics of The Goonies and Stand By Me, but flunking out terribly. But those Stan Winston monsters are masterful. One of the most effective of the lot is Michael MacKay’s shambling, ghoulish mummy. He deserved a better, more serious minded film.