‘The Mummy’

Mummies entered the world of Hollywood in 1932, following the famous film named simply ‘The Mummy’ (starring Boris Karloff). Following the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter, the world became fascinated not only from the vast treasures found in the tomb, but also by the mummy’s curse. Though the idea of the mummy’s curse was already known from the eighteenth century on, Howard Carter and his team became the icon of this curse.

Boris Karloff as The Mummy (1932)

Poster of the film


Such curses were found in tombs (an attempt to ward off potential grave robbers) and though mummies could contain diseases, the mummy curse as is shown in the film never existed. For the Ancient Egyptians the idea of defiling a tomb, and worse!, the removal or destruction, of the mummy, could affect its owner’s condition in the Afterlife.

Howard Carter and the famous sarcophagus of Tutankhamun

Lord Carnavon and his daughter Evelyn, with Howard Carter standing in the background


Getting back to the film (‘The Mummy’ 1932), it tells of Imhotep who comes back to life because an Egyptologist decided to read a spell from the Scroll of Thoth. The mummy then spends the remainder of the film seeking a way to bring his dead lover back to life. A more recent, and perhaps better known to us younger people, is ‘The Mummy’ from 1999. This film, though fun and amusing to watch (at least I loved watching it), certainly has no historical truth in mind. My favorite part is when they explain the mummy’s curse, here known as the Hom Dai, if the mummy was ever brought back to life it will bring with it the ten plagues of Egypt. How is this possible when these events took place at least fifty years before the plagues of Egypt were sent unto Ramses II (or his son Merenptah) from the God of the Hebrews?

Another interesting fact is turning the Book of the Dead into something it’s not, a book of spells that can bring back the dead. the ‘Bood of the Dead’ is simply a guide to the Underworld, it can only help the dead reach their desired destination. Though there are many spells written in the Book, none of them could even remotely help a dead guy come back to life, much less bring back his extremely dead girlfriend.


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