There's an instantly recognizable and iconic image associated with a mummy: Undead Egyptian guy, shambling through an abandoned temple or crypt, after a screaming woman and a guy wearing a safari outfit and firing a gun that doesn't seem to have any effect. But few actual mummy movies are widely seen today. So, just for the the sake of science, let's crack open this sarcophagus full of seven great mummy movies. What's the worst that could happen?


"The Mummy"

Even the most famous mummy movie, and the one that kicked off the whole trend, is an under seen classic compared to other classic Universal monster movies. So there's a good chance you haven't watched it yet. But you definitely should–it features one of horror icon Boris Karloff's absolute best performances as Imhotep, the evil but romantic Egyptian who comes back after his lost love thousands of years after his death.


"The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb"

Besides their famous "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" movies, the people at Hammer Studios also made a series of mummy pictures, as part of their continuing efforts to bring the classic monsters into the second half of the twentieth century. One of them is "The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb"–even if you don't think it's scary you have to admire the set design and lighting. Egypt never looked so colorful.


"The Ghoul"

Here's an interesting twist on the mummy movie that boasts this tantalizing thriller hook: What if a man, studied in the ways and customs of ancient Egypt, PRETENDED to be a mummy in order to commit ghastly crimes? That's the story behind "The Ghoul," which also features "The Mummy" star Boris Karloff in one of his less famous early roles.


"Charlie Chan in Egypt" 

Of course, not all mummy movies have to feature the kind of mummies that walk around. The 1930's murder mystery "Charlie Chan in Egypt" has the jolly Chinese detective working to solve the murder of an Egyptologist whose body was stashed in an ancient sarcophagus. And besides a cringe-inducing supporting turn from Steppin Fetchit, this is one of the most fun Charlie Chan movies.


“Bubba Ho-Tep”

Generally speaking, mummy movies tend to be pretty serious affairs, and they all follow a similar pattern. But “Bubba Ho-Tep” blows that pattern to atoms. For one thing, it’s set in a rural nursing home, populated by the actual Elvis Presley, who was replaced by a look-alike who died in the 70's. If you prefer your mummy movies with a strong shot of heartfelt wackiness, this is the way to go.


Sequels to “The Mummy”

While we’re on the subject of mummy movies, we might as well get these out of the way, since they’re where the image of the shambling, bandage-wrapped mummy actually comes from (Karloff only spends one scene in bandages in the first “The Mummy”). The best ones star horror icon Lon Chaney Jr. as the titular mummy, so be sure and check them out.


“Voodoo Black Exorcist”

You wouldn’t know it from the indiscriminate mashup of 70's movie trends that makes up the title, but “Voodoo Black Exorcist” is perhaps THE great lost mummy movie of film history. The plot, acting, and dubbing are mostly stupid and incoherent, but the movie shines in its crazy psychedelic camera work. There are long tracking shots, POV shots, tilt-a-whirl shots, and more, all adding to a one-of-a-kind movie experience.