Thursday, October 10, 2013

Love Brides of the Blood Mummy – review

Director: Alejandro Martí

Release date: 1973

Contains spoilers

When is a mummy movie a vampire movie? Well, in this case I went for the US release name, which gives us an indication – given the “blood mummy” aspect of the title. The film was called El Secreto de la Momia Egipcia in Spain (it was a joint Spanish/French production) and Lips of Blood in the UK – not to be mistaken for the Jean Rollin movie of the same name.

The film itself is out here on DVD but it is a print from VHS and without subtitles, never fear, however, as subtitles are floating around on the net for this film. The print of the DVD also seems to have been colour saturated, giving the entire thing an oddly golden hue.

no response
It starts with a man on horseback. He stops at a farm where a young lady, Anne (Teresa Gimpera, Young Hannah, Queen of the Vampires, Night of the Devils & Count Dracula), looks at him but doesn’t respond to his presence. An old lady comes out and he asks where Dartmoor Castle is. She seems silent too, but it is the silence that demands a coin to break it.

Egyptologist ID
She accuses him of being the police and he refutes this saying that he is an Egyptologist, and to prove it he shows her a handy piece of paper that declares that he is James Barton (Frank Braña, also Young Hannah, Queen of the Vampires & Return of the Evil Dead) and he is indeed an Egyptologist – remember, whenever quizzed on your profession have a handy, dandy piece of paper close by. She tells him to follow the coast to get to the castle but says that people avoid it, that girls have gone missing and that Anne is an escapee from the castle but whatever she saw broke her mind.

The severed arm
He gets to the castle and lets himself in when no one answers. The servant John, who he comes across first, seems broken as well. He enters a room where the castle owner, Dr Dartmoor (George Rigaud, Leonor, Horror Express & La Mansión de la Niebla), flogs a severed arm that is chained to the wall.

George Rigaud as Dartmoor
All pretence of Barton being an Egyptologist goes when Dartmoor says that he knows the man is with the police as he can read his mind, he also claims that he can turn Barton into a statue and to prove it turns a stick into a snake and back into a stick. He then has the man sit down and suggests Barton is a messenger of fate and so he will tell his story to him and decide whether he lives or dies the next day. The film thereafter is primarily the story and the point of the Egyptologist ruse is virtually non-existant.

ornate sarcophagus
Dartmoor is an occultist and he had purchased a sarcophagus from the Valley of the Kings. Having opened it he discovered that the mummy (possibly Michael Flynn) inside was not wrapped and was perfectly preserved. A papyrus, once translated, revealed that he was the son of a priest who had been sentenced to death and had his tongue removed. To prevent the death sentence the priest had embalmed the son and this had placed him in hibernation, because of this his viscera hadn’t been extracted. Dartmoor puzzled over the remains and by combing the theories of Mesmer, Galvani and an old Indian legend, he had brought the mummy back to life with electricity delivered through copper and zinc (it’s an impressive line of mumbo jumbo at least).

supping John's blood
After the mummy awakened, John fed him milk but the mummy pushed it away and cut John in the process. He immediately grabbed John’s arm and fed from it. Dartmoor sent John out to kidnap the first person he came across (a sailor’s love) and fed a small amount of her blood to the mummy. He then retired for the night but the mummy fully reanimated, sucked the blood from the girl, used hypnotic powers to take over John’s mind and imprisoned Dartmoor. The rest of the film involves a lot of torture and sexual sadism (for instance branding one girl, and feeling her up, before draining her) until Dartmoor escapes. The film doesn’t contain nudity but I suspect there is a nude version somewhere as that would have been par for the course when it was filmed.

The only other bit of lore to mention – given that the film shows us the severed arm at the beginning – is the fact that it is still animate. Despite the fact that he is said to have been hibernating, then, we actually have something preserved in death (he was embalmed after all) that is revived through electricity but needs blood to be animate. It is pretty much down the vampire route for me. Unfortunately it is pretty darn boring as well, the pacing is plodding and we don’t really get any characterisation to draw us in. The sailor, whose girlfriend/wife was the first victim, manages to confront the mummy for all of 30 seconds before falling down an oubliette!

All in all, 3.5 out of 10. The imdb page is here.


Alex. G said...

Sounds like Blood Scarab did the mummy and vampire crossover better.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

slightly worse I'd say - the main crime of this one was that it was terminally boring... Good to hear from you btw :)

Superheroinegirl said...

Mummy Genre has a similarity to Vampires form the start, their both Ancient and Undead, and sometimes with massive occult powers.

Stoker also wrote a Mummy novel, and the Karlof Mummy film is basically the Lugosi Dracula rehashed.

Have you considered doing a Vamp or Not for Gamera vs Gyaos

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Superheroine girl, you are of course correct - there are definite overlaps between the two genres.

Re Gamera vs Gyaos, I hadn't considered it but I have now... thanks for the duggestion - I appreciate it :)