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Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb

Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb -1971
A severed hand beckons from an open grave!
Director – Seth Holt

Writers – Bram Stoker – Novel
Christopher Wicking – Screenplay

Starring – Andrew Keir, Valerie Leon, James Villiers, Hugh Burden, George Coulouris, Mark Edwards, Rosalie Crutchley, Aubrey Morris, David Markham, Joan Young, James Cossins, David Jackson, Jonathan Burn, Graham James, Tamara Ustinov

Review by John Rouse Merriott Chard

Stoker’s story given a Hammer makeover
Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb is out of Hammer Film Productions and is directed by Seth Holt. It’s adapted for the screen by Christopher Wickling from the novel The Jewel of Seven Stars written by Bram Stoker. It stars Valerie Leon, Andrew Keir, Mark Edwards, James Villiers, Hugh Burden and Aubrey Morris. Music is by Tristram Cary and photography Arthur Grant. Plot sees Egyptologist’s unearth the tomb of evil Queen Tera and quickly find themselves up to their necks in death and reincarnation nastiness.

Released as the support feature to Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb became notable for its troubled production. Peter Cushing was cast as Julian Fuchs but after only one day’s filming had to leave the production to be with his gravely ill wife. The part was filled by Andrew Keir. Tragedy struck the production with only one week of filming left, when director Seth Holt died on set of a heart attack, he was 48 years old. Michael Carreras (The Curse of Frankenstein/The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb) came in and took control for the last week of filming. Budgeted at just £200,000 the film was not made at the usual Hammer Studio in Bray, but at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire.

In spite of its production problems and wee budget, this fourth Mummy offering from Hammer is surprisingly good fun. It doesn’t boast the great sets that the others had, and no star wattage in the cast to grab the attention of the passer by, but it’s nicely polished, well acted and has a good source story to work from. The horror elements are a little tame, yet this is offset by tight atmospherics and a dream like sense of dread that pervades the unfolding story. Nothing wrong with the acting either. Leon is one of Hammer Horror’s most sensual actress’ and she holds her end up well in the drama stakes too. True, the guys around her are literally playing second fiddle to her flighty, smouldering performance, but all the cogs fit where they should to keep the film totally professional.

One of Hammer’s better late efforts, where the familiarity of the “revenge from the grave” plot is given impetus by good writing and smart acting performances. 6.5/10

Review by The_Void

A below par Hammer offering
Hammer Horror are famous mostly for their Dracula series, and their excellent Frankenstein series; but much less applauded is their sequence of ‘mummy’ films. There’s a good reason for this, as the mummy films aren’t nearly as good as the other series’, and therefore they’re obviously not going to get as much praise. The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb was astutely terrible, and while this seventies film isn’t quite as bad as that one, it definitely borders on ‘dire’. Ancient Egypt is a whole world of intrigue, but this seventies film completely fails to capitalise on that as it keeps the story suspended in a contemporary setting and most of the Egyptian intrigue is only referenced to by dialogue, and that’s not good enough in my opinion. The story follows an Egyptian queen who is discovered by an archaeological team. However, things are never that simple with Hammer and at the same time that the queen is discovered, one of the team’s daughters is born, thus creating a link between the ancient Egyptian and the daughter…

The plot isn’t bad, and leaves a lot of room for a lovely little camp horror film, but the seventies film doesn’t deliver. Most of my time watching this film was spent hoping that the action would move to ancient Egypt soon, but it didn’t happen. Some of the contemporary stuff works, and the psychological element of the story isn’t completely off-cue – but at the end of the day, this film is called ‘Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb’, so I don’t think it’s too much to ask for just a little bit of ancient Egypt now is it? Furthermore, this film lacks Hammer’s big name stars, and although numerous Hammer films have proved that stars aren’t an essential ingredient in the recipe for success, this one could really do with a couple. I liked the idea of the mummy being female for a change as it’s a welcome departure from the common male baddie, but that little aspect isn’t enough to make me like the seventies film. Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb isn’t a complete waste of time, and it’s a hell of a lot better than ‘Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb’, but it’s not one of Hammer’s better seventies films, and with the exception of the first ‘Mummy’ starring Cushing and Lee; I say skip Hammer’s ‘mummy’ films

Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb (1971)
Review by Wayne Malin

Has its moments,
An archaeological expedition uncovers the tomb of an ancient, evil, Egyptian queen Tara. When they open it up, the spirit of Tara inhabits the child (who was just born) of the leader of the expedition. Years later when the girl is about 20 or so, all the members of the expedition are being mysteriously killed. It seems Tara wants to be avenged…and come back to life.

The plot is old hat but this one does add a few little twists to the tale. It’s well-directed by Seth Holf (his last movie) and has some very creepy moments. There is a LOT of blood in this film (the murders aren’t really shown but we see their aftermath) but (for a Hammer film) this is restrained. So it’s well made…but some bad writing and acting distract.

The script wanders ALL over the place and I was never really sure WHAT was going on. Also HOW did the professor get Tara’s body all the way to London in his basement? Why doesn’t Tara’s body decompose after thousand of years? (OK they explain that but it’s REALLY stupid). And, for no reason, a gay guy pops up at the end. Nothing wrong with that but he has no bearing on the plot–so WHY? The acting varies. Andrew Kier is just OK–but then he was called in at the last minute when Peter Cushing had to leave. All the other acting is so-so but Leon is HORRIBLE. She is certainly a VERY beautiful woman but a LOUSY actress. Also she deserves credit for lying in the tomb for most of the movie with almost nothing on (no nude shots though). The one flash on nudity was done by a body double. Also she has a boyfriend played by an Australian actor named Mark Edwards. He’s not that good but he’s tall, young and handsome. That’s unusual as most Hammer films had these beautiful women falling all over middle-aged men! Nice to see an attractive, young couple.

All in all an OK Hammer film. I was told this was some unsung classic but it really isn’t. Worth catching at least once–if you’re a horror fan.

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