It’s relatively easy to find redeeming qualities in even the gloomiest of horror outings from Hammer Film Productions, but THE MUMMY’S SHROUD presents unique challenges. This 1967 picture is directed by John Gilling, who helmed THE PLAGUE OF ZOMBIES and THE REPTILE. Those outings had flashes of inspiration and delight, but THE MUMMY’S SHROUD is as sluggish as its uninspired tagline. The caution to “beware the beat of cloth-wrapped feet” is as laughable as it is insipid.
The story begins with a flashback to ancient Egypt. The tale of Kah-To-Bey (Toolsie Persaud) is told and we learn that the boy king is buried after a coup. Flash-forward to 1920 and Sir Basil Walden (Andre Morell) and Stanley Preston (John Phillips) have found the grave. Ignoring a warning from the locals, as British archeologists tend to do, the duo hauls back home with their discovery. There’s a snake bite and some double-dealing from Preston, while the mummy of Kah-To-Bey’s manservant gets to the business of revenge.
The Hammer MUMMY movies kind of blend together and THE MUMMY’S SHROUD struggles to bring something new to the tomb. While the FRANKENSTEIN series expands into unique territory with its many entries, this swathed and marked set can’t quite get the job done. The repetition is evident as the Gilling and Anthony Hinds screenplay runs though its laborious paces, while Arthur Grant’s cinematography tries to do something with the dreary setup.
If there is a silver lining, it can be found in the fact that this mummy does some damage. There are some violent sequences as stuntman Eddie Powell bumbles around and the finale is showy, with a linguist (Maggie Kimberly) uttering the magic words. But really, THE MUMMY’S SHROUD is a monotonous bore. Notwithstanding some fine work from the effects artists and Don Mingaye’s sumptuous art direction, Gilling doesn’t put any muscle on his lumbering monster tale and the film just lurches into dust.