The Mummy Through the Years: How the Monster Has Evolved on the Big Screen

8:30 AM 6/6/2017

by Kara Haar

The newest adventure with the famous creature — starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella and Annabelle Wallis — hits theaters June 9.

Back in 1932, Universal Studios started the long-running mummy franchise with The Mummy. The movies focused on the story of an ancient prince who was accidently brought back to life after being buried alive many years earlier. The mummy haunts those under his curse including his forbidden lover.

The original mummy movie was remade three times with similar characters but always a slightly shifted storyline. Eight sequels and one spinoff franchise later, Universal Studios is ready for its next reboot. The Mummy — starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella and Annabelle Wallis — tells the tale of a 2,000-year-old princess is awaken from her mummy state and seeks revenge from the humans who killed her many years ago.

The film is part of a shared monster universe that Universal is calling "Dark Universe." It includes Bride of Frankenstein as well as films starring Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man, Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s Monster, Cruise as Nick Morton, Crowe as Dr. Jekyll and Boutella as The Mummy. Crowe's Dr. Jekyll will be the glue linking the films together, with his mysterious organization Prodigium charged with tracking the world's monsters.

With The Mummy movie set to hit theaters June 9, The Hollywood Reporter takes a look back at the previous iterations of the monster leading up to the newest release.

  • The Mummy

    In 1921, an ancient Egyptian prince called Imhotep (Boris Karloff) is brought back to life by an archeological expedition team led by Sir Joseph Whemple (Arthur Byron). Imhotep was condemned and buried alive for attempting to resurrect his forbidden lover, the princess of Ankh-es-en-amon. 10 years later, he stalks Helen Grosvenor (Zita Johann), who he believes is the reincarnation of his past love.

    This film had no official sequel but was semi-remade in the The Mummy’s Hand (1940). That movie on a mummy named Kharis (Tom Tyler). Four more mummy-themed films followed this one, including The Mummy's Tomb (1942), The Mummy’s Ghost (1944), The Mummy’s Curse (1944) and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955).

  • The Mummy

    This film is said to be a remake of 1932's The Mummy with a slightly different storyline. In 1895, British archeologists accidentally bring the mummified body of Princess Ananka (Yvonne Furneaux) back to life. A bad curse falls upon them, and Kharis (Christopher Lee), another mummy, seeks revenge on those who desecrated Ananka's tomb. They must protect themselves and unravel the mystery that remains with the mummies.

    The film’s sequels included The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964), The Mummy’s Shroud (1967) and Blood From the Mummy's Tomb (1971).

  • The Mummy

    Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz), her brother, Jonathan (John Hannah), and Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) start searching for an archeological dig at the ancient city of Hamunaptra but are unaware other explorers are also interested in finding the same dig. A curse is released that was laid by the High Priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo). The mummy is accidentally awakened and looks to go back from where he came.

    The sequels that followed are The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008). A spinoff series titled The Scorpion King (2002) followed that told the story of Mathayus (The Rock) and his rise to become the Scorpion King. Three sequels followed that: The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior (2008), The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption (2012) and The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power (2015).

  • Bubba Ho Tep

    The comedy-horror film is centered around Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell) and who he believes to be John F. Kennedy (Ossie Davis). The two must battle an ancient Egyptian mummy that is hunting their fellow residents at the nursing home. This is the "true" story of what really became of Elvis Presley in an East Texas rest home.

  • The Mummy

    Two thousand years ago, a young princess, Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), was buried alive after attempting to kill her father and seize the throne. Her tomb is rediscovered by some solders in the American Army, including Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis). The princess’ tomb is awakened once again, bringing with her a malevolent grudge that has grown over millennia and terrors that will defy all humanity.