Mummy's Hand, The

Reviewed By MP Bartley
Posted 07/26/11 00:56:12

2 stars (Pretty Bad)

Halliwell's Film Guide once reviewed this film as having one of the scariest last 20 minutes in all of American cinema. All I can say to that is that Halliwell mustn't have had a high tolerance to anything scarier than your average episode of Scooby Doo.

The problem that The Mummy's Hand, the first sequel to Universal's original foray into the dusty unknown of Egypt, is the problem that all mummy films have. The protagonist is a slow-moving reanimated corpse that you can escape from simply with a brisk stroll. Zombies may well have the same problem, but the terrifying thing with zombies is how they attack en masse. A mummy is a solitary creature, and therefore not particularly scary. Lord knows what Halliwell found so terrifying here - the shadows? The catacombs and the admittedly impressive set design? It certainly couldn't be the shuffling creature that requires its victims to stand still for a good few minutes for it to actually kill them.

There is some dusty and creaky charm to be had by the end, as I say the set design and location filming gives the film a suitable atmosphere, but for the most part it's a dead loss. If you're going to make a horror film only 66 minutes long, I think it's probably best if you don't wait until the 40 minute mark to introduce your monster. The rest of the time is taken up with two Americans, one a charmer and one a bumbler, putting together an expedition to find fame and fortune in the relics of the desert. Much of their antics revolve around a sub-Abbot and Costello routine of a straight man increasingly exasperated at the goofy antics of his cowardly best friend. Who can tell why these characters in this film - if I want to watch Abbot and Costello meet a mummy, I'll watch...well, I'll watch Abbot and Costello meet the Mummy.

I am at least gratified that this film gives me a chance to say something no film critic generally gets the chance to say - Stephen Sommers knew what he was doing when he updated this.

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