Friday, June 20, 2008

THE Mummy vs. The Mummy

I harbor no ill will for Stephen Sommers. Really. Seriously. I know, I know, there’s the atrocity known as Van Helsing, yada yada. But when his 1999 version of THE Mummy presents opportunities for introducing my son, Werewolf Jr., into the delights of classic monsters, who I am to complain. Ok, maybe there’s lots to complain about. In any case, Werewolf Jr. loves THE Mummy (and yes, for him, it’s THE Mummy, largely because of how a 5 year is taught to pronounce that particular article.) He thinks Bendan Frasier’s character, O’Connell, is the bomb. He thinks Imhotep’s the scariest thing on the planet. He buys a Mummy cap on our recent trip to Universal Studios. Not tall enough to ride the (I admit) spankin’ ride, he poses for pictures by the mummy guards. I’m a good monster dad. I indulge.

But what else do I do as a good monster dad?

I introduce him to what I consider one of the greatest mummy movies ever—the 1959 Terence Fisher film starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. I admit, it’s slower. No groovy scarabs that burrow under the skin. No swashbuckling heroes like O’Connell. But, my God, there’s Peter Cushing. There’s the eerie swamp. There’s the glass-breaking scene when Cushing’s character harpoons the rampaging, revenge-seeking mummy.

That’s scary, I said.

Sort of, he said.

He wore his Universal Studios hat while we watched the movie, and before I put him to bed, I pointed out the other Hammer Mummy movies we had waiting on the shelf—Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb and The Mummy’s Shroud. He admitted that Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb looked pretty good, but we’ll have to save it for another night. I’ll keep Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr. on hold for later.

Damn that Stephen Sommers. But at least he’s got Werewolf Jr. thinking about the beat of those cloth wrapped feet . . .

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