Legend Of The Mummy (1998)

Legend of the Mummy‘? The Mummy With The Manicure would be a better title for this film. I’ll explain why later.

Bram Stoker’s The Legend of The Mummy is a 90s ‘horror’ – inverted commas necessary – film based on Stoker’s novel The Jewel of the Seven Stars, the same story that Hammer’s Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb is based on. Suffice to say, you should probably watch the Hammer version and save yourself an hour and a half’s worth of boredom.

The story starts in Egypt where a would-be tomb-robber finds a precious jewel in the tomb of Queen Tera; he then meets his death by way of a curse (I assume) after developing what seems to be a very, very localised outbreak of the black plague. Cut to modern day California, and an old professor talking to himself while piecing together an Egyptian relic and reading an old incantation. He then gets attacked after finding a piece of sandy bandage.

The next day we are introduced to his daughter, her ex, the doctor and the detective. If this film is anything to go by, it would seem that most if not all of the people in positions of power in 90s California had strong English accents. None of the characters are particularly engaging, but very quickly you will begin to hate the detective who insists on mentioning at every chance that he ‘misses those days he spent at the ‘yard’’. At least there’s Louis Gossett Jr’s character, Corbeck, who ends up being the only thing that kept me watching. Corbeck is funny, charismatic and crazy and I really enjoyed him when he was on screen.

Bad character clichés aside, this film might have seemed better if marketed and packaged as a murder mystery story with a mummy thrown into the mix instead of a horror movie about a mummy, especially since it only makes an appearance precisely once in the whole film. There are many scenes that make no sense just crowbarred into the story, seemingly just for the purpose of trying to reach the 18 rating: lots of random, unexplained flashbacks and blood-drenched sex sessions which, to be honest, were tame and confusing.

By the climax of the story the audience will simply just not care: there’s a lot of killing and a lot of screaming, but nothing really happens. After that we see the mummy with a semi-restored hand and a perfect manicure. It says a lot about the quality of the film (or lack thereof) that by this point I wasn’t even that surprised at the less-than-authentic-looking hand, since I’d just given up hoping that any semblance of a good movie would emerge.

Oh and if you recognise the main actress (Amy Locane), she was the square from Cry Baby, in which she was much better. In fact, avoid this film and watch Cry Baby instead. That’s my advice.

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