Monster Squad (1987)

Hundreds of mummy movies later, we get a glorious send-up courtesy of Fred Dekker and Shane Black. Part Goonies, part classic creature feature, it’s the epitome of cult. It’s also the movie that proved Wolfman’s got nards, a vital bit of progress for lycanthropic biology.

The Mummy teams up with Wolfman, Gill-man, Frankenstein’s Monster, and Dracula to fight Van Helsing and a ragtag bunch of kids as they all vie for a magic amulet that can either plunge the world into darkness or banish the monsters into Limbo. It’s a silly, fart-humor-spewing live action cartoon with enough memorable lines to fill a coffin.

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

As audacious as it is absurd, Don Coscarelli’s singular vision of Elvis (or an impersonator) played by Bruce Campbell and JFK (or a confused old man) played by Ossie Davis pits the elderly against the linen-wrapped villain. It’s one of those movies that shouldn’t work, but does. It’s undeniably quirky, but Coscarelli and company manage to transplant the core fear that the mummy represents – that we aren’t done with the past – into a common plague for an aging population who has far too much empty time on its hands and little ability to run away, even from a slow-shuffling horror. It is the most meditative of all mummy movies, and they still saved room for a flamethrower.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010)

The comic book adaptation most have never heard of, Adèle Blanc-Sec is also one of several Luc Besson movies that people don’t know about. It’s also a ton of fun if you can get over the rubbery CGI. Based on the comic adventures of the Tardi character, the film follows the shrewd and daring Adèle as she attempts to resurrect Ramses II’s mummified physician to help her cure her comatose sister. There’s also a 136 million-year-old pterosaur egg that hatches, an Inspector Clouseau-esque detective, a deadly nemesis, a tennis accident, hypnotism, and stray bits of snark among the beautiful set designs. Obviously, Besson’s style is in full force here, elevating a clear love for Art Deco B-movies with a healthy budget and the appropriate silliness.

The Mummy Clips

The Mix

I’m fully prepared for the comments section to be filled with “What about…” entries because there are so damned many mummy movies out there. Hundreds. From the original pre-code Universal thrills to the Hammer second wave to scores of low budget horror flicks to the Millennial big budget adventures.

You know what you’ll have trouble finding, though? Egyptian movies featuring mummies. The trend, especially the lumbering monster version of it, is almost solely a product of Western exoticism.

For a true change of pace, check out Shadi Abdel Salam’s 1969 The Mummy (aka The Night of Counting the Years), a grave-robbing masterpiece of Egyptian national identity that should break the spell of antique b-horror scares.

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