Saturday, 7 May 2011

An Open Grave

'Blood From The Mummys Tomb' doesn't have a particularly good reputation, or a very happy history. Director Seth Holt died on set a week before the film was finished, and Peter Cushing managed only one day's work before withdrawing because of his wife's (ultimately fatal) illness. 

To add insult to injury, I tried to watch this film three times before finally managing it, thwarted again and again by falling asleep about twenty minutes in. So, no, not a great film by any means, but very useful for insomniacs.

The abiding feature of the film is Island of Terror firm favourite Valerie Leon's astonishing chest, which becomes a character in its own right. It's a wondrous sight. Is that sexist? I don't mean it to be. I think men and women can both get something out of it, and that's rather wonderful when you think about it.


  1. have to say I only slightly acknowledged the quality of the film on first viewing aged about 12. I was a little distracted...

    not Hammer's best by any means though. always underwhelmed by Tristram Cary's score too - although his electronics for the last Quatermass film probably raised my expectations a bit. same goes for Keir's performance.

    but Valerie! ah, Valerie...a real surprise on first viewing too as she receives little (un)coverage in Alan G Frank's Horror Movies - my bible since inheriting it from my uncle at about 9 or 10.

  2. I dunno, for some reason this is actually one of my favourite Hammers... it has a kinda weird, unhealthy atmosphere that I like a lot... something slightly alarming about the juxtaposition of Valerie's chesty splendour and close-ups of blood-spurting mummy stump, and all that grim asylum stuff... one of those films where grief and confusion behind the scenes ends up accidentally creeping onto the screen, maybe?

  3. If this post ends up making me sit through this film again, I'll never forgive you !

    I had two copies of Alan G Frank's Horror Movies, and cut all the stills out of one to decorate my bedroom wall. I remember taking them down when I moved out, and getting a bollocking for the excessive Blu-tack damage.

  4. Valerie Leon, Alan G Frank's Horror Movies. Yep being 13 was never better.

  5. As well as the memorable Valerie, it also has Andrew Keir, the arse-warming priest from Dracula : Prince of Darkness (and the second best Quatermass). I wish he'd have made more films.