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Curse Of The Mummy's Tomb (1964)

Another class act from the Hammer stable, Curse can be summed up as "the one where lots of people get their hands lopped off".

For despite a large amount of plot, terrific acting and some top notch thrills, that's what sticks in your mind. Within the first couple of minutes some poor unfortunate has been spreadeagled between two posts by a bunch of blacked-up actors from the home counties in Arab outfits, whereupon he is stabbed and has his hand chopped off.

The hand appears on his daughters bed as a warning (although it seems a bit late to be warning her, after all, her dad's already dead...)

What's more, the Mummy has lost his hand before the film even starts, and is no less scary for it. It's that old tale (regurgitated recently in the effects-fest The Mummy) of people being cursed to walk the earth in eternity etc. The bandaged one is sworn to protect the tomb and kill everyone who desecrated it - bad news for Prof Stiff-Upper-Lip, young Miss Damsel-In-Distress and assorted Tommy Cooper impersonators and teatowel headress wearers.

It's difficult to pick holes in a film which rightly deserves the term classic, whilst avoiding all the pitfalls of similar efforts which also make that claim. It's not camp, over the top or badly acted - just a solid, serious thriller which tells a good tale and even manages to have a twist near the end.

It also has what must rank as one of the top ten nasty movie deaths, when the monster, having broken into the hero's house hotly followed by the ineffectual police, stamps on a cringing Egyptian's head. Of course, this being the 60s you don't actually see the guy's head explode, but the noise it makes, and the looks on the other actor's faces is enough. Trust me.

And how come everlasting life to some people is a curse, yet to others it's a dream? Dr Phibes, I'm looking at you...

Director: Michael Carreras Writer(s): Michael Carreras

Cast: Terence Morgan - Adam Beauchamp (Be, younger son of Rameses VIII), Ronald Howard - John Bray, Fred Clark - Alexander King, Jeanne Roland - Annette Dubois, George Pastell - Hashmi Bey, Jack Gwillim - Sir Giles Dalrymple, John Paul - Inspector Mackenzie, Dickie Owen - The Mummy (Ra-Antef), Jill Mai Meredith - Jenny, Beauchamp's Maid, Michael Ripper - Achmed, Harold Goodwin - Fred one of King's Workmen, Jimmy Gardner - Fred's Mate, Vernon Smythe - Jessop, Beauchamp's Butler, Marianne Stone - Hashmi Bey's Landlady

 

Last updated: February 26, 2010

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