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"That's the tagline for The Mummy's Shroud (1967), adapted for the screen and directed by John Gilling, a prolific artist mainly associated with Hammer films whose best film, in my opinion, was 1967' Plague of the Zombies, and, while `Shroud' may not measure up to that film, it's certainly worth a look. The film brings together a fairly strong cast, including André Morell (Plague of the Zombies), John Phillips (Village of the Damned), David Buck, host for the 60's British Television show Mystery and Imagination, Michael Ripper (The Reptile), and Maggie Kimberly (The Conqueror Worm).
As the film begins, we're in ancient Egypt, as a tale of a greed and deception unfolds, one that leads to the untimely death of a young pharaoh named Kah-to-Bey, and also of his sworn protector/slave named Prem. Fast-forward to the 1920's, and we now bare witness to a British archeological team, led by Sir Basil Walden (Morell) seeking to locate the tomb of Kah-to-Bey. Also included in the group is Paul Preston (Buck), whose father is financing the entire affair, Claire, assistant to Sir Basil, and a photographer who's name isn't really important as it soon becomes apparent through lack of character development he'll probably meet his maker in the not too distant future (and he does). The search has yet to bear fruit, and things go from bad to worse as the team doesn't return and is thought lost in the expansive deserts of Egypt. These recent events have prompted Paul's father, Stanley Preston (Phillips), to make the trip, presumably due to concerns for his son's safety, but that turns out not to be the case, as his motivations reveal him as an intrinsically flawed character, intent on protecting his investments and securing the acclaim and recognition he believes rightfully to be his, even though his contribution only extends to the financing portion. As Paul's father gets cornered into joining one of the search parties currently setting out to locate the original group, Sir Basil and his entourage manage to find the tomb. Stanley Preston and his rescue party locate the `lost' party, and they uncover the hidden resting place of the pharaoh, and the obligatory curse is presented, you know the one, that states anyone desecrating the tomb shall meet a gruesome death and such, which no one takes seriously, except maybe for Claire. The group returns to civilization with their find, but soon find death not far behind...death in cloth wrapped feet...
Firstly, I have yet to see anyone come close to the Mummy character presented by Boris Karloff from the 30's Universal film. He made the role his own, given his ability to imbue so much into the character without even having to say a word. Subsequently, I have a slight negative bias to usurpers to the throne. That being said, I did enjoy this film, despite a few minor flaws. Gilling is an excellent director and scripter, as evident here. His story is very solid, and even though there's a huge amount of predictability inherent in the story, he manages to really deliver dense, intricate plot with a few well develop characters, even throwing in the occasional twist. I think my favorite character was Stanley Preston, played by John Phillips, as he was just such a colossally dislikeable character, but also the most interesting. The character I liked the least was a tie between Paul and Claire. The character of Paul had not nearly enough depth, and he just never exuded what I expect from a leading male character. I never felt he could actually get the job done. And the character of Claire? Well, she was just very odd looking, almost frog-like with her bug eyes (nice rack, though), and also, her character seemed to lack the depth I would have preferred from the lead female in a film. So how was the Mummy in this film? A bit too plump for my tastes...I expect a character, dead for thousands of years, to show a certain level of desiccation, as seen in previous Hammer Mummy films. Also, I think someone else mentioned this, and I would agree in that the creature's bandages didn't convey the feel necessary to be completely convincing. The two biggest flaws, in my opinion, involve plot elements featuring a wild-eyed fellow with bad teeth, in charge of guarding the pharaoh's tomb, who issues a threat to the group prior to their entering the burial chambers. Seems to me, once the killings of individuals who were present in the tomb started, the surviving associates might mention this guy as a possible suspect to the police, who are finding the investigation of said killings going nowhere fast. We later find he has the ability to control the Mummy, summon its' spirit forth to kill the desecraters by holding the pharaoh's burial shroud and speaking forth certain words, a fact he later proclaims during the dramatic last scenes, with said proclamation leading to his own downfall just before his enemies, the last of the defilers, are about to meet their doom. It reminded me of the obligatory scene in a James Bond film where the villain, having Agent 007 in a rather precarious situation, begins to detail their grand scheme, as the only real obstacle to their machinations is about to die. While not on that large of a scale here, it provides the same effect, that of allowing the doomed character(s) time and/or opportunity to escape their impending fate and turn the tables on the big-mouthed numbskull. Somebody should have told him loose lips sink ships...
The wide screen picture presented on this DVD looks wonderful and there's a pretty decent amount of special features including theatrical trailers for the film, TV spots, a World of Hammer episode entitled Mummies, Werewolves & The Living Dead, and a small reproduction of an original poster for the film enclosed within the case. Final verdict? I'd say 3 ½ stars for the film and the features.
Only Reviewing "The Plague of the Zombies"
William Smith | Georgia | 10/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I haven't been able to see "The Mummy's Shroud" but I have seen "The Plague of the Zombies." It is an innovative and entertaining zombie film. A series of mysterious deaths and some strange activities in the old abandoned mines outside of town are all tied together in an insidious plot. Can the hero save the town and his headstrong daughter?
Fans of "The Evil Dead" movies will notice some shots that seem very familiar as the dead rise from their graves."
"Beware the beat of the cloth-wrapped feet" and thrill!
William Smith | 12/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Gilling's THE MUMMY'S SHROUD is perhaps one of the best of the late 60s Hammer films. I first saw this as a kid on Saturday afternoon TV over 20 years ago and it made a big impact. Though the premise of the film seems overused, the story is nonetheless gripping. The cinematography is quite stunning and the use of colors exquisite. There is a genuine sense of foreboding throughout the film. The casting for the film is decidedly low-key, but bigger Hammer stars may have diluted the script. As for the technical aspects of the DVD, its rates among the best of the Hammer series. The picture is clear and the color brilliant. The soundtrack is amazing in its fidelity. The extras of the DVD add even more value to this wonderful package. Highly recommended!"
Beware the beat of the cloth wrapped feet
Mark McKinney | Maryland | 10/18/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Hammer's third Mummy film follows a fairly typical script, but is overall better than most people give it credit for. A tomb is disturbed and a curse is put on all those who entered the tomb, sound familiar?The films is somewhat slow, but really picks up about a half an hour into it. The excavation set was better than I thought, but the museum looked more like a small storage area than a place where valuable artifacts would be housed. The mummy overall looked pretty good. There is one scene that always bothered me and that is when David Buck puts a hatchet into it's neck, you can tell it is a dummy that is maybe 2/3's the size of the guy playing the mummy. It is really kind of bad when you look at the earlier impaling scene which looks pretty good, but I would think that scene would have mush harder to do than a hatchet in the shoulder. I also got a little annoyed at the gypsy women who overacts to the hilt. Still, this film has a fairly good cast and it remains interesting. This is probably Michael Ripper's best role for Hammer and it certainly better than it's companion film Frankenstein created woman."
Two Reasons Why You Shouldn't Bring The Dead Back To Life
J. B. Hoyos | Chesapeake, VA | 07/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a devoted fan of gothic horror, I can say that this double feature was a real treat. It contains two beautiful Hammer classics that deal with the living dead. Released in 1966, when Hammer Production was at its peak, both movies make great midnight viewing.
"The Mummy's Shroud" takes place primarily in Cairo, Egypt in 1920. An archaeological team has found the mummified remains of a child who was an Egyptian prince in 2000 B.C. Naturally, there is a curse that begins killing everyone who entered the sacred tomb. What distinguishes this mummy feature from all the others? It is the prince's mummified servant who is brought to life and kills. Some of the deaths are quite gruesome, especially that of the man who is thrown onto his bed, wrapped up in his sheets, and tossed out the window - quite heart pounding. The shroud that was stolen from the mummified prince must be found; only it can stop the violence.
"The Plague of the Zombies" is set in the English countryside of the 1800s. It is action packed from beginning to end and has a high body count. At least twelve villagers have died under mysterious circumstances when a doctor arrives to investigate a plague. Upon further investigation, it is learned that their graves are empty. How and why have the dead risen? There is a conspiracy involving a rich man who controls the village and the evil young men who are living with him. Blood sacrifices, voodoo rituals, and an abandoned mine play important roles in this creepy, atmospheric gothic horror. I only wish Hammer Production had made more zombie features as they did with the vampire, mummy, and Frankenstein monster.
This DVD is highly recommended for fans of gothic horror, Hammer films, and the living dead. "The Mummy's Shroud" and "The Plague of the Zombies" are perfect together, especially since they were both produced by Anthony Nelson-Keys and directed by John Gilling. "