Saturday, May 30, 2015

High Priestess Karate

Blood from the Mummy's Tomb from 1971, written by Christopher Wicking and directed by Seth Holt. Well there is blood and a tomb but no real mummy on show. However the film more than makes up for that deficit with the distinct charms of Valerie Leon, the woman who put the Hai in to Karate, and caused a funny feeling in the pants of many a teenage boy during the seventies.

Leon plays the traditional role of the Egyptian princess and her modern day counterpart. In this case it is the Princess who has the dark powers and who slowly possesses Leon and forces her into acts of evil. This is based on Bram Stoker's The Jewel of Seven Stars and it is rather clunky as a result. Notably because Andrew Keir's egyptologist discovers the perfectly preserved body of a millennia old princess who just happens to be the spitting image of his daughter, so of course he keeps the body in his cellar with no one taking any notice. Meanwhile the body count starts to mount up while Valerie Leon appears in a string of revealing nightgowns to give the audience what they came to see.

It has the required Hammer elements of heaving bosoms a'plenty and lots of brightly coloured gore but it's all a bit dull and lacks a central figure to focus upon, other than the obvious things that distract the male gaze. It's perhaps a mistake to have Andrew Keir be incapacitated for most of the movie and not driving the investigations forward. And Valerie Leon's boyfriend is a bit of a damp squib who looks very early seventies but does very little.

Not a great Hammer horror to be honest but it does have a unique selling point (or points), so they get two out of a possible seven stars. Now back to that dastardly Baron.

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