Mummies have always been a big part of popular culture, especially in literature and film. According to the popular anecdote, rich people living at the turn of the century used to have “mummy parties” wherein they’d hob-nob with their high society friends and unwrap ancient corpses.
I prefer Pass-The-Parcel myself. There is slightly less death involved. (This refers to a time when Adam, observing that the Sindy doll came with a plastic horse, was overcome with jealousy and broke little Susan Swafford’s arms. True story. – Luke)
So, with the opening preamble out of the way, let’s take a look at TMW’s Top 5 Mummies, because we make this all up as we go along!
1. Nefer-Tina (Mummies Alive)
Is it wrong that I find her really sexy? Is that necrophilia or something….? The show is called Mummies Alive, so they can’t be dead, can they? Either way, Nefer-Tina is well fit considering she’s also four thousand years old. Like the rest of the Mummies Alive gang, she can transform in times of need; summoning the Strength of Ra, Neffy becomes super strong and is magically clad in really cool cat-like armour. She also has a whip, for those M&M things that grown-ups do. (I think you mean S&M. – Luke)
I thought that Mummies Alive was really neat. Sort of like an animated Power Rangers. It disappeared off the airwaves and its like was never seen again, which is a shame.
I recently bought a toy of Nefer-Tina from a boot sale for the princely sum of £1. Turns out it’s incredibly rare and sells for about £200 or so. Who knew?
2. The Mummy (Goosebumps)
One day we’ll do a proper Goosebumps article on TMW. Did you know that R L Stine is still one of the richest authors in the world? He made something like a bazzillionty dollars selling brightly-coloured paperbacks to children. Take that, Rowling!
Love them or hate them, Goosebumps were a big deal. And I guess they really did get children reading. That’s a uniquely western problem, by the way. Our kids are so stupid we have to trick them into learning to read.
Anyway, a mummy showed up a few times in the books, first in The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, and later in Return of the Mummy, which was weird because although it was a direct sequel, none of the characters in the book remembered encountering the mummy the first time. It’s like they all had amnesia or something. Or maybe Stein’s ghostwriter just wasn’t trying very hard.
The mummy wasn’t really scary, anyway. And the book spends about twenty chapters misleading you into being scared with ridiculous, anti-climactic cliffhangers so that by the end you just don’t care anymore. An example: “I felt the deadly scarab bite my leg! I was going to die!” *turns page* “Oh, it was just my little cousin pinching me.”
3. Muum-Ra the Ever-Living (Thundercats)
Mumm-Ra gave me The Nightymares something awful when I was a lad. It’s all the screaming he does. Mummies are supposed to be crumbly and old, but Mumm-ra does some Power of Grayskull shit and turns into Bandage Superman. It’s just not right.
The classic title sequence lulls you into a false sense of security with all the heroic jumping about and Cheetara’s sublime bosom. One minute you’re “doo-bee-doo”ing your way through the theme song, the next you’re wetting your pants and checking under your bed for a shriveled-up old man in a Snuggie.
4. Mummy (Big Bad Beetleborgs)
You gotta love the Beetleborgs. It’s fantastically rubbish.
Looking to make a companion/rival to Power Rangers, the TV company Saban Entertainment decided that kids didn’t want to see Teenagers With Attitude, they wanted to see three prepubescent comic-book fans living in a haunted house with the ghost of Jay Leno and a bunch of Universal monster rejects.
The mummy didn’t really say or do anything of note. All the monsters hung out in a big group and generally passed the time by jumping out and grabbing the children to molest/frighten them.
I’ve recently gone back and watched BBB, and it’s lovely in that retro, goofy, saccharine way. But the Beetleborgs themselves appear in each episode for all of five seconds, and it’s very obvious when the footage used is just recycled from an older Japanese show. Really, the best thing about it is Flabber. Sometimes I wonder if he was even a real actor, and not a crazy man Saban found living in a dustbin outside the studio.
5. Pharaoh Sonic (Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog)
Oh, Sonic. How we loved you. It was a different time – long before Sonic had green eyes and turned your Xbox 360 into a glitchy mess, he used to live the vida loca on Mobius with little brother/bum-chum Tails. He’d do funny Steve Urkel impressions and dress as a woman to thwart the evil Dr. Ivo Robotnik (who? – Everyone born after 1995).
In VHS classic Quest for the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic meets an ancient ancestor of his in the tomb of Robotnikhotep (yes), located in the country of never-again-seen-or-mentioned Mobigypt (yes). Why this character looks and sounds exactly like modern-day Sonic is unexplained, but then again Tails grows boobs in one episode so perhaps we shouldn’t try and bring logic into it.
That is all. Join us next week when we’ll have Top 5 Moustaches or something.
“Grabbing the children”