(This is part three of a series about the man, the myth, the legend–the Mummy. Part one is here, or follow the “gods and monsters” tag to see all the installments. Information was sourced from a variety of books, articles, films, and museum resources, but all opinions and conclusions are my own. Enjoy!)
III — Hammered to Death
Consider the history of ancient Egypt. The Old Kingdom crumbled slowly, dying under the weight of dynastic infighting and the drastic cost of the pyramids. It suffered a death by stagnation. In contrast, the rising Middle Kingdom was a short but sharp period of innovation and expansion, rising swiftly and accomplishing great things before, like the previous age, beginning to decay. With the death of the queen Sobekneferu, who ruled for just four years, the Middle Kingdom began to die too.
When Abbott and Costello mocked the established formula in 1955, the old, black-and-white mummy was officially as dead as the Old Kingdom. Now Hammer attempted to change the script. Three films would follow their 1959 effort: The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964), The Mummy’s Shroud (1967), and Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1971).
This was an unusual period of innovation in Mummy films. While the 1959 entry essentially served as a remix of the previous established plots, the three following films would each feature unique Mummies with differing backstories, none of whom had ever appeared before—or have reappeared since.