Movie Marathon #8: The Mummy
Now, I believe there to be a real dearth in the world of family horror films. You know what I mean-the type that terrify the kids into silence while the grown-ups can drink wine and enjoy the general rollick and fun of a good story. Babysitting movies, essentially.
The Mummy is a perfect example of that; fun, light, exciting, entertaining and properly scary in places. I saw it when I was twelve and incredibly impressionable, and I was shit-scared by it. It didn’t help that my father spent the rest of that evening chanting “Ih-mo-thep..” whenever I was in a room by myself, but frankly that’s just good parenting. I needed toughening up.
It’s also a wonderful throwback to the Hammer Horror films of the sixties; all glamorous women, handsome heroes and bumbling sidekicks. It’s difficult to balance homage with making a solid film of your own, but here it works; there’s just enough tongue placed firmly in cheek for the movie to pull it’s own style out of film history. It’s also greatly blessed by a cast who look like they’re having the best time ever, especially the eccentric English collector played by a gurning, goggling, gaping John Hannah. And Rachel Weisz as the sexiest librarian known to mankind. Which certainly helps.
It’s properly scary, too; from the opening scene of live mummification to the slowly-regenerating ancient killer mummy running around Egypt waging war with a wannabe Liam Neeson on a horse, it doesn’t skimp on getting in some really traumatic scenes for the kids. And therein lies it’s allure-when you’re a kid, you secretly hunt out the scary stuff, the stuff you shouldn’t really be watching. I still think that one of the reasons I have such a passion for horror movies is that feeling of crawling into the comforting womb of Something You Shouldn’t Be Doing, and The Mummy balances the fun adventure story with the nasty, violent horror side with panache. It’s a brilliant way for kids to get into the scary side of cinema without staying up late and ending up wide-eyed with terror-fueled insomnia after over-indulging on some blood-soaked frames of film. And anything that gets kids into horror is something I love. Saves me the bother.