The Mummy character needs no introduction. This classic Universal movie monster has been appearing on the silver screen since 1932. From the 1932 black and white movie to the 2017 adventurous iteration, we have seen this mythical character in many forms. However, the fundamentals remain the same.
The Mummy in most films is depicted as an ancient Egyptian figure who was punished and buried alive for defying the gods. In most mummy movies, their resurrection occurs when archaeologists and treasure hunters accidentally or deliberately excavate their graves.
There are many things to admire and criticize throughout the era of mummy-based movies, i-e, from 1931 to 2017. At worst, they drop into sticky Orientalism. At best, they reflect the consequences of colonialism, meanwhile indulging the supernatural adventure side of the audiences. To refresh these aspects, we have created the following list of various Mummy iterations ranking, from worst to best.
Director: Alex Kurtzman
Writer: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman
Cast: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis
IMDB rating: 5.4
The Mummy was highly ill-received by audiences and critics alike. The plot was out of focus to the extent that even Tom Cruise’s label to the movie couldn’t save it from utter failure. The well-executed compelling Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) didn’t get sufficient screen time. The plot shunted aside the character to develop Tom Cruise’s storyline as Nick. However, even that aspect of the movie was bland and couldn’t engage the viewers.
The Mummy’s Tomb-1942
Director: Harold Young
Writer: Griffin Jay, Henry Sucher, Neil P. Varnick
Cast: Lon Chaney Jr., John Hubbard, Dick Foran
IMDB Rating: 5.5
It’s the second installment in the quadrilogy. The movie depicts the mummy Kharis’ quest for vengeance. Lon Chaney Jr. plays the Mummy Kharis on a quest for vengeance. Unfortunately, the prior movie’s footage further slows its glacial pace, making The Mumy’s Tomb an easily forgettable film. The movie is not a bad one-time watch, but it’s not good enough to make a durable impact on viewers’ minds.
Tomb of The Dragon Emperor -2008
Director: Rob Cohen
Writer: Alfred Gough Miles, Millar John
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello
IMDB Rating: 5.2
The movie suffers from a serious execution problem. The bad CGI and cheesy comedy scenes notoriously downgrade the movie. However, moving the backdrop from Egypt to China was a unique idea. Overall, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor ultimately lacked the charm and thrill of its predecessors.
Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy -1955
Director: Charles Lamont
Writer: John Grant, Lee Loeb
Cast: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Marie Windsor
IMDB Rating: 6.2
The film is a hollow parody that doesn’t bring anything new to the screen. Although the movie manages to provide a few laughs, it lacks creativity in building a connection between the classic monsters and the comedic duo.
The Mummy’s Ghost-1944
Director: Reginald Le Borg
Writer: Griffin Jay, Henry Sucher, Brenda Weisberg
Cast: Lon Chaney Jr., Robert Lowery, John Carradine
IMDB Rating: 5.6
The plot is somewhat repetitive, showing the mummy’s quest to resurrect the woman he loves through a living vessel. But overall, the story is presented in a captivating way. Moreover, the surprising climax makes it a likable movie in the series of four since the others had quite predictable storylines.
The Mummy’s Curse-1944
Director: Leslie Goodwins
Writer: Bernard Schubert, Leon Abrams, Dwight V. Babcock
Cast: Lon Chaney, Virginia Christine Jr., Peter Coe
IMDB Rating: 5.4
The Mummy’s Curse gives a lot of action to the female mummy, Ananka (Virginia Christine). Unfortunately, the plot is mainly about the cat-and-mouse game between the Mummy and the man she loves. However, this final movie of the series sees both Kharis and Ananka putting effort into pushing the plot forward.
The Mummy’s Hand-1940
Director: Christy Cabanne
Writer: Griffin Jay, Maxwell Shane, John L. Balderston
Cast: Dick Foran, Wallace Ford, Peggy Moran
IMDB Rating: 6
This film infuses light-heartedness into the monster movie. You will see most of the comedy moving toward racism and sexism. The mummy’s hands introduce Peggy Morn in the role of Marta. Marta is a savvy and smart woman who stands her ground and steals every scene where she appears.
The Mummy Returns-2001
Director: Stephen Sommers
Writer: Stephen Sommers
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Dwayne Johnson
IMDB Rating: 6.4
The Mummy Returns hits the screen with the same beats that gave charm to the other movies of the series as well. The on-screen chemistry between Rachel Weiss and Brendan Fraser captivates the viewers, leaving them smiling after every scene. The bracelet locked onto Alex’s (Freddie Boath) arm induced thrill to the plot mechanics. While Dwayne Johnson’s role of Scorpion King became a memorable character to this day.
Director: Karl Freund
Writer: Nina Wilcox Putnam, Richard Schayer, John L. Balderston
Cast: Boris Karloff, David Manners, Zita Johann
IMDB rating: 7.0
The 1932 Mummy is doubtlessly a classic. The plot moves forward with slow, calculated tension to keep the viewers engaged till the end. The reciprocal love between Ankh-es-en-Amon (Zita Johann) and Imhotep (Boris Karloff) is refreshing. Unfortunately, the element was discarded in the later movies in favor of more predatory representations of the mummy.
The Mummy -1999
Director: Stephen Sommers
Writer: Stephen Sommers, Lloyd Fonvielle, Kevin Jarre
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah
IMDB rating: 7.1
The 1999 Mummy blended Indiana Jones’ archeological adventure with the forbidden supernatural trepidation. Brenden Fraser gives his usual charming element, but Weiss had to go through the test of time with her intelligence, self-assurance, and femininity that never lessened her strength. It is a highly rewatchable movie with a cult fan following even to this day.