Ep 1.4: The Mummy (2017) and Universal’s Dark Universe

Welcome to a New World of God’s and Monsters! This is Universal Monsters Cast, where your horror hosts – Gillman Joel, Dr. Shock and Wolfman Josh – regularly brave discussions of many a monstrous thing, with a special focus on the Universal Monsters, both the classic films and the emerging Dark Universe.

Season 1. Episode 4. The time has come; the time is now! The Mummy has risen and we will take our first look at the film and Universal’s newly-minted Dark Universe. The mainstream reviews are not great. Some fans agree. Others don’t. The horror community has been a tad more forgiving. What did you think of The Mummy? What does this do to your hopes for the Dark Universe franchise? Let us know in the comments below.

Some are ready to call The Mummy dead on arrival, but if there is one thing we’ve learned from The Mummy’s many incarnations over the years, it is that Death is Only the Beginning!


[ 00:00:00 ] I. Intro

– We’re taking a constructive approach to discussing The Mummy (2017) and trying to avoid both critic snarkiness and fanboy defensiveness.

[ 00:05:35 ] II. Spoiler-Free Review – The Mummy (2017)

Ratings and Recommendations
Wolfman Josh: 6 / See it in the theater to support the Universal Monsters
Gillman Joel: 6 / Rent it
Dr. Shock: 5 / Rent it

[ 01:12:59 ] IV. The Future of Universal Monsters Cast

[ 01:15:41 ] V. Spoiler-Laden Review – The Mummy (2017)

[ 02:04:25 ] VI.  Listener Response and Critical Response

[ 02:09:45 ] VII. Wrap up / Plugs 

Fun alternative fan poster by MD Posters that is arguably better than the official poster.


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Reference articles for this episode:

The Big Change The Mummy Had To Make Because Of X-Men: Days Of Future Past
by Eric Eisenberg for CinemaBlend

Universal’s Dark Universe: Where Do We Go From Here?“
by Robert Saucedo for Birth.Movies.Death

How To Talk To Your Friends And Family About Kinda Liking THE MUMMY
by Scott Wampler for Birth.Movies.Death

Gillman Joel’s links:
Joel covers retro movies at Retro Movie Geek
Follow @RetroMovieGeek on Twitter
Join the RMG Facebook Group
Joel used to cover forgotten flix at Forgotten Flix Remembers

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Follow Josh on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @IcarusArts
Josh covers horror movies on HorrorMoviePodcast.com
Josh covers streaming online movies on MovieStreamCast.com
Follow MSC on Twitter @MovieStreamCast
Like MSC on Facebook

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dave writes daily movie reviews on DVDinfatuation.com
Follow Dave on Twitter @DVDinfatuation
Like Dave’s DVD Infatuation on Facebook
Dave podcasts about horror movies on Horror Movie Podcast and Land of the Creeps
You can read all of Dave’s “Universal Horror” written reviews (HERE) at DVDinfatuation.com

UMC Producer and Composer Kagan Breitenbach’s links:
Check out Kagan’s music at KaganBreitenbach.com
Subscribe to Kagan’s YouTube Channel QuartetMacbre
Follow Kagan on Twitter @KRBrietenbach

*Note: The Movie Podcast Network episodes are bonus podcasts for our financial supporters. MPN does not replace Universal Monsters Cast and, further, UMC will always remain free.

Friend of the show, JodyMUMMYGuy, repping UMC and HMP in Toledo, Ohio!

77 thoughts on “Ep 1.4: The Mummy (2017) and Universal’s Dark Universe

  1. Pingback: Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 243: Wonder Woman (2017) and The Bottom 5 Worst Movie Titles Ever (Part 1 of 3) |

    • I’m so glad we ended up with Sofia Boutella instead of something like in the poster above. I thought the gender swapping was smart and a good idea but I guess they were forced into it. I thought it was a neat idea to have Tom Crusie as the “Damsel in Distress,” but he still had to be a hero to Annabelle Wallis’ character which was weird.

      • I love gender swapping, but I wish it had come with a deeper meaning. As cool as a female mummy is, it seems so arbitrary. A little depth would’ve made this new mummy so much cooler.

        • Do you really think the gender swap in this case needs to be justified?

          If you’re saying they could have made her femininity more meaningful to the character and/or story, I’m with you.

          • I don’t think gender swapping needs to be justified, but it can and should be elevated. If you’re going to change a character that was originally a male, then really make it a female. Go beyond casting a woman. Now, did this movie require that? Not the movie that I saw, but it would’ve elevated it quite a bit for sure.

            • I would’ve liked to see a lot more of the Mummy, in general, and I think really finding a way for her femininity to factor in could have been cool, but I’m not sure basic elements of the role really need to change for a women. She doesn’t do anything particularly masculine either. She’s just a mummy. And if that’s not a problem for a male mummy, I don’t why it should be here. The one change that I can think of is that her motivation stems from being passed over for power bc she is a woman. That was an interesting element to spark her anger. It’s justifiable. But then you kill a baby … hard to win the audience back from that.

            • No, you’re right about the mummy itself not having particularly male characteristics, but I think in this day and age, and with this new mummy being female, a lot of opportunities were missed. I know there are plenty of other problems with the movie that this seems like malicious nitpicking, but I really think it could’ve taken the movie to a whole other level.

  2. Great episode, Gents! It really captured the insane emotions I have over this film. I gave it a 6.5 but I rounded up to 3.5 stars on my Letterboxd review. Here’s the link…

    Dr. Shock comes in with the lowest score? Is that a first? I can’t blame him, it’s pretty close to mine.

    I can’t agree more with Wolfman Josh when he said they needed to cut out a lot of things and take time with what they had. More deliberate mummy stalking would be great. Horror movies take time to build suspense and characters. We’re patient fans if executed well. Like Josh said, the embalming scene needed time. That’s horror. When I was in school they told us mummy brains were pulled out through their nose with a hook. That sounds pretty gory. Let’s see that!

    • Mark, I loved you comment over at HorrorMoviePodcast.com that “This summer I’ve spent a lot of time pacing around my house and thinking about THE MUMMY.” Hahaha I feel your pain and I love to have a fellow Mummy pacer. It builds community! Mourn with those who mourn and all that.

      Also love these comments about “”Horror movies take time to build suspense and characters. We’re patient fans if executed well.” and your anecdote about embalming. Hahaha

  3. Gillman Joel, you’re blowing my mind with your great rewrites. Having Cruise die at the end would have been amazing! So unexpected and ballsy.

    I get what you’re saying about the creature’s hand, Joel. Remember, though, in the original film they find a fossil of a Gillman hand so there had to be another creature at some point.

    • Thanks, Dark Mark!

      And great point about the fossilized Gillman hand in the original. Totally slipped my mind. Of course, that could be viewed as the living Gillman was the only one of his kind in existence, especially since the hand was a fossil. Whereas, the Prodigium appendage was still meaty and well-preserved. It seemed, shall we say, fresh.

      And to be totally honest, if we wind up with an army of Gillpeople ala Shadow Over Innsmouth, I won’t hate it! 🙂

    • Honestly, pitching the movie we want to see is something I’ve violently reacted against much of my time as a critic. I go there naturally due to my own interest in filmmaking and I have to fight my self not to do it. So when Joel was doing it, I was honestly a little uncomfortable.

      But then, as he continued, his ideas were SO DAMN GOOD that I couldn’t help but embrace it. It even inspired an idea of a recurring episode called “Fix My Franchise” where we spend the whole ep pitching a better way to approach these films and hoping that it gets through to someone at the top (maybe through someone like Kris working for the Dark Universe). We’ll do a Fix My Franchise ep at the conclusion of our Mummy talk and we’ll come back to it as often as we need to during our upcoming Dark Universe coverage. Hopefully, this is the last film that will inspire such an episode.

  4. I guess I have a lot to say. I’m stoked to hear you guys talk about the rest of the Universal Mummy films. Here’s a list I made on Letterboxd of all of the Universal mummy films…
    I’ve never seen any Scorpion King films. I really like what I’ve seen from the Hammer mummy films. Some King Kong talk sounds great too. I watched King Kong and the Mummy in theaters this year. I feel like we’re living in the 1930’s again and I couldn’t be more excited about that!

  5. I’m only an hour in, but wanted to leave a few comments here before I forget:
    – Although most of the discussion revolves around negatives even though you keep saying you enjoyed the film on some level, I think this is understandable given what we all hoped for from this. So far I think I agree with pretty much everything I’m hearing. Here’s some big points that really resonated with me:


    – Ahmanet / The Mummy: I agree that the actress (Sofia Boutella) was great, and there were some interesting moments that got my hopes up (like Dr. Shock mentioned, the part in the church with her creeping in the background). But overall the character just didn’t seem that threatening or interesting. I thought that the idea she could get into your head and control you was compelling, but they didn’t play that up enough; instead there was more emphasis on her being able to throw Tom Cruise around and smash stuff. These parts were too superhero-esque for me. And as Wolfman said, her motivations seemed very convoluted, and seemed only there to set up future films.

    As to the look of the Mummy, I don’t think I needed practical effects so much as I wanted the CGI effects to look more interesting. Honestly, they didn’t bother me that much – I think I’m more in line with Gillman Joel here in terms of expectations. It’s just that the Mummy…doesn’t look much like a mummy. Yeah, a bandaged mummy would be great, even if in just a brief initial scene. But as the risen mummy, I think she could have looked more corpse-like, as they did with Karloff in the 1932 film. Maybe I’m way off-base, but she reminded me more of a vampire from Underworld or 30 Days of Night than a mummy. I guess they’re both resurrected corpses, but I always think of a mummy more like a walking corpse, a sentient zombie almost, whereas the vampire (at least in incarnations from the last 20 years) now has this animalistic, superpower-type vibe (unless you’re going for the “suave” vampire).

    Writing/talent – I also agree that there’s so much talent attached to this movie, and so many things that were decently or well done that it could have been much better. But maybe lacking a single strong personality to make it all come together – whether a strong director or single strong writer in control of the story – really hurt it from being cohesive. There were too many tonal shifts. And there were too many characters or scenes that were obvious just there for a single purpose (comedic relief, romantic interest, exposition), rather than feeling like an organic whole.

    This begs the question though – why would they begin a franchise with a director who has such little experience? It seems an odd choice. Maybe they were looking at this as a film that would just get the ball rolling and get the Dark Universe into people’s awareness, and they’ll be more invested in supporting more experienced directors in later films? I think it’s a great to give new directors a shot – but it does seem odd to do it for the franchise kick-off.

    Viewing experience – I think I shared the same feeling as Wolfman. I was really excited as the film began. I thought the plane crash scene was excellent. Tom Cruise wasn’t as annoying as I feared he might be. There were some horror moments. The American Werewolf in London allusion was amusing. But I think after the woods fight and entering Prodigium is where it started to lose me, and the ending really disappointed me.

    I haven’t gotten to the ratings yet, so I’m almost scared to compare my 7.0/10 rating to yours. That was probably way high just based on the fact that the movie didn’t totally bore or disgust me.

  6. Gillman Joel, I love your idea that Ahmanet could have needed Set to protect her from her vengeful victims. As Dr. Shock pointed out, this one lacked love as a motivation, which is very disappointing and takes away any sense of sympathy. I don’t understand why these things didn’t occur to anyone.

    After finishing the episode, I think you made a lot of good points dissecting why this movie didn’t work. I think my rating is probably closer to 6 like you guys; the higher rating was again just because it wasn’t AS bad as I was afraid it was going to be.

    I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on all the old Mummy films. And the King Kong and Godzilla movies as well. I recently rewatched all of the old Mummy movies, and I have pretty ambivalent thoughts on all of them as well. I think it’s the least successful (in terms of the series overall) than the other classic monsters, although I do love the *look* of the classic mummy.

    I’m curious if you have any thoughts about the exploitative theme that runs throughout these movies – basically turning the objection by non-Western cultures (like Egypt) to Western archaeologists plundering their heritage into a fear about curses, which then pits the heroic Western against the evil non-Westerner. A friend of mine made the argument that in 2017, they could have addressed this aspect more thoughtfully. I agree, though I wondered how they could pull this off in a convincing way without alienating audiences. It seems to me something that the average viewer probably isn’t thinking of (which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not an important issue to address, but does mean it’s probably not likely to occur to Hollywood writers either).

    Thinking back on the Egyptomania of the 20s and 30s, and the talk of King Tut’s curse, the Mummy feels more like it’s locked into the era it was created than any of the others. It just seems like a less timeless story. And the one potentially “universal” element – breaking taboos for love – was taken out of the new movie!

    • I love that you brought this up, AnDread! As you said, I’m sure the original 1932 Mummy came out of the Egyptomania (cool word, BTW) of the time. In the early 1900’s the British Museum was conducting their own excavations in Egypt. I looked it up on wikipedia and here’s a quote I found interesting…

      “The second-floor galleries have a selection of the museum’s collection of 140 mummies and coffins, the largest outside Cairo. A high proportion of the collection comes from tombs or contexts associated with the cult of the dead, and it is these pieces, in particular the mummies, that remain among the most eagerly sought after exhibits by visitors to the museum.”

      So the correlation I took away from the Mummy (2017) is that the U.S. military is in the Middle East poking around where we may not belong just like the British Museum was digging things up and poking around where they didn’t belong in the early 1900’s. Both countries in this case have global interests that may not be totally altruistic and I thought that was kind of a neat idea.

      What I find timeless about the Mummy story is that people are getting cursed for disturbing the dead or grave robbing. That’s a theme in many horror movies. I like it when the grave robbers get their comeuppance but that didn’t happen in this film.

      The love story is timeless, but like you said, this Mummy (2017) isn’t motivated by love. The desire for power was her motivation, I guess?

      • Yeah, the Egyptomania thing is, I think, a big context of the Mummy franchise that doesn’t hold up as well in today’s world. Even though, as your quote points out, Egyptian mummies are still a big draw in museums. Sure, you can play off the idea that we’re in a place that we don’t belong that has disastrous consequences, which is what I THOUGHT they were going for with Iraq, but it didn’t really come off that way.

        Dark Mark, I think you’re right that Ahmanet is driven by power, which makes any indictment of American meddling where we don’t belong completely lost. (And makes it hard to empathize with her.) Cruise’s buddy saves him and Nick by calling in an airstrike, which was played off as comedic, which I found to be really irritating and insensitive. Even in the older films, there’s not so much the impression of plunderers getting their comeuppance as there is the idea of this ancient evil curse that must be stopped. I’m totally down with the comeuppance theme but it doesn’t work if the film is trying to make us so sympathetic with the “victims” of the curse.

        An interesting aspect of the Egyptomania craze is that a lot of movie theaters in the 20s and 30s were designed with Egyptian themes. I remember them talking about that on AMC one time long ago when they were showing the old Mummy movies. The host might have even have been in one of those restored theaters. I thought it was really neat to see that, and it really hit home just how obsessed people were with Egypt.

        • Man, Dark Mark and AnDread … I absolutely LOVED this conversation and tried to bring it into our upcoming review of The Mummy (1932). I intended to read your comments and give you credit, but I missed doing both. So sorry about that. I want to return to this in the future. If I can get Kagan to insert a piece in post-production, I might just go ahead with that and try to get it in this episode. If not, we’ll be bringing it up soon.

    • Thanks, AnDread!

      And I love your point about the exploitative nature of these films. They are, I agree, a product of their time. However, I also agree that there’s a real opportunity to approach these stories from the POV of the non-western culture.

      How much more interesting (and different) might this have been if Cruise and Co. were initially perceived as the “heroes,” but it became quickly apparent they were the interlopers whose misdeeds created the evil, instead of being victims to an already existing malevolence? Or maybe do the whole thing with a Tales From The Crypt vibe. The kind of story where our protagonist is not a good person and ultimately gets his/her comeuppance for greedy and selfish deeds. Ah, what could have been! 🙂

      • “How much more interesting (and different) might this have been if Cruise and Co. were initially perceived as the “heroes,” but it became quickly apparent they were the interlopers whose misdeeds created the evil, instead of being victims to an already existing malevolence? Or maybe do the whole thing with a Tales From The Crypt vibe. The kind of story where our protagonist is not a good person and ultimately gets his/her comeuppance for greedy and selfish deeds.”

        Man, someone needs to put you in touch with the Dark Universe producers and get you on the scriptwriting team! ASAP!

  7. A few thoughts on Annabelle Wallis’ Jenny…

    1. Thinking back, I do remember some explanation about her knowledge of ancient Egyptian. It was brief, but it may well have been related to her mother, as that Horror Hound interview suggests. I wish her mother was indeed Evelyn from Mummy ’99, but there are some other thoughts out there –

    2. I’ve been seeing a new fan theory around the internet over the past couple of days and the theory suggests Jenny’s family of origin is not Carnahan or O’Connell, but Van Helsing. While I’d be happy about that news bc I like Annabelle Wallis and bc I’m glad Van Helsing is already a part of this Dark Universe, I’m down on a gender-swapped VH bc we’re already seeing a prominent female VH on Neil LaBute’s SyFy show and bc it would make Jenny’s “damsel-in-distress” turn toward the end of The Mummy even more of a bummer.

    Here’s ScreenRant’s femme Van Helsing fan theory: http://bit.ly/2rmdKaZ

  8. Excellent episode, Guys!
    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this episode, and I appreciate the in-depth discussion and analysis. My favorite aspect of this show was hearing you all wrestle with your mixed feelings on the film. But the comment that resonated most with me was during the ratings portion, when Dr. Shock said this movie has not laid a good foundation to set up a whole universe. I completely agree, Dave. I’m certain we’ll be discussing this further, but in the meantime, I just wanted to comment and say thanks for producing such an entertaining review of “The Mummy.”
    — Jay of the Dead

    • Thanks, Jay! I also agree with Dr. Shock’s sentiment that this film does not effectively lay the groundwork for the wider cinematic universe. That’s a problem, no doubt. Maybe the Powers-That-Be will decide to make each movie stand on its own and only hint at connections to other movies and characters (as has been rumored). Not getting my hopes up, but we’ll see.

    • Thanks, Jay! Though I take no joy in that statement, it was how I felt once the movie was over. Still, I can’t wait for the next one, and like many people, I’m wishing they would have started with a different monster (The Bride, Invisible Man, etc), one we haven’t seen recently. I’m sure they felt The Mummy was a “safe” way to kick things off, what with the 1999 Brandon Fraser movie still somewhat fresh in people’s minds. But how cool would it have been if they instead gave us a monster we haven’t seen since the ’30s or ’40s!

    • We’ll see. We don’t know where things are going, so it’s hard to say what groundwork has been done. We can say it wasn’t particularly strong, I suppose. But if we’ve already met Van Helsing and didn’t realize it, who knows what else we’ve missed?

  9. Can’t stop thinking about Joel’s The Relic version of this film. Somehow, I hadn’t realized that Prodigium was actually located inside London’s Natural History Museum at the time Joel pitched this idea. They were right there! I just came across a behind the scenes video where they talk about Prodigium “hiding in plain sight.” First of all, GREAT idea. I have to hand it to them for that little detail. Such a cool idea. Now run with that a bit more! Other than The Relic (which is surprisingly effective, but not a GREAT film), my imagination has been running wild with a Prince of Darkness approach to this film, as well. Could have been so cool and contained, so much simpler, and still within the general framework that they had established.

  10. Not to justify, but to explain: The atrocious Hyde from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was based on the character’s hulk-ish size from the graphic novel. I don’t really know how you could adapt that image well to screen without it being somewhat laughable or going full Incredible Hulk. At least they tried to do it with practicals. Yes, the legs were really the problem there. Eeech.

    Just looking through the different portrayals of Edward Hyde listed on IMDb, I’m not convinced there has ever been a really good one. I enjoy some of the crazy early ones, but they are as outlandish as League’s Hyde in their own way. It is a difficult challenge. Still, I wish Crowe’s Hyde had gone a bit further. I would have even minded seeing him hulk out a little bit and rip some seams in his fancy suit, even slightly. I think that would have been cool.

    • I have to see LEAGUE again. I only ever saw it once (in the theater), and wasn’t particularly impressed. But that was a while ago, so a rewatch is probably in order.

      As for the depictions of Hyde, my favorite will always be Fredric March in the 1931 version of the story. It may not be representative of what Stevenson laid out in his book, but then Karloff’s Frankenstein didn’t have much in common with Shelly’s monster, either. And that make-up is now iconic.

      • I doubt you’ll be much more impressed on a rewatch, but I do recommend people pick up the graphic novel.

        We should do a few “Monster Mash” episodes before this season is out. One where we review all of Universal’s monster rally pictures in one episode, one where we review other cinematic takes on monster mash-ups like League and Squad, and one where we talk monster team-up TV shows like Being Human and especially Penny Dreadful.

  11. I rewatched American Werewolf in London, Lifeforce and (just to make sure I wasn’t crazy) Tombs of the Blind Dead this week after seeing The Mummy. For anyone, like me, wondering what the hell was going on at the end of The Mummy, I recommend watching Lifeforce. Or at least this clip, which is essentially the same scene … only it makes sense narratively within the film it is in. SPOILERS FOR THE MUMMY (2017)***

  12. SPOILERS FOR THE MUMMY (2017)***

    Every time I hear Alex Kurtzman speak, I think, “Thank Set that this is the guy we have in charge of the Universal Monsters.” The guy seems to love the source material and really care about how it is delivered. He says all the right things. In this clip below he talks about the “discerning eye” of the audience and why it was so important to work in real locations and on practical sets. Yes!

    “Alex Kurtzman Explains The Hardest Scene To Shoot In The Mummy”

    Now, why in the living hell that wasn’t applied to make-up effects in this film I will never understand. You’ve got a zombie and Tom Cruise face-to-face in a speeding vehicle. Why not just give us a practical zombie? You’ve seen the Walking Dead, right? They can pull it off. For those who doubted me, see below the ridiculous CGI make-up of Sofia Boutella and Russell Crowe. Then see Jake Johnson as shot in his undead scenes, completely without make-up. Set only knows why. And finally, watch this amazing video about the practical make-up that they DID apply to Sofia Boutella in The Mummy and ask yourself why they didn’t just do that the entire time. Or let me ask you: They did incredible practical make-up! Why didn’t they just do that the entire time?! This is a Universal Monsters movie!

    “The Mummy On Set Makeup With M·A·C”

  13. Of all the allusions to the previous Universal Mummy films, this recurring motif was my favorite. I know not everyone was a fan, but I don’t quite understand why. They took a classic moment and improved upon it. If all the updates had been this successful, we might have had a hit. Yes? No?

    • There were elements of this film that I thought were fantastic. Yes, there were great allusions to the previous films and consistent motifs… ultimately, something went wrong and I think it happened in post production as opposed to initial shooting. I saw it a second time in the theater and hadn’t realized how much ADR there was with a lot of the characters. And it’s obvious ADR.. so much of it is exposition. Jenny’s character suffers the worst because it’s so many of her lines it becomes haphazard and clumsy.

      I think the biggest mistake they did make was in making the organization a paramilitary outfit that seemed both well funded and overly powerful. I think you limit their effectiveness and you automatically increase the stakes.

      • Right! We’re introduced to this secret military group that orders the government officials around. I don’t even remember if they have a name. Were they supposed to replace the angry mob from the original Universal films?

    • You thought the double eyes was an improvement? I hated that. I’m sorry, but that’s so dumb. The writing on the face was enough, they really should’ve stopped there. That, I liked.

      • And let me elaborate on that just so it doesn’t sound like I’m just hating for the sake of hating. With the exception of maybe The Creature, all of Universal monsters seem to be linked by the visages of humanity that they share, mainly portrayed through their eyes. In all of the iconic close-ups of their face, you can see a certain intensity and humanity that gets completely lost in this new iteration of The Mummy when you add a second set of eyes and in very noticeable CGI nonetheless.

        • I first saw the double eyes on a billboard and my initial reaction was negative. I guess in the movie it didn’t bother me that much but I like your take on seeing humanity in the monsters through their eyes. What’s the purpose of the extra pupil and iris? Did she have some sorta mummy-vision that I don’t know about?

          • Same-same. Didn’t bother me, but I like Juan’s take on the humanity. The CGI bothered me here in the least. It looks way worse in the CGI make-up examples that I posted which just look like glowing cartoons.

      • It didn’t bother me at first, but the more I’ve looked at it, the more it’s bugged me. They did the “double iris” on The Exorcist TV show (which was surprisingly good!), and I thought it was far more effective. MILD SPOILER ALERT FOR THE EXORCIST (TV SHOW): They used it as a way to indicate someone was possessed. It was as if the person inside, and the demon, were sharing the eye. It had a cruder, more organic quality to it. It looked real. Whereas The Mummy version is obviously CGI. I’m not sure if the double eye in The Mummy is supposed to indicate the idea of “possession,” but if so, then who is possessing Ahmanet? She made a deal, but was she also possessed? I read it as she made her deal and became a vessel for the powerful evil that would help unleash Set, not that she was possessed by an individual entity, thus justifying the double eyes.

      • Dearest, Juanito – I actually wasn’t referring to the double-eye AT ALL but to the hypnotic trance that the Mummy employs to ensnare its victims. I love it in the original film, I was glad to see them use it here, and I thought it was actually better here.

        As for the double pupil, I think it looked cool. They could have used it much more sparingly. Almost how a vampire shows its fangs before it strikes. I thought it looked particularly bad in the wide shots because the double pupils just blended together to give Ahmanet what looked like ridiculously big Disney or anime eyes.

        And I hated it when another character got the eyes. At that point, we have to feel like they mean something specific or grant some kind of power, but that doesn’t track.

  14. SPOILERS FOR THE MUMMY (2017)***

    As with most things related to this film, the discussion around Russell Crowe’s depiction of Jekyll/Hyde has turned to hater hyperbole, with some (like ScreenRant) even claiming that this is the worst cinematic version of Hyde that we’ve ever seen. It’s a flimsy claim because it can be so immediately disproven–anybody who has seen Van Helsing or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen knows that’s simply not the case. And with upwards of 30, 40, 50 versions of these characters on the big screen, starring everyone from Jack Palance to Michael Caine, it’s also statistically unlikely. As much as I didn’t care for it, Crowe’s version is almost certainly one of the very best Hyde performances out there, considering the field.

    In fact, as I’ve looked back on some of these version over the past few days, I realized just how difficult it is to do Hyde well. I was a big fan of the original novella when I was a kid, it completely captivated me. But if the classic Universal Monsters are considered dated or silly to a modern audience, Mr. Hyde is absolutely laughable. You can see it just in the evolution of the screen depictions through the years. He’s gone from missing link with John Barrymore to straight-up handsome dude with Sam Witwer. Anyway, my point being, they’ve kind of given themselves an uphill battle with this character choice, in a series that’s already going to be fighting for audience acceptance. What direction would you like to see them go? With these past version in mind, I’m actually leaning toward a scary beast representation.

    Clockwise – John Barrymore, Fredric March, Boris Karloff, Spencer Tracy

    Clockwise – John Malkovich, Jason Flemyng, James Nesbitt, Kirk Douglas, Sam Witwer, Russell Crowe

    • Whoops! I left my preference for the various versions of the Hyde character in the “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” post above. Should have left it here, instead. For the record, my favorite is, and probably always will be, Fredric March in the 1931 version.

    • I didn’t have much problem with Crow. I think if I had ANY complaints, it’s that he didn’t look different enough. I would’ve liked to have seen some facial hair increase, something a bit bolder in the physical transformation… I don’t want to see a monster, because he’s not actually a “monster” so much as the personification of Jekyll’s repressed ego.

    • I could see him becoming more of a beast so he could handle himself against the monsters in a fight. He seemed to act like a beast when he turned but his makeup was much more subtle. If they’re going for a subtle change, I would have been happier with more practice makeup. I guess I thought Mr. Hyde was more of a killer lunatic that would stalk around and kill people. This Mr. Hyde had to be in lockdown, like a werewolf. I haven’t read the novella but in this film, his personality didn’t change much in the transformation. Dr. Jekyll seemed like a pompous jerk and Mr. Hyde seemed like a beastly jerk. Anyhow, here’s my favorite Mr. Hyde…

      • Haha I remember that Mr. Hyde! I’d have to agree on that one being my favorite one as well. In all seriousness, I had not problem with Crowe’s performance, it was with his “transformation” if you can call it that. I wonder if that wasn’t his full transformation because of the suppressant meds he’s on. Or what if in order to get powerful enough to fight the monsters, he has the opposite of a suppressant, an enhancer. Hmmm…

        • Juan, I love that idea! If Jekyll does use a suppressant, assuming they keep the original concept that he became Hyde because of a serum he drank, then using an enhanced form of the serum to really “hulk” out, so to speak, could be an excellent way to add some variety to the character. Almost like he has different forms, some far more powerful than others.

      • You are singing my song with that Hyde! Definitely the best one. (Everything is made better when you add in Bugs. Yes, even Michael Jordan. 🙂 )

        And what you said about Hyde being a lunatic is also how I’ve always thought of the character. It’s definitely got shades of the werewolf (the man changing into an uncontrollable beast). And you can see the influence on a certain big, green superhero too. That said, I liked the subtle approach. But I also really like what Juan and Paul suggested in their comments that we may not have seen the fully transformed Hyde… yet.

  15. Hi, so I’m going to say this straight off the bat. I’m a big Universal Monster fan pretty much from as far back as I can remember. But of specific memory was one Saturday in 2001, the weekend that the craptacular Mummy Returns was released (I liked the first one, that one not so much), and the Sy Fy Channel were playing all of the previous Universal Mummy movies back to back, my dad and I just spent the whole day watching the lot. Then next few weeks we spent searching out the rest of the Universal Monster movies (which proved difficult in England in those days, at least until Van Helsing came out and they released some great double feature sets). Anyways, I digress. Basically, the Mummy has always held a soft spot in my movie watching heart. So, it was with both excitement and trepidation that my Dad and I went to watch the new version of the Mummy. We both enjoyed it, I liked the little nods to other Universal owned monster movies, as well as the American Werewolf in London references, amongst others.

    But, I came away with one big thought on my mind. This is Universal’s version of the MCU. You’ve got Henry Jekyl (and I’m pretty certain that the ‘Eddie Hyde’ that we saw here, is only a ‘transition’ Hyde, we’ll see a full on monsterised Hyde I’m sure) who’ll be the Nick Fury of the piece. But (and this is where I’m taking the ‘shared universe’ leap of faith) I reckon that we also have our Dark Universe Thanos introduced in this movie. Stay with me here. All of the main monsters has at least one solo outing planned right? Except one very notable exception…Dracula. Now most of the other monsters have a certain sympathetic side, except Dracula. He’s essentially the pure evil one. He’s also, one of the most historically in films, books, tv, etc. one of the most powerful. So, I propose that Dracula will be our big bad, throughout these movies. A sort of Moriarty type, hiding in the shadows. Or perhaps he quite literally is the shadows, in that Dracula is Sett, the devil, the dragon. In this Dark Universe he’s a much more ancient evil than he’s ever been portrayed before. Maybe, this makes Tom Cruise Dracula when he eventually returns (I doubt his character will be in every one of these, similarly I doubt Jekyl will, they’ll probably tag team or alternate to reduce monotony). Or maybe his fighting back forces Dracula to choose a different form. Or these could just be the ramblings of a mad man…let’s discuss.

    • That’s an interesting theory. I liked Tom Cruise in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. In THE MUMMY (2017) I saw what looked like a vampire skull in Jeckyll’s laboratory. Maybe that was Dracula’s skull so Cruise couldn’t be Dracula? Though, like Joel said with the Creature’s arm, either it’s a different vampire skull or when this movie takes place Dracula is dead. Maybe it wasn’t a vamp skull at all.

      Anyhow, I’m not interested in seeing Tom Cruise be the Mummy. I doubt he will be the next Mummy unless, somehow, he gets mummified.

      • ****SPOILER****
        It’s those damn eyes that he gets that are so troublesome. Can he be Dracula with Mummy eyes. He looks like he’s off an a fun-loving adventure, not to do evil. I just don’t know!

    • Great theory! If Dracula is the ultimate “big bad,” (fellow Buffy fan, I reckon? 🙂 ) and everything in these films leads us down that dark, dank path to a certain castle in Transylvania, it might all be worthwhile. This, of course, assumes the creators behind the DU start emphasizing the gothic and horror elements with the upcoming films, instead of focusing on the action. But I like where you’re going with this…

    • Thanks for listening, commenting and sharing that story about you and your dad, Paul. Loved it.

      I like Set as Dracula OR we still have a separate Dracula, but Set is the end boss. I especially like the Moriarty reference. That could be a lot of fun. My biggest complaint about Dracula as the big bad is that we saw that go very poorly in Van Helsing. Worked in Monster Squad and several other iterations, though. Could still be cool.

  16. I’ve been racking my brain on a way to interact with this past episode, but it feels like everything that could be said about the Mummy HAS been said. So I was listening along and then it hit me, but I’m not sure this is going to really add much to the conversation… But here it goes.

    Every monster has certain rules. Vampires drink blood, turn into bats (Wolves, other creatures, not always spelled out), strength, speed, and mesmerism. That’s just an example… so I started thinking about the “Rules” for Mummies.

    This is purely based on my speculation and I might be able to cite a few sources beyond just the films themselves. Firstly, there are mummies in a variety of cultures… The Mayan, Aztec, Egyptians, Chinese, and others have had Mummy films based on their cultures. So many of the rules will also be dependent on that cultures beliefs… for now I will try to focus on the Egyptian-centric mythology.

    1. The Mummy rises due to a “Curse” of some sort… either placed on those who disturb it’s peace, a reading from the “Book of Life” or some other ancient scroll, the taking of some kind of property, and always combined with a past misdeed that led to their being cursed. Either way, the Mummy’s “revival” is almost always a Curse of some sort.

    Unlike most “Undead” creatures, it does not wake with a thirst or hunger for blood or flesh… it is not a mindless savage. It is a scheming, thinking, and rational creature who must find some way to “pass” in society at some point.

    2. The Powers of the Mummy: The Curse is most commonly associated with the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. Several of the people involved with the discovery of Tut’s tomb had died very quickly, which included the presence of a King Cobra in the bird cage of one explorer and the blood poisoning death of another. This has led to most speculative fiction involving the Monster to base many of their powers on the Egyptian Plagues. Simplified: Control over weather (Sand storms, windstorms, rain, et al.), Water to Blood, Control of vermin plagues (Rats, frogs, locusts, ticks, other insects… most commonly, scarabs), Darkness (blotting the sun), boils… the only one that really seems to be missing from most fiction is the Death of the First Born Son. Mummies also exhibit great strength and a small talent in mesmerism. They are of course immortal and many practice Sorcery of some sort.

    3. Weaknesses of the Mummy: The Traditional use of “Fire” as an all cleansing agent seems to work across the board for monsters. Some fiction offers superstitious beliefs based on culture… cats for the Underworld, statues of certain Gods, and often won’t walk in the Sun due to the belief in Osiris. They can often be put to rest through another incantation from a scroll or book of spells.

    4. Goals of the Mummy: Revenge is first… to deliver the curse to those who have trespassed. Secondly, another resurrection of some sort… the calling to the soul of a lost loved one. To protect an artifact, to find a release from the curse themselves.

    So, with that said…

    the Brendan Frasier version of The Mummy is probably the closest we will ever come to a faithful adaptation of the mythology of the creature. It is a far more effective horror film than many give credit, due to it’s similarities to Indiana Jones. But it’s important to note that Archeology is an important aspect to the Mummy as a theme. And, unlike Jones, the Frasier film focuses on the Curse and vengeance far more than is remembered. A character has his eyes plucked, the people of Egypt suffer the boils and the plagues are heavily featured.

    Anyway, there’s my participation… do I get a no-prize?

    • This is a great comment, Red. I think it’s interesting that as I was reading your rules for the Mummy, I realized I already knew most of them yet they weren’t as embedded in my mind as much as vampire or zombie rules. I’m not sure why that is. Probably because vampires and zombies are such a big part of pop culture. Anyway, this is a pretty handy comprehensive rules list to have. And I totally agree with you that Brendan Fraser’s Mummy is very underrated. I’m very anxious to find out what the hosts think of it. I personally love it and think it handles its mix of action, comedy, and horror almost perfectly.

    • Redcap, your idea of looking at “rules” for the mummy figure is a great idea. However, I have to take issue with your “rules” because I think much of what you mentioned was invented by the 1999 film. I don’t remember the 10 plagues of Egypt ever being a thing until the Sommers movie, and it doesn’t make much sense to me as being rooted in an Egyptian pagan tradition. (Someone correct me if I’m wrong, though.)

      Also, the idea of revenge being a “goal” of a mummy is also somewhat debatable since in the older Universal films, this was actually more of a goal of the high priest controlling the Mummy, something Sommers’ film completely ignored. In the original, the actual goal of Imhotep was reviving his love, rather than revenge per se.

      I’m not sure there’s ever been a consistent set of rules for mummies. It seems like each film makes up its own set of rules.

      • I thought the same thing until I did some research on the mummy as a creature of myth… The idea of the, it curses, are traced back to the rumors of King Tut’s “curse”. I ignored the first written fiction involving the ressurection of a mummy because it was based more on sci-fi “fish out of time” concepts, rather than horror. However, there were other works. I did wrap control from the priest in my motivation, because the ultimate goal is still revenge. (I.e. Tales from the Darkside).btam stoker’s my novel included a semblance of revenge as well.

        So some of these rules I got from reading the original first edition rules if White Wolf’s “world if darkness” rog, predating the Frasie film by roughly 8 years. Dungeons and dragons also had a number if rules, separating them from other undead and I even tried to address established powers from Mum-ra of thundercats.

  17. Pingback: Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 244: The Mummy (2017) and It Comes at Night (2017) and The Bottom 5 Worst Movie Titles Ever (Part 2 of 3) |

  18. Hey guys, big hmp listener, new to universal monsters even though I’m nearing 50 I havn’t taken a lot of notice of the old monster films , maybe they were on in the background once or twice but I never really sat down and watched them. but listening to wolfman and dr shock I decided to make a start and purchased the blue ray essential collection as a starter kit so to speak, and I’m loving it , your podcast makes brilliant listening and as usual you all know your stuff (watching the 1932 mummy AGAIN as I’m typing this).
    i’ll be honest I have not seen the latest mummy yet ,going to get there this weekend,so I didn’t listen to your spoilers yet, but one thing I picked up on was the fact that with a few changes here and there it could of been a better film, which got me thinking everytime I heard the director alex kurtzman talk about the film he always seemed to mention that tom cruise would basically take over parts of the film and he would go along with it , explaining you don’t say no to tom cruise, now I wonder if it was just the stunts and action parts or whether he actually got involved in other parts of the plot and here lies one of the problems, I’m just putting it out there, and would to hear any thoughts on this.
    I see bill chette gave it 2/10 ouch!
    Anyway keep up the great work cant wait to go through the other mummy films,

    • Thanks for listening, Tony! It’s never too late to get into the classics. I was more of a fan of the “modern” stuff when I was a kid (the 1980s). However, I was always aware of the classic monsters and when one of the old films came on local TV.

      I’ve heard that about Cruise as well. I’d say this goes back to the problem with having a huge star and a newbie director at the helm. Unless the director is able to have a strong vision and the will to go head-to-head with the likes of Cruise, it’s not surprising that the film feels uneven.

      • I totally agree with what you guys are saying about the dynamic with a big star like Tom Cruise. He’s been getting a lot of the blame for problems with The Mummy. I put the blame on the producers who insisted Tom Cruise be in their film, even though none of the horror fans wanted that. Tom Cruise is doing what you hire Tom Cruise to do. I’m kinda surprised at how much horror stuff was actually in the movie.

    • Glad you’re getting into the old Universal Monsters, Tony! They’re my favorite. When I was a kid, AMC would show the old monsters on monsterfest in October and that’s how I got into them. I would check the TV guide for showings and record them on VHS. Then, I would meticulously decorate the VHS cases with monster stickers. Some people have trouble getting into the movies as adults because they are really from a different time. How did everyone else first experience the monsters?

      • Tony: “I see bill chette gave it 2/10 ouch!”
        Billchette is pretty hard on movies, maybe because he watches so many. I enjoy his reviews but I take them with a grain of salt!

        Dark Mark: “Some people have trouble getting into the movies as adults because they are really from a different time. How did everyone else first experience the monsters?”

        I had seen most of the original Universal movies as a kid. I grew up in the 80s and was watching Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm St, and Halloween films pretty young, but I watched all the old classics with my dad, so developed a love for old and new horror almost simultaneously. I actually hated the original 1932 Mummy when younger because it’s so slow and more dependent on atmosphere than action, but appreciated it more as an adult. However, watching the others as an adult, I cringe more at them for their sloppiness and ethnocentrism than I do the other Universal classics. As an adult, I can much better appreciate the dark comedy of Bride of Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, etc. than I could as a child.

        • That’s a cool story, AnDread. The Bride and the Invisible man are up next for the DU. I’d love to see those monsters on the big screen again and I loved the original James Whale versions. I hope Universal has learned from their mistakes but I’m not sure they’ve been learning much since DRACULA UNTOLD and THE WOLFMAN (2010). Maybe Disney should buy up the monsters too. 😂

    • Thanks for coming over here to check us out, Tony. I hope you’ll go on this journey of discovery with us as we visit or revisit all of the classic Universal Monsters movies. It’s going to be fun!

  19. Pingback: Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 120: It Comes at Night (2017) and 47 Meters Down (2017) and 12 Feet Deep: Trapped Sisters (2017) and The Mummy (2017) |

  20. Late to the party on this one, but here is my hot take on The Mummy

    I think it was Dark Mark who said in his Letterboxd review, and I’m paraphrasing, but the original mummy wasn’t a favorite of the classic Universal monster movies… those movies were probably some of the weaker of the classics… so if that pattern holds true in this new Dark Universe and this new The Mummy is on the low end, I’m ok with that.

    That pretty much sums up my thoughts on The Mummy. As a monster concept, I really want to love the mummy, but the films just never really hit for me. That said, I had a lot of fun with this latest iteration. It wasn’t the mummy movie I wanted, but I still really enjoyed what we got… despite its many flaws.

    I also really liked how they set up the Dark Universe, even down to the semi-forced, somewhat cheesy logo on the opposite side of the Universal globe. I loved that. It immediately got me pumped for what was to come. And while I don’t think everything with Dr. Jekyll was necessarily successful or elegantly realized, the monster-loving geek in me loved the Prodigium setup.

    The Mummy for me is a 7.5/10. The “quality” rating is somewhat lower, but I give it a bump for the amount of fun I had watching it. I’ll be interested to see how that holds on re-watch. And I will be rewatching this one. Like Mark mentioned above, this is a movie I’ve thought about A LOT since my initial viewing. I see this being a movie I revisit often into the future.

  21. Pingback: Ep 1.6: Hammer’s Mummy Movies | Universal Monsters Cast

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