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Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971)

The Hammer marathon continues with a little jewel of a horror film that would without question have received a perfect score from myself if I was rating films solely on the look and performance of the lead role.  Blood from the Mummy's Tomb is actually an adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel The Jewel of Seven Stars and is about an evil Egyptian queen who is essentially murdered but somehow puts herself into a trace, her hand is removed by the high priests who believed it would help remove her of her evil and she was sealed up for all eternity in her tomb.

A couple centuries later her tomb is discovered, shockingly her body is perfectly preserved as if she had only recently died.  In fact blood still even flowed through the wound in her arm where her hand had once been!  Finding her severed hand the archaeological team discovers a beautiful ring with her name engraved on it, Tera.  This discovery of Tera's body begins her planned rebirth into the world, as her spirit, which has been aimlessly wander the stars for centuries finally has it's opportunity to enact her vengeance.

Prof. Julian Fuchs, one of the lead archaeologists in the discovery, is the one who translates the inscription on her ring and sets in motion the beginning of her return, a return which coincides with the birth of his daughter Margaret, a birth which takes the life of her mother and begins her life of mystery.  Now grown Margaret is the spitting image of Tera, and the strange nightmares she's been having only appear to be getting worse.  The nightmare coincide with a certain alignment of stars which is a sign of Tera's inevitable return and it's clear that Margaret is destined to play some role in Tera's rebirth.  Her father gives her Tera's ring with the hope that it will somehow protect her from what he knows is about to occur, but it appears the ring is having the opposite effect and actually drawing Margaret closer to danger.

As the time draws nearer those who were associated with the discovery so many years ago begin to die one by one, as the spirit of the evil queen begins to take back items from them that were buried with her, items she requires to once again regain her power.  Margaret begins to become drawn more into situation either by curiosity or by the power of Tera possibly through the ring, beginning to slowly take over her body.  But deep down Margaret soon understands that Tera must be stopped, allowing her to rise again will be the end of her life and will lead to devastation upon the world!

First off the #1 reason to watch Blood from the Mummy's Tomb in the lovely and talented Valerie Leon.  This movie will entertain most men on the cleavage factor alone, Hammer has spared no expense on that as Valerie's bosom actually defies gravity!  The combination of her assets, a black wig, and an very exotic face makes Valerie a perfect pick for the duel role in this film.  She has a very menacing and cold look that still manages to be extremely sexy at the same time, and she's really not a bad actress either.  Unfortunately Valerie never turned mainstream and in her few films always to this day has really remained a cult icon for her role in this film and a few others.

Unfortunately I can't give Blood from the Mummy's Tomb a perfect score based on Valerie Leon alone, and it's sad that she's ultimately the most memorable part of this film.  While the other actors are good, and the atmosphere of the film is well done, it's once again the story that knocks this Hammer film down a few notches.  The overall plot is nothing new, and the execution of the story sometimes lacks in the area of explanation.  For example many times throughout the film I don't know whether Margaret is trying to stop Tera, or trying to help her by her own will or by some possession of Tera's spirit.  And the scar on her right wrist, which is in same area where Tera's own hand was removed is constantly shown in the film, but never once acknowledged or mentioned by any of the characters which I found strange.  It's some of those lingering questions that make Blood from the Mummy's Tomb confusing at times.

Overall, I'd still recommend checking this one out.  Aside from the at times confusing story everything else is actually quite well done, and as I stated before Valerie Leon really can't be missed. As of right now I would consider this film my favorite of the handful of Hammer films I've seen thus far, and it should be a film most horror fans and especially cult horror fans will enjoy.  Also something interesting I came across and worth mentioning is the supposed curse of the film.  Hammer veteran Peter Cushing was originally signed on to play Margaret's father, yet after one day of shooting he had to drop out due to a serious illness his wife contracted and quickly died from.  Then during shooting the director was fired, rehired, and later suddenly died in his sleep one week before filming completed, during this period of time the head writer was banned from the set and eventually fired as well after the director's death, crazy!

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