HCF may be one of the newest voices on the web for all things Horror and Cult, and while our aim is to bring you our best opinion of all the new and strange that hits the market, we still cannot forget about our old loves, the films that made us want to create the website to spread the word. So, now and again our official critics at the HCF headquarters have an urge to throw aside their new required copies of the week and dust down their old collection and bring them to the fore…. our aim, to make sure that you may have not missed the films that should be stood proud in your collection.
HCF REWIND NO.79. LEGEND OF THE MUMMY 2 AKA ANCIENT EVIL: SCREAM OF THE MUMMY [US, 1999]
RUNNING TIME: 85 mins
AVAILABLE ON DVD
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Offical HCF Critic
Somewhere in Mexico during the summer, an ancient Aztec pyramid, dedicated to the rain god Tlaloc, is discovered. It contains numerous artifactsas well as a remarkably well-preserved Mummy. All of these items are transported to a university in the United States for study and display. The university is nearly deserted except for six archaeology students and their professor. While they are preparing the artifacts for display, one of the students steals an amulet from the mummy’s wrist; he gives it to one of the other students, a girl whom he has a crush on. Unfortunately, it turns out that another of the six students is actually a descendant of Aztec priests, and that he needs the amulet as part of a ceremony to Tlaloc. He resurrects the mummy and sends it to recover the amulet so that he can complete the ritual, even if it means killing anyone in its way…..
I can safely say that Legend Of The Mummy 2 is one of the worst horror films I have ever seen. Now I have a weakness for cheap and trashy schlock, so I probably cut some films more slack than I should. Give me a group of people and a monster or a killer on the loose, and on some level I’ll be a happy bunny, at least for a while! However, I found Legend Of The Mummy 2 an absolutely painful experience. Occasionally it’s good for a laugh, but most of the time it’s excruciating. It hurts to watch this film, to see such complete and utter lack of talent in front of and behind the camera. This is the kind of movie where thunder and lightning is constant but we don’t see a drop of rain, where a man lying on a bed waiting for his girlfriend says “if you ‘come’ slowly, I ‘come’ quickly”, and where a university room has a fireplace and a sofa in it. Yes, it’s very very cheap, but with a bit of skill cheapness can be transcended or even taken advantage of. This film; well, all I kept thinking was that none of the folk involved should be let near a movie camera again, yet the director David DeCoteau, according to the imdb, a total of 98 movies!
This movie was actually originally called Ancient Evil: Scream of the Mummy. Two years after its release it was retitled Legend Of The Mummy 2 so folk would think it was a sequel to The Legend Of The Mummy. Now you wouldn’t think that people would be actually interested in a sequel to that film, but it was amazingly a success when it was released straight to DVD [probably because of the popularity of the Brendan Fraser movie]. It goes without saying that Legend Of The Mummy 2 has nothing to do with its predecessor and the fact that it also goes under the title Bram Stoker’s Legend Of The Mummy 2 is pretty insulting. It has nothing to do with Stoker and I was sure I could hear the dead writer rolling in his grave all the way from his burial place in Golder’s Green. Amazingly, this film was followed by another movie called Ancient Evil 2: Guardian of the Underworld, which seems to be have kept its original title. You mean the response for this film was good enough to have them make a sequel?
So all we basically have here is a few people wondering around a university while being stalked by a Mummy and his deranged ‘master’. The Mummy, who seems to wield a Ghurka’s kukri, actually looks half-decent facially but sports a pot belly and is soon shown far too much; they obviously figured out that the monster’s face was the only decent thing in the film so they milk it to an eventually tedious degree. The acting is atrocious though the female professor twitches her eyebrows in a way that Roger Moore was never able to do. No attempt is made to disguise the fact that the university is just a large house. The film is mostly set at night time but it’s obviously daylight outside. And get this….one of the most bizarre directorial quirks I have ever seen. For the most part, the direction is incredibly dull and botches even scenes that you would think would be impossible to totally screw up like the monster suddenly appearing right behind someone. However, every now and again the camera swings slowly from right to left and back again. After a while it feels like the film is taking place on a bloody boat.
With no suspense or atmosphere to speak of, I could forgive the film just a little bit if it had tried to make up for this by giving us some decent gore or creative death scenes, but no, it doesn’t even do that. The brief dagger slashing is mostly off screen and, with just a couple or brief flashes of dead bodies and no sex or nudity either, I cannot for the life of me work out why Legend Of The Mummy 2 is rated as being ’15: suitable only for persons of 15 years and over’. It actually should be rated ‘NO: suitable for nobody’. Ed Wood would have made a better job of this; at the very least, he would have made it enjoyable. Avoid.