The moment filmmakers decide to focus on some historical element, things become interesting. On one hand, there are debates on the accuracy of the films and how they might justify or fail to justify the real story. At the same time, there are conversations about how far these elements can be used as artistic creations. Movies about mummies have become one topic that you might not hear much about now, but there was a time when these films were a hot topic. In a way, movies on mummies have buried themselves among other films. That is why this article tries to un-bury some mummy-movies that you might have forgotten about or that might have gone under your radar.
This list comprises a variety of mummy movies. You will come across a variety of movie-types, from old classics to some modern animations. Additionally, these movies come from different genres, so there will be a mummy movie for everyone. However, the most important thing is that this list is based on the Rotten Tomato ratings. So, if you need to know which mummy movie to watch based on the Tomatometer, this article is for you.
15 The Mummy’s Curse (1944) – 40%
Starting with a decades-old black-and-white movie, The Mummy’s Curse is the fifth installment of the original Universal The Mummy franchise. The fact that this is the fifth movie in the series might be one reason why it comes at the end of this list. The film might follow a very simple and linear horror storyline, but it still has certain interesting elements. For starters, the film plays with themes of betrayal and love and connects it to the idea of mummies. However, it does fail to justify the use of mummies since the mummy characters are merely white personnel with some “historical” story.
14 The Scorpion King (2002) – 41%
If you are familiar with Stephen Sommers’s Mummy movies, which feature everybody’s favorite, Brendan Fraser, then The Scorpion King franchise might fascinate you. The series includes five movies and takes place around 5,000 years before the events of Sommers’s The Mummy franchise. Unfortunately, the films did not do well, and so, we only have one on this list. The Scorpion King sets a foundational layer for The Mummy Returns, where Mathayus of Akkad, or The Scorpion King, is one of the main antagonists. However, in this particular film, Mathayus (Dwayne Johnson) is a hero and a strong warrior who goes up against Memnon (Steven Brand).
13 The Mummy Returns (2001) – 46%
The film that led to the creation of The Scorpion King, the second film in Sommers’s The Mummy franchise, and Dwayne Johnson’s motion picture debut, The Mummy Returns, includes a stellar cast, starting with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. The film takes place in 1933 and incorporates the stories revolving around Anubis, an Egyptian God. Even if The Mummy Returns is a typical action-adventure film that uses some historical elements surrounding mummies, the suspense and the classic action features make it an interesting watch. Even if the film has received mixed reviews, the inclusion of Fraser, the adventure, and the development of its predecessor’s storyline make it a must-watch.
12 Under Wraps (2021) – 50%
This Disney film is for everyone, which also proves that movies about mummies do not have to be scary or horror-based and can actually be wholesome. Under Wraps is a remake of the 1997 movie of the same title and focuses on a group of friends who befriend a mummy. If you are a fan of Phineas and Ferb or any family movie, this might be the ideal mummy movie for you. With a simple premise, the film focuses on the group’s attempts at trying to return their new wrapped friend to his burial place. Like many Disney movies, there are some moral messages embedded in the film.
11 Mummies (2023) – 53%
Yet another family movie and definitely a fun watch, Mummies is a recently released Spanish animated movie that follows a mummy-family as they travel between time and space to retrieve what is rightfully theirs. By placing three ancient Egyptians in a modern-day London setting, the creators have brought a comedy-filled, chaotic adventure. However, at the same time, the film has received its fair-share of criticism, simply because it fails to do justice to the themes of history, Ancient Egypt and mummies. That being said, Mummies is not a movie about historical accuracy but, rather, a movie that focuses on the theme of family.
10 The Monster Squad (1987) – 56%
The Monster Squad, as suggested by the title, includes some classic horror film creatures. From Dracula to Frankenstein’s creature, a werewolf, and, of course, a mummy. What is interesting about this film is that it seems to be an amalgamation of some famous horror stories. The underlying premise follows the protagonists trying to defeat these creatures and send them back to their worlds, but throughout the movie, you are also able to encounter some missing pieces. For example, Van Helsing helps the protagonist defeat Dracula while Frankenstein’s creature gets a sense of “affection”, something the original character yearned for. Clearly, The Monster Squad is an interesting watch for any horror lovers.
9 The Mummy’s Hand (1940) – 60%
This black-and-white movie might not have the best visuals, given the time it was created, but it definitely contains an intriguing story. The Mummy’s Hand takes place amidst the backdrop of Egypt and follows a very well-known mummy movie plot line. So, yes, it might not do justice to the historical aspect of mummies, but it definitely is one horror film that used its “meager budget” successfully. This particular film was developed after the success that Son of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man series received. Was The Mummy’s Hand able to reach the bar? No, but it did go on to inspire more successful movies on mummies.
8 The Mummy (1999) – 60%
Now, this is a film that almost every modern-day mummy movie lover knows. Not only is it a remake of the 1932 film, but it is also the first installment of Universal Pictures’ The Mummy franchise that featured Brendan Fraser as the hero. The film went on to allow for the creation of two sequels and other spinoffs. Beginning with a 1290 BC backstory and the time jump is one feature that attracted many audiences. The film and its sequels follow an interesting storyline and taps into the action and adventure genres, in turn, making it an exciting watch. Even if The Mummy is not a movie that you will be obsessed with, it is definitely a thrilling watch.
7 Scooby-Doo! in Where’s my Mummy? (2005) – 62%
By now, Scooby-Doo has done everything, and the best part is, that this franchise tends to release some enjoyable movies every now and then. So, it shouldn’t be a shocker when one of those movies enters this list. It, too, has a time-jump and starts with the year 41 B.C., where we see Cleopatra trying to protect her treasures. With the film shifting to the present, what we encounter is an ancient curse, an army of undead, and, of course, a mummy. The usual Scooby-Doo storyline takes place, but with the exception of one of the Mystery gang members being behind the whole “mystery”. Of course, it is for a very good reason, which allows the movie to end with a powerful message; don’t use historical artifacts for profit.
6 Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) – 79%
Here is a film that definitely warps everybody’s idea of mummy movies, by bringing in two historical figures as protagonists; Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy. In this version of “history”, both figures are alive and in hiding. Throw in a mummy as the villain, and you have one strangely fascinating movie that might seem a bit out of place for history buffs. However, that seems to be the exact intention of the movie. Bubba Ho-Tep is one that is not supposed to be taken seriously, so you will have suspense, but with the added bonus of laughter. The way in which Bubba Ho-Tep connects the two figures that we already know makes it an absurd watch, since it has taken a very generic storyline and twisted it to our benefit.
5 Mummies: Secrets of The Pharaohs (2007) – 80%
This might not be a “movie” movie, but it is a documentary that takes the shape of a movie. Mummies: Secrets of The Pharaohs is a film for everyone; the history enthusiasts, film lovers, kids, and everyone in between. From the visuals to the combination of different, yet important storylines, this particular film will take you through time, and it seems to have justified the historical aspect of the mummies. It simplifies the complex historical stories while making it so interesting that you are captured from the beginning until the very end. So, for anyone looking for a less fictional and more historically accurate film, this is the one to watch. This film is a great attempt at making history attractive for those who are not history fans. Having Christopher Lee as the narrator is definitely one of the biggest pros of this film.
This French fantasy film takes place in the 1910s and follows a strong female lead, who is all about raiding tombs. Like most mummy movies, The Extraordinary Adventure of Adele Blanc-sec follows a generic storyline, but it is always fascinating to see a woman from an extremely patriarchal era take the lead in diving into adventures usually reserved for white men. At the same time, the film does carry some unique features that makes it, as Angle Errigo points out, “Amélie meets Indiana Jones in a charming, funny and exciting escapade”. Interestingly, the film is also loosely based on the comic books by Jacques Tardi.
3 Tad, the Lost Explorer and the Emerald Tablet (2022) – 89%
Yet another Spanish-animated comedy film enters this list, and, this time, as the second runner-up. Tad, the Lost Explorer and the Emerald Tablet is filled with adventure and is the perfect mummy movie for a family night. The story focuses on an amateur archeologist who ends up un-burying some fascinating treasures, among which he finds a mummy. Following this, we are taken to different parts of the world as our protagonist, Tad and his friends embark on a journey to save the world. The inclusion of the themes of friendship, loyalty, bravery, and strength make it a film with many moral messages. In a way, it perfectly falls within well-known adventure classics like Indiana Jones, but, of course, with the addition of a mummy.
2 The Mummy (1932) – 89%
This decades-old movie is considered one of the best movies on mummies out there, and Rotten Tomatoes definitely agrees with this opinion. The fact that The Mummy was created during the hype surrounding Tod Browning’s Dracula (1931) and James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931) allows it to take its place among some horror classics that gave rise to the idea of “fictional” monsters. The exception is that unlike Dracula and Frankenstein, which were creations of some famous authors, The Mummy took its inspiration from Egyptian histories and mythologies. You will definitely come across some interesting and well-known stories. Unfortunately, The Mummy was not able to keep up with the success Dracula and Frankenstein received, but it did go on to inspire other movies surrounding mummies.
1 The Mummy (1959) – 91%
Ranking number one on this list is Terence Fisher’s British film, The Mummy. The inspiration behind this masterpiece stems from the three films; The Mummy’s Hand, The Mummy’s Tomb, and The Mummy’s Ghost. Peter Cushing takes over as the protagonist, John Banning, while Christopher Lee portrays the mummy, in turn, bringing out some stellar performances. Even if this film is not as modern as some titles on this list, it was able to defy the odds and the challenges and do justice to its storyline. Moreover, the special effects were able to take the film into new heights. Thus, The Mummy has everything necessary for a number-one-ranking mummy movie.