The mummy of a cursed pharaoh and a reanimated corpse terrorize a medical university. Only an Egyptologist and a college professor, the deranged Dr. Frankenstein, may be able to stop the creatures before it’s too late.
It was bound to happen. “Frankenstein vs. The Mummy.” After all, we had “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” “Freddy vs. Jason” and “Alien vs. Predator” and I’m pretty sure it’s only a matter of time before we’re inundated with more “vs.” movies but I’m okay with that. For the longest time, the one I’ve been hearing the most rumors about, almost every year, is “Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash.” For those of you not familiar with that third name, Ash is the name of the hero is Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” movies which culminated, at least for me, in a very unsatisfactory finale with the absurd “Army of Darkness” in 1992. Parts 1 and 2 were classics but the third one was so over-the-top it pretty much ruined what could have been a monumental send-off. Next year however, we will see the return of Ash on Starz as they have given the greenlight to a TV show which will serve as a sequel to the original trilogy and will contain ten half-hour episodes. I’m cautiously optimistic.
In the meantime, we have “Frankenstein vs. The Mummy” and just that title alone is enough to send shivers down your spine and not for the right reasons. There have been so many dreadful direct-to-DVD movies such as “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus,” “Chupacabra vs. The Alamo” (yes, that’s a real film) and “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid” that when we hear such awful titles, we want to roll our eyes into the very back of our heads and hope they’ll stay there forever. “Frankenstein vs. The Mummy” however, even with its ridiculous title, is not as bad as you would expect. The reason is because director Damien Leone keeps the movie grounded in reality, unlike other such movies of its ilk. He never resorts to unrealistic supernatural beings or bad CGI demonic creatures who fly around the screen, rather, his monsters are placed in the real physical world and because of that very reason, the movie is immediately elevated above its competition.
Mr. Leone also directed the low-budget horror movie “All Hallows’ Eve” which was very effective in its overall narrative of a killer clown on Halloween and he brings that same sense of dread and realism along with him. After an expedition to Giza for her university, Egyptologist Naihla Khalil (Ashton Leigh), returns home but has brought a mummified corpse along with her. As it lies in the university’s basement, it takes over the body of Professor Walton (Boomer Tibbs) and he proceeds to kill unwitting faculty members and students so that the Mummy can be resurrected by way of their blood. At the same time though, Naihla’s boyfriend, Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Max Rhyser), is working on a project of his own; an unorthodox scientific experiment whereby he tries to impart life to non-living matter but once his ‘creation’ has been spawned, it has plans of its own and escapes from its confines.
Naturally, with a title like “Frankenstein vs. The Mummy,” it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable ‘battle’ commences but like the fight in “Jurassic Park III” between the T-Rex and the Spinosaurus, it is short-lived and fizzles out quickly and the movie would have gotten higher marks from me had the fight between the two legendary creatures endured just a little longer. In the end, the movie is better than it has a right to be and much of that comes down to director Damien Leone and his insistence on realism in a movie that, in the hands of a less capable director, could have spiralled into absurdity and become just another terrible b-movie. As it stands, “Frankenstein vs. The Mummy” is a good old-fashioned horror flick with brains. Pun intended.
Available on DVD and Digital Download February 10th