This is one of Universal’s best-known and most beloved iconic monsters, the Mummy. IMDb is a good place to see how his films rank.
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The Mummy was one of Universal’s most celebrated classic cinema monsters from 1932 until 1955. After being exhumed by archeologists, the zombified Egyptian priest spreads a deadly curse and has been played by everyone from Boris Karloff and Tom Tyler to Lon Chaney Jr. and Eddie Parker Jr. in six films.
Universal reintroduced The Mummy after a four-decade absence with a series of FX-driven pictures starring Brendan Fraser. Tom Cruise reprised his role as the Mummy in Universal’s Dark Universe reboot of The Mummy in 2017. So far, these are the results of all of the Mummy films that have been released.
1. The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Empire (2008) – 5.2
Last in the newfangled Mummy series, the globe-trotting adventure Tomb of the Dragon mostly takes place in China before branching out into The Scorpion King franchise. Even while there’s a fair amount of fun to be had in this film’s third tour, many feel that the franchise’s decision to relocate from Egypt, where the Mummy legend has its roots, was one of its worst missteps.
This time, Brendan Fraser portrays Rick O’Connell, the American explorer brought in to carry China’s venerable “Eye of Shangri La” diamond from the United Kingdom. Awaiting them there is the evil Emperor Han (Jet Li), whose lieutenant intends to bring back the Mummy on Rick and his family’s behalf.
2. The Mummy (2017) – 5.4
To save The Mummy reboot, Tom Cruise’s star power was no match for the scathing reviews it garnered upon its premiere. An entire action-packed cinematic universe based on Universal Classic Monsters was supposed to begin with “The Mummy,” but the failure of its first and only film ended the universe before it could begin. However, the film was able to bring in more than $400 million worldwide, so Universal wasn’t completely out of the woods.
Nick Morton (Cruise) is a US Army Sergeant who discovers the tomb of Egyptian Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) buried in Iraq, directed by Alex Kurtzman. A vengeful curse falls upon those responsible for the unjust death of the mummified Princess, who comes to life after being exhumed from her tomb.
3. The Mummy’s Curse (1944) – 5.6
Thespian of the macabre It’s Lon Chaney Jr.’s final turn as The Mummy in The Mummy’S Curse, a humid Louisiana bayou where the titular zombie terrorizes the locals.
Leslie Goodwins’ film begins with Kharis the Egyptian Prince rising from a swampy grave due to a botched irrigation process. The Mummy is resurrected and sent to a monastery, where he launches a bloody murder rampage in pursuit of his previous love interest, Princess Ananka (Virginia Christine).
4. The Mummy’s Tomb (1942) – 5.7
Thirty years after the events shown in The Mummy’s Hand, events in The Mummy’s Tomb are taking place. For the first time, Lon Chaney Jr. is cast as Kharis, the Egyptian Mummy, who is brought to America by a High-Priest to avenge the death of his beloved Princess, Ananka, who was buried in the crypt of the High Priest.
Kharis is taken to a cemetery by Priest Mehemet Bey (Turhan Bey) and fed brewed tana leaves by him as Harold Young’s film progresses. The brew awakens a malign streak in the Mummy, who sets out to exact revenge on those responsible for the death of his beloved.
5. The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) – 5.8
The Mummy’s Ghost, which was released in the same year as The Mummy’s Curse, continues Kharis’ (Lon Chaney Jr.) search for Princess Ananka (Ramsay Ames). This time, Yousef Bey brings the bandaged villain to Massachusetts, where he uses a sacred serum to offer the bad guy eternal life (John Carradine).
A furious murdering rampage ensues as Ananka’s soul is transferred to another human body and Kharis tries to find her before it is too late to preserve her spirit.
6. The Mummy’s Hand (1940) – 6.1
In The Mummy’s Hand, in which the zombified Prince Kharis collaborates with the malevolent high priest Andoheb (George Zucco) to murder those who desecrated his grave, Lon Chaney Jr. first donned the iconic Mummy bandages.
Ananka’s tomb is discovered by two lowly archeologists, who set out to gain a fortune. They journey across the desert to display the evidence, but the homicidal Mummy confronts them mercilessly.
7. Abbott & Costello Meet The Mummy (1955) – 6.4
Comedic Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy was the final film in Universal’s original Mummy film series.
Archaeologists Bud Abbott and Lou Costello (the famed comedy combo) discover the treasure of a lifetime in this Charles Lamont-directed film. They exhume the scary and bloodthirsty Mummy after finding what appears to be a precious medallion (Eddie Parker).
8. The Mummy Returns (2001) – 6.4
Stephen Sommers’ $100 million investment Ishotep, the zombified corpse of Egyptian High Priest Imhotep, is in a deadly chase of the magical Bracelet of Anubis in The Mummy Returns. Imhotep seeks to acquire the bracelet as a means of commanding the Scorpion King’s army when he reanimates in a London museum.
While rescuing his wife Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) and son Alex (Freddie Boath), Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) is charged with obtaining the bracelet before time runs out.
In addition to The Rock making his feature film debut as the Scorpion King in some gloriously campy CGI, The Mummy Returns has everything fans of the original anticipated.
9. The Mummy (1999) – 7.0
The first film in Universal’s second-wave Mummy series has the highest IMDb rating thus far. The director Stephen Sommers’s $80 million FX-driven spectacle raked in $415 million worldwide, generating two sequels and a spin-off series.
Once she’s saved his life, Rachel Weisz teams up with American explorer Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) to dig up the ruins of the ancient city of Hamunaptra. Rick and Evelyn accidentally reawaken the ghastly relics of Egyptian priest Imhotep while racing against a rival team of explorers. His best-known work, The Mummy, was probably the series that made Fraser a household name.
10. The Mummy (1932) – 7.1
According to IMDb users, Universal’s original remains the best of the best. In The Mummy, horror icon Boris Karloff plays the title character, a maniacal hunter in Cairo, Egypt, looking for a lady he believes to be his long-lost princess.
Onscreen, Karloff portrays the Egyptian mummy Imhotep, who is brought back to life thanks to the recitation of the Scroll of Toth. After a decade, The Mummy disguises himself as Ardeth Bey, a man who seeks the womanly reincarnation of his longtime beloved, in order to track her down and reclaim her. In spite of the film’s flaws, The Mummy has had a lasting effect on the horror genre, even though some aspects of it have not aged well.