‘A severed hand beckons from an open grave!’
Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb is a 1971 British supernatural horror feature film starring Andrew Keir (Quatermass and the Pit), Valerie Leon, James Villiers (Asylum), Hugh Burden (Ghost Ship, The House in Nightmare Park), George Coulouris (The Antichrist; Tower of Evil; Womaneater) and Aubrey Morris (The Night Caller, Lifeforce, Legend of the Mummy).
This was director Seth Holt’s final film – he also directed Taste of Fear and The Nanny – Michael Carreras took over when Holt died during production). The screenplay was written by Christopher Wicking (To the Devil a Daughter; Demons of the Mind; Scream and Scream Again) loosely based on Bram Stoker‘s novel The Jewel of Seven Stars.
The film’s score was by Tristram Cary, a notable composer whose only other horror film score was for Quatermass and the Pit and the 1968 TV series Late Night Horror.
In Britain, the film was released as a support feature to Hammer’s Doctor Jekyll and Sister Hyde. In the US, it was released by American International Pictures (AIP).
An expedition led by British archaeologist Professor Fuchs (Keir) attempts to locate the cursed tomb of an evil Egyptian princess. Her body is found to be perfectly, unnaturally preserved after two millennia. Fuchs becomes obsessed with Princess Tera’s beauty and takes the body and sarcophagus back to London, building a secret shrine in his basement.
Not long after, his daughter Margeret (Leon), who bears an uncanny resemblance to the princess, starts to experience strange dreams. A sinister man, who only she seems to notice, watches her from the derelict house across the road. Margaret begins to wonder if she’s going mad, and starts experiencing wild personality changes.
Soon the evil will of Tera, reaching up through the house, begins to periodically take over Margaret’s mind and body. The strange man is revealed as Corbeck (Villiers), one of the expedition members, who is working to restore Tera to life and a new reign of terror, and with his help, Margaret kills the other desecrators of Tera’s tomb one by one…
“Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb isn’t particularly lavish (the paucity of budget is apparent in the very limited sets), there isn’t a bandage to be found, and it doesn’t really get moving until the second half when Tera makes her presence more pronounced. However, Holt’s direction is never less than engaging, the script is sharp and witty, and Leon not only brings an ethereal beauty but a disarming honesty and range…” Daily Dead
“Although it undoubtedly contains some of the strongest set pieces in any of Hammer’s latter day oeuvre, it would be wrong to pass off its disjointed and sometimes incomprehensible narrative as befitting an otherworldly ambience strived for by its director. Equally, it would be prosaic to claim that this unhappy film, beset by tragedy, was cursed from the start.” Marcus Hearn, Alan Barnes, The Hammer Story
“It doesn’t instill in the viewer a sense of dread the way Hammer films at their best do. Instead, it achieves a very dreamy/nightmarish atmosphere, disturbing but never shocking save for the parts where blood spurts out of something. It has a very Continental feel to it if you dig my meaning.” Teleport City
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‘Given all the circumstances, Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb would remain a curiosity, not without its moments, but ultimately there is just something too literal about the way it is made. It needed the distance of dreams and it gets a succession of big sharp-focus close-ups.’ David Pirie, A New Heritage of Horror: The English Gothic Cinema, 2008
“I’ve seen worse Hammer films, but rarely one this uninvolving. The plot is decent enough – a mummy will be resurrected once she gets the objects back that were stolen from her tomb, and of course, each object’s owner will be killed in this process. Those kills give the movie its only semblance of action, but such moments are not only too infrequent, but they’re drawn out and dull.” Horror Movie a Day
“It looks and sounds superb on Blu-ray, even if it does show up how fake those sets look; but the liberal use of Kensington gore is a vivid treat for horror-hounds. Oh, and Leon looks just stunning.” Kultguy’s Keep
Most recent Blu-ray:
Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb was released on Blu-ray by Scream Factory on September 10, 2019. The Hammer horror film is presented with a choice of two aspect ratios: 1.66:1 and 1.85:1. Special features:
Audio commentary with author/film historian Steve Haberman (new)
Interview with sound recordist Tony Dawe (new)
Interview with camera operator Neil Binney (new)
The Pharaoh’s Curse: Inside Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb
Curse of Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb – Interviews with actress Valerie Leon and writer Christopher Wicking
US and UK theatrical trailers
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Cast and characters:
Andrew Keir … Julian Fuchs
Valerie Leon … Margaret Fuchs/Queen Tera
James Villiers … Corbeck
Hugh Burden … Geoffrey Dandridge
George Coulouris … Berigan
Mark Edwards … Tod Browning
Rosalie Crutchley … Helen Dickerson
Aubrey Morris … Doctor Putnam
David Markham … Doctor Burgess
Joan Young … Mrs Caporal
James Cossins … Older Male Nurse
David Jackson … Young Male Nurse
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Andrew Keir replaced Peter Cushing who had completed one day’s filming before leaving the production after his wife was diagnosed with emphysema.