The Mummy’s revenge: secularism, religion and the sacred dead in Universal and Hammer’s Mummy movies

Glynn, Basil ORCID logoORCID: (2015) The Mummy’s revenge: secularism, religion and the sacred dead in Universal and Hammer’s Mummy movies. In: Reflections on revenge: a conference on the culture and politics of vengeance, 4 Sept 2015, Leicester, United Kingdom. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


This paper explores the role of revenge within the Mummy movie genre and explores the ways in which undead monstrous avengers from the East, again and again, seek to wreak a terrible vengeance upon western explorers for what they perceive as aggressive and transgressive acts of colonialism, tomb robbing and desecration. Central to Universal’s Mummy movies of the thirties and forties and Hammer studio’s Mummy films of the fifties and sixties are clashes between archaeologists who believe in the right to dig up the dead in other lands, and living mummies and high priests who consider themselves to be punishing sacrilegious invaders. The quest for revenge by those who feel violated in these films raises the interesting question as to whether those who suffer as a result of ‘the mummy’s curse’ ultimately deserve their fate or not. Does the victim deserve his/her fate as a former victimizer. Rather than clashes between the civilized and the primitive, the tales of vengeance so central to the Mummy genre originate from diametrically opposed philosophies that prioritize either respect for science or respect for religion. Both Western archaeologist and Eastern avenger in these films are driven by a sense of higher purpose from which neither party will deviate leading to a relentless cycle of crime and retribution.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media
Item ID: 18054
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Basil Glynn
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2015 09:43
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2019 12:46

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