Archaeologists in Egypt find one of their crew has been turned into a blood sucking mummy after they have unleashed a three thousand year curse by entering a Pharaoh's tomb.
Mark Dana ... Capt. Storm
Ziva Rodann ... Simira (as Ziva Shapir)
Diane Brewster ... Sylvia Quentin
George N. Neise ... Robert Quentin
Alvaro Guillot ... Numar
Ben Wright ... Walter Andrews
Guy Prescott ... Dr. Michael Farraday
Terence de Marney ... Sgt. Smolett
Richard Peel ... Sgt. Gromley
Kurt Katch ... Hans Brecht
Robert Fortin ... Claude Beauchamp
I watched this movie often when I was a lad and "Chiller Theatre" ran it on Saturday nights. Even then I sensed there was something different about it, the mummy looked like he was walking around in his pyjamas! Oh I had already seen THE MUMMY (1932) and THE MUMMY'S HAND (1940) and those other mummy movies done by Universal in the 30's and 40's but this film was lots different from them! This was no bandage wrapped monster; to my young eyes the mummy looked like a very old man wandering around an underground tomb. I could not figure out why everyone else in the movie was afraid of him; of course there was that scene where someone tried to grab the mummy and only succeeded in pulling his arm off!
This is not an easy movie to find these days but I did manage to locate it on late night TV once. Knowing it might be my only chance for a long time I videotaped it. After watching it carefully I learned all the nuances that had escaped me back when I was 7. The mummy of the Pharaoh does not come to life, its spirit takes over the body of a young Egyptian man (Alvaro Guillot) and uses him to get revenge on those who have desecrated the tomb. An original idea, I must say. The downside of this is the young man begins to age at an accelerated pace until he looks no better than the mummy itself. His method of execution was different too. Instead of strangling his victims leaving a telltale mark of mold on their necks he bites their throats (admittedly a difficult thing to do when his teeth get more and more rotten by the minute!) and drains their blood.
Let's not forget the mysterious woman (Ziva Rodann, using the name Ziva Shapir in this movie) who appears out of nowhere and joins the expedition. She treks through the scorching desert and never takes a drink of water or gets tired. She also seems to know what is going to happen before it happens. Is she the cat goddess Bast in human form? Perhaps!
The moral of this story, if scary movies are meant to have morals, is Stay Out of Egyptian Tombs. They don't want to be disturbed and you probably have better things to do anyway.
Director Lee "Roll 'Em" Sholem also directed movies like TOBOR THE GREAT and SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE MEN. He knew how to get a movie done on time and under budget and still make it look good.
I saw this film when I was just a little kid. I saw it close to the time that I saw "Curse of the Demon," and thoughout my life I always wondered if these two films were real films or some kind of nightmare I remembered that I just thought were movies. I found "Curse of The Demon" a few years ago for sale, and I was able to record "Curse of the Pharaoh" about a year ago when it was shown uncut and without commercial breaks on the Tele.
Now, as a grownup, I have a little of a hard time finding just what scared me so awfully much in "Curse of the Pharaoh." I guess I was very young at the time. However, I still rate the film as better than most others rate it and have watched it about four times since I recorded it. That compares with many of the new films on DVD that I have watched on once after purchasing them. Perhaps it is just that I remember it as such a good film from when I was little, but I still enjoy it today. Many of the early "classic" horror films are not as scary as it is, and they certainly move even slower. I feel that the audience for a good mummy film was not there when it was released back in the late 50's.
In closing, I can truthfully say that I enjoy an average horror film much more than an average film of any other genre. I can spend a whole evening watching horror and mystery movies. How weird?
Slow as molasses mummy movie involving this expiation in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt that has to be aborted in order to keep the native population, who are at the time revolting against British rule, from finding out about it.
Given the task of getting to this archaeological dig by his superiors British Capt. Storm, Mark Dana, together with a couple of British soldiers and Mrs. Sylvia Quentin, Diane Brewster, the wife of the head man at the dig Robert Quentin, George N. Neise, make their way to the unearthed mummy's tomb. On the way there Capt. Storm Sylvia and his men run into this desert-like princess Simira, Ziva Rodann.
Simira seems to be superhuman in her ability to withstand the rigors of desert life, she doesn't drink water or get tired, but also knows just what Capt. Storm & Co. are looking for and warns him and his group to stay as far away from the dig, Pharaoh's Ra Ha Tet tomb, as possible.
At Ra Ha Tet's burial chamber Robert Quentin and his crew of archeologist's together with his Egyptin guide Simira's brother Numar, Alvaro Guillot,already opened his tomb before Capt. Storm can get there to stop them. Quentin violated Ra Ha Tet's body by having Dr. Farrady, Guy Prescott, cut his bandages. This action on Robert's and Dr. Farrady's part has Numar faint dead in his tracks. It later turns out that Numar somehow was possessed by Ra Ha Tet's spirit or soul who took over his body and caused him to age, at the rate of 500 years per hour, to become himself a 3,000 year-old mummy.
The movie has Numar dressed in what looks like a pair of pajamas slinking around Ra Ha Tet's tomb and it's surroundings attacking and sucking out the blood in order to survive, like a vampire, of anyone man or animal that he comes in contact with. This blood-sucking adventure by Numar, with him later losing his right arm, goes on for some time until the by now crazed Quentin trying to find the entrance, you in fact thought that he already found it, to Ra Ha Tet's tomb get's himself killed is an indoor rock slide.
We learn at the end of the movie that Numar, to absolutely no one's surprise, is actually Ra Ha Tet reincarnated into another, some 3,000 years later, person or life. Numar's sister the mysterious and sexy Simira is not only Ra Ha Tet's sister, since him and Numar are really one and the same person, but also the Egyptian Cat Goddess Babesti! Also not that hard to figure out.
With Numar/Ra Ha Tet back in his tomb and all the deaths, due the the Pharaoh's Curse, now at an end Capt. Storm Sylvia and whatever is left of his men and the late Robert Quentin's archaeological expedition trek their way back to Cairo and modern, this in 1902, civilization. The survivors of Pharaoh Ra Ha Tet Curse keep what they found, and unearthed, only to themselves since no one would believe them anyway.
This rates three stars because it actually looks pretty good, everyone plays it straight, there's some good acting from Diane Brewster, it's short and the mummy attack scenes (all three of them) aren't bad. They're not scary just mildly creepy. Still, this movie is pretty bad. A sure fire cure for insomnia.