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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Blood from the Mummy's Tomb [Blu-ray]

 

(Seth Holt, Michael Carreras, 1971)

 

 

NOTE: After comparing the Studio Canal UK and DE Blu-rays of Fear in the Night HERE. They are determined to be, essentially, the exact same discs. Same running time to the 1/1000th a second, same bitrate, same image, same audio (with the of a inclusion of a German DUB and optional German subtitles) and same extras - minus the second disc DVD but the 7-Blu-ray Hammer Film Edition has all the other films (The Horror of Frankenstein, Scars of Dracula, Blood from the Mummy's Tomb, Demons of the Mind, Straight on Till Morning, Fear in the Night, and Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde).

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Hammer Studios

Video: Studio Canal (UK)

 

Disc:

Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:34:21.781

Disc Size: 30,726,227,867 bytes

Feature Size: 27,501,819,456 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.90 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 30th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2029 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2029 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

New Featurette - The Pharaoh's Curse: Inside Blood From the Mummy's Tomb (18:02)

DVD

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Margaret (Valerie Leon) suffers a recurring nightmare in which she sees an ancient Egyptian queen, to whom she bears an uncanny resemblance, sealed up in a sarcophagus. The priests who entomb her first chop off her hand, before throwing it to jackals. They are then killed by a mysterious and powerful force that lacerates their throats. Margaret’s father, Professor Fuchs (Andrew Keir), gives her a ring that he discovered in the tomb of Queen Tera 20 years before – the ring was on the queen’s disembodied hand. At the moment Fuchs discovered the Queen’s perfectly preserved, still bleeding, body, Margaret’s mother died giving birth to her. When a certain celestial conjunction is complete, and three key artefacts are assembled by Tera’s corpse, the evil sorceress will be reborn.

 

 

The Film:

Lensed in garish Technicolor and obsessed with star Valerie Leon's admirably ample bosom and sultry looks, Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971) is pure Hammer horror: equal parts chills and thrills, unfolding in an often helter skelter manner. For The New York Times that was part of the fun. "It is not so much a fiction movie as a stringing together of direful devices, but I can think of few more guiltily pleasant excuses for overstaying a lunch hour, avoiding duty, or merely escaping the sunshine on a summer afternoon," wrote reviewer Roger Greenspun, who was especially enamored with Leon's charms: "a 500 per cent knockout" he enthused. Margaret (Valerie Leon) is the reincarnation of the ancient Egyptian priestess Queen Tera. The daughter of a famous Egyptologist, Professor Fuchs (Andrew Keir), Margaret dreams nightly about an Egyptian queen whose hand is severed by her high priests in hopes of limiting her supernatural powers. But Tera's evil won't be stopped. In fact, Tera entered Margaret's body on the day of her birth, 20 years ago, the very day Dr. Fuchs entered Tera's tomb. When Dr. Fuchs gives his daughter Tera's ruby ring on her 20th birthday, Tera's yen for power comes alive in Margaret.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Over the course of his life, Bram Stoker wrote 12 short novels. Everybody knows Dracula but the others have faded into obscurity, in many cases mercifully so. The Jewel Of The Seven Stars, which would later inspire Rachel Weisz's character in the Mummy films, was picked up by Hammer in the Seventies and heavily restructured as it made the transition to the screen. The result is a film that has the full-on grand guignol atmosphere at which Stoker excelled, with ancient artefacts and terrible curses and gushing blood, but which manages to hang together as a story much better than it did on the page.

Key to its success is Valerie Leon in the meatiest role of her career. She plays Margaret, the headstrong but good natured daughter of Andrew Keir's aging Egyptologist. She also plays Tera, an Egyptian Queen killed many centuries ago but never quite robbed of her power. Tera wants to be reborn and Margaret has been marked from birth as her chosen vessel. But this isn't the usual tale of a virginal innocent terrorised by a destructive demon. Margaret, increasingly dominated by the dead Queen's influence, sees it more as a merging, and is quite attracted to the idea of wielding power.

Excerpt from EyeForFilm located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Blood from the Mummy's Tomb gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Studio Canal.  It is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. Colors are true and the soft lens exports a film-like appearance in HD. The 1080P in the 1.66:1 frame is very strong with rich colors (frequent dripping blood.)  It's pristinely clean showcasing some hi-def detail in the film's few close-ups. This Blu-ray does a great job of presenting the film's varied visuals from glimmering gold to the beads of sweat on an insane asylum patient. No complaints.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The Blu-ray of Blood from the Mummy's Tomb offers a solid DTS-HD Master 2.0 at 2029 kbps (24-bit). It has moments of aggression but nothing too intense. The score is by Tristram Cary (Quatermass and the Pit) and works well with the ancient Egyptian sequences.  Dialogue is clear and consistent. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

Studio Canal add another new featurette; The Pharaoh's Curse: Inside Blood From the Mummy's Tomb runs 18-minutes with input from Alan Barnes and Marcus Hearn (authors of The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films) and others sharing some lesser known details of the film and performers. It's worthwhile. There is a second disc DVD included.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Blood from the Mummy's Tomb is a bit of a wayward Hammer Studio effort. The 'Mummy' angle and Valerie Leon's ampleness carry the Hammer charm but the 70's 'modern-ness' feel is somewhat misplaced for a niche that frequently set delightfully rich period piece art direction. It also advances awkwardly. Still there is plenty to like even if it's not premium UK horror fare. The Studio Canal Blu-ray offers an exceptional a/v presentation and the featurette will enhance appreciation. Hammer completists or fans of Miss Leon should indulge. It is entertaining in it's own way if missing the usual appealing Hammer-esque atmosphere. 

Gary Tooze

November 20th, 2017

 

 

 

NOTE: After comparing the Studio Canal UK and DE Blu-rays of Fear in the Night HERE. They are determined to be, essentially, the exact same discs. Same running time to the 1/1000th a second, same bitrate, same image, same audio (with the of a inclusion of a German DUB and optional German subtitles) and same extras - minus the second disc DVD but the 7-Blu-ray Hammer Film Edition has all the other films (The Horror of Frankenstein, Scars of Dracula, Blood from the Mummy's Tomb, Demons of the Mind, Straight on Till Morning, Fear in the Night, and Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde).

 

 


 




 

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