Tale of the Mummy

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Tale of the Mummy
Tale of the mummy poster.jpg
US film poster
Directed byRussell Mulcahy
Written byKeith Williams
Russell Mulcahy
John Esposito
Produced bySilvio Muraglia
Daniel Sladek
StarringJason Scott Lee
Louise Lombard
Sean Pertwee
Lysette Anthony
Michael Lerner
Jack Davenport
Honor Blackman
Christopher Lee
Shelley Duvall
CinematographyGabriel Beristain
Edited byArmen Minasian
Music byStefano Mainetti
Distributed byBuena Vista Home Video
Dimension Films
Release date
  • August 3, 1999 (1999-08-03)
Running time
115 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$8,000,000 (estimated)

Tale of the Mummy (also known as Russell Mulcahy's Tale of the Mummy and Talos – the Mummy) is a 1998 British-American horror film directed by Russell Mulcahy and starring Jason Scott Lee, Jack Davenport, Louise Lombard and Christopher Lee. The film received a theatrical wide release on February 13, 1999.


In 1948 Egypt, an archeological dig led by Richard Turkel (Christopher Lee) reaches a tomb, identified as belonging to Talos, which is apparently cursed. The hieroglyphics at the entrance warn that all should avoid the place. Despite this, they proceed to open the chamber's door only to be blasted with a cloud of dust, which causes the archeologists to crumble apart as though they are made of fragile stone. Richard manages to blow the tomb shut, killing himself in the process.

In 1999, Richard's granddaughter Sam Turkel (Louise Lombard) continues where he left off. When they break into the burial chamber, they see Talos's sarcophagus suspended from the ceiling. One of the team falls to his death, and another, Brad (Sean Pertwee), has a seizure while experiencing Talos' past atrocities.

Nine months later, a power cut occurs, during which the container holding Talos' sarcophagus is broken into and a guard is killed with his eyes removed. Detective Riley (Jason Scott Lee) warns them the killer will undoubtedly strike again. At a party, a youth is assaulted by Talos in the bathroom and dragged down the toilet. A man is attacked by Talos in a car park while Sam explains the core of Talos' myth to Riley. Talos directed that his body parts be removed by his followers; and they believed he would someday be resurrected to reclaim them, gaining physical perfection and immortality.

Later, Brad is arrested and tells Talos' history to Riley. Talos was exiled from Greece for sorcery and came to Egypt, where he fell in love, and in a pagan ceremony, married the pharaoh's daughter, Nefriama. The Pharaoh was ordered by neighbouring countries to kill Talos, as all who opposed him were struck with disease or tortured into believing his theology. To save Nefriama from death, the Pharaoh told her about Talos' upcoming execution and she in turn told Talos. When the Pharaoh's army reached Talos' chamber they saw Nefriama eating Talos' heart. The followers of Talos were all put to death including Nefriama. Riley guesses that the murder victims are reincarnations of the pharaoh's followers and Brad believes killing Sam (Nefriama's reincarnation) is the only way to stop Talos, who plans to be reborn when the planets align. Brad further explains that part of Talos' curse is that anyone who knows what's going on will be deemed a madman. After Riley steps out of the interrogating cell, Talos appears and kills Detective Bartone and Brad. A reborn Talos tracks down Sam to her apartment, but she manages to get away; however, Talos captures her after posing as a dog.

Riley, now believing whatever Brad told him, takes part in a ceremony where Brad's dead body is used in a ritual which shows them the possible location that Sam might be held hostage, an unfinished construction site. Sam, meanwhile bound with rags, manages to free herself and stumbles upon a room where a huge nest of rags used to mummify the deceased is clumped in the form of a womb with dead bodies of Talos' victims lying around. As she watches, the water breaks from the womb and a horrifying baby creature is thrown out which quickly grows up into the true form of Talos with only the heart missing.

Riley and his group arrive at the construction site with eighteen minutes remaining before the planets are supposed to align and Talos would regain his physical immortality. Riley and Claire separate from Butros and Professor Marcus. The latter encounter Talos who manipulates Marcus into killing Butros by strangling her. Meanwhile, Claire falls down and gravely injures her leg which then forces Riley to go forward without her. Somewhere else Claire comes to Professor Marcus and after a brief conversation kills him by stabbing him with a scalpel which suggests Talos manipulated Claire into killing Professor Marcus.

Riley finds Sam bound hands and foot and they are intercepted by Talos who is fired upon by Riley but to no avail. Sam begs Riley to kill her which he does by shooting her in order to stop Talos from achieving what he wants. But, it is shown that it is Riley himself who is the reincarnation of Nefriama and his heart is what Talos wants for which he used Sam to lure him at the right place at the right time. Claire appears and takes out Riley's heart which Talos stuffs within himself just as the planets align and begins to transform.

The police arrive and pull out four dead bodies and a hysterical Claire. Elsewhere in London, the newly reborn Talos is shown disguised as Riley.



Nicholas Sylvain of DVD Verdict derided the film, saying that while it had an interesting premise, some effects were "merely bad, while others border on the ludicrous", and that the story made no sense.[1] Martin Liebman of Blu-ray.com gave it a 2.5/5 rating, conceding that the film is technically well-done, but calling the plotting unoriginal and characters bland. He recommended viewers only watch Christopher Lee's scenes.[2] British Horror Films reviewer Chris Wood praised Tale of the Mummy as an homage to Hammer Films horror movies of mid-20th century, with the token inclusion of Lee.[3]

Tale of the Mummy currently has a 17% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 6 reviews, with an average rating of 4.19/10.[4]

Home media[edit]

The North American version is only 88 minutes, shorter than the European version of 115 minutes.[5] A Blu-ray of the film was released by Echo Bridge Entertainment on March 20, 2012.[6]


  1. ^ Sylvain, Nicholas (15 August 1999). "Russell Mulcahy's Tale Of The Mummy". DVD Verdict. Archived from the original on 24 October 2003. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  2. ^ Liebman, Martin (6 April 2012). "Tale of the Mummy Blu-ray". Blu-Ray.com. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  3. ^ Wood, Chris (27 February 2010). "Talos The Mummy (1998)". British Horror Films. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Tale of the Mummy (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2019-10-28.
  5. ^ IMDb, Tale of the Mummy, retrieved 2017-01-11
  6. ^ Mulcahy, Russell (director) (20 March 2012). Russell Mulcahy's Tale of the Mummy (Blu-ray) |format= requires |url= (help) (Motion picture). Echo Bridge Home Entertainment.

External links[edit]