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Talos The Mummy (1998)

Perhaps Hammer isn't dead after all? You may not have heard of this one, it certainly passed me by before slipping unheralded onto Sky Movies back in 1999. And it's taken me bloody ages to actually get round to taping and watching it (you know what it's like... you spend six months thinking "it'll be on again..." and then it disappears from the schedules). But I'm glad I did, because for the purposes of this web site, it's actually a bit of a cracker.

Okay, so it doesn't make much sense, the CGI effects are a bit ropey and the monster's not a patch on the one in that Brendan Frasier film, but it's still a good way to spend 90 minutes (it's infinitely preferable to Horror Of Frankenstein or The Witches, anyway).

What's more, it's even got Christopher Lee in it (ableit not for very long - but longer than his appearance in Death Line), and even Honor Blackman (Fright, To The Devil A Daughter etc). It's also got 80s babe Lysette Anthony, who I'm sure must have been in a few dodgy flicks in her time, and even Bill "Ar-fur!" Treacher and his Eastenders mistress Christine Hewitt (thanks to Em for that nugget of soap opera info) in a great cameo.

The film's basically a mish-mash of all those old Hammer Mummy films - it's got a long-running prophecy (Blood From The Mummy's Tomb), a lot of head crushing, neck snapping deaths (The Mummy's Shroud), and all the action takes place in London, with a vengeful undead bloke laying waste to assorted innocents in a bid to sort himself out (sort of like Curse Of The Mummy's Tomb, I suppose - come on, I was running out of examples).

The plot runs thus - Christopher Lee breaks open Talos's tomb, and everyone dies. In the present day, his granddaughter (obviously not one to take a hint) does the same, and this time, only one person dies, but everyone goes a bit mental.

Once back in London with Talos's remains, the group attempt to go back to their normal lives. But team member Sean Pertwee (doing his "mentalist" act and looking spookily like his dad), who's a bit psychic, shaves his head and tries to warn the rest that Talos is about to wreak a dreadful revenge. Of course, everyone is part of a 3,000 year old plan to ressurrect the evil old Prince, and he needs certain body parts to do it. Cue lots of people getting killed in a variety of gruesome ways.

Luckily, token Yank Jason Scott-Lee is helping out the British plod (where would we be without the Americans? At least he got here before Talos bombed Pearl Harbour this time), and as he and his dimwitted Scotland Yard partner track down the killer, things begin to look decidedly weird.

The plot buggers about a bit - it's not as straightforward as it first appears - but I have to say that although Talos looks cool in the middle part of the film - all flying bandages and stuff - when he discards the bandages he doesn't look quite so good. Shame. Bring back Valerie Leon!

If you get the chance, give it a try. If nothing else, it shows that the British Horror Film, Hammer style, is still there - even if modern audiences couldn't give a toss.

Director: Russell Mulcahy Writer(s): (WGA) (in credits order) Keith Williams (story) & Russell Mulcahy (story), John Esposito (screenplay) & Russell Mulcahy (screenplay)

Cast: Jason Scott Lee - Riley, Louise Lombard - Samantha Turkel, Sean Pertwee - Bradley Cortese, Lysette Anthony - Dr. Claire Mulrooney, Michael Lerner - Professor Marcus, Jack Davenport - Detective Bartone, Honor Blackman - Captain Shea, Christopher Lee - Sir Richard Turkel, Shelley Duvall - Edith Butros, Gerard Butler - Burke, Jon Polito - Parsons, Ronan Vibert - Young, Bill Treacher - Stuart, Elizabeth Power - Mary, Cyril Nri - Forensics, Roger W. Morrissey - The Mummy (as Roger Morrissey), Edward Tudor-Pole - Blind Man, Craig Stout - Nabil (as Craig Stoult), Anthony Beselle - Museum Guard #1, Jamie Treacher - Museum Guard #2, Ann Overstail - Olga, Enzo - Prince Talos, Waris - Princess Nefrianna, Alex Torino - Nirwar, David Sterne - Morris, David Henry - Coroner, Leslie Woodhall - Paperman (as Les Woodhall), Tim Hope Frost - Bus Driver, Mike West - Police Guard, Nicholas Hum - Nirwar's Friend, Alison Bullivent - Maid, Ciaran Mulhern - Nervous Student, Luke de Lacey - Wise-cracking Student, Hervé Sogne - Stand-in, Valérie Schiel - Stand-in


Last updated: February 27, 2010

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