Our very own Cory Robinson has taken a break from his one-man crusade against the card game Magic The Gathering, via moderation of therapy groups, and written his review of arguably the most famous episode of Amazing Stories, Mummy Daddy.
Episode 4 of Amazing Stories entitled “Mummy Daddy” starts out with a mummy roaming the swamps until a bunch of local hunters with pitchforks and torches start going towards the monster until the director (played by Bronson Pinchot) yells “cut” thus meaning that the whole opening is a scene in a movie and that the mummy is actually an actor in a convincing mummy costume. The person in the mummy costume is named Harold, who is doing the job because his wife is expecting a baby in two weeks so he needs the money bad and is hoping that the shoot will be over with in that time which will be at 3 o’clock in the morning because they can only film at night. Unfortunately for Harold,(the first of many) he is told to stay in costume during the lunch break as it would take too long to remove to bandages and latex mask during the lunch period so he is told he has to keep it on. Of course he is frustrated so the director decides to give him a pep talk about the movie and how important this is to him while describing the legend of the mummy.
The legend goes that the body of an evil Egyptian king named Ra-Amin-Ka was mummified and put on display at a gypsy carnival around the turn of the century but one night the mummy came to life killing many viewers in the crowd before escaping to the very bogs where the crew is filming their movie based on the incident. Harold of course thinks it is a stupid tale but is shortly informed that his wife went into early labor on her way to visit him on set and that she at the local hospital in Gridley due to give birth any minute. Harold panics and immediately jumps into a car to drive off oblivious to the fact that he has full mummy makeup on in a small town that believes in the urban legend of Ra-Amin-Ka.
Harold quickly runs out of gas and tries to stop at a local gas station, but the attendant on duty is busy watching The Mummy’s Curse with Lon Chaney Jr. until he sees Harold in full mummy attire giving him the idea that Ra-Amin-Ka has come back to haunt the local villagers. Things are made worse when Harold realizes that he still has splints stuck in his legs giving him the motion of walking like the living dead so it’s hard for the townspeople to believe he is just an actor in a very convincing mummy costume also due to the fact is voice is muffled due to the prosthetic mask. The gas station attendant (played by Tracey Walter who is best known for playing Bob the Goon from Tim Burton’s Batman) gathers up the whole town at city hall to decide what to do with the mummy. The town is hesitant but resident Willie Joe (played by Brion James who has played a despicable is so many 80s and 90s movies) convinces the crowd that he too saw the mummy who is none other than Ra-Amin-Ka and tells the residents that they need to form a lynch mob.
Meanwhile, Harold has to travel on foot due to everyone believing that he is the vengeful mummy so he travels back to the bogs hoping to find the film crew to help him get out of the costume. While going through the bogs, he comes across a blind hermit who invites him into his shack which is very reminiscent of the scene from The Bride of Frankenstein. The hermit offers Harold some coffee but when he touches Harold’s hand, he thinks that Harold is in fact Ra-Amin-Ka back from the dead. The hermit panics while holding some sort of amulet and goes towards a coffin which holds the actual Ra-Amin-Ka who springs to life and starts chasing Harold. Not only does Harold have to avoid certain death from a lynch mob while trying to see the birth of his daughter, he also has to battle the evil Ra-Amin-Ka to save the same villagers who are trying to kill him.
I won’t give away too much more of this episode as I think that it deserves a watch especially if you have never seen it before but giving the ending away gives away most of the jokes told in this episode. This is one of my favorite episodes from the series and I always find something new to laugh about it as it is just too funny. Think of this episode like a horror-comedy of par with the likes of: Dead Alive, Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, and Re-Animator as everything is just so over-the-top that it is so hard no to laugh at least once every minute. Supposedly Steven Spielberg was so impressed that he gave the director (William Dear) a job directing Harry and The Hendersons as Dear does not disappoint directing this episode as the writing is solid as well. The music was composed by Danny Elfman (best known through his many collaborations with Tim Burton) and Steve Bartek (best known through his collaborations with Danny Elfman including Oingo Boingo) which adds a nice pace throughout the episode as the score is very reminiscent of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure to which the two collaborated on earlier.
As said before, this episode is very over the top including a scene with kung-fu fighting mummies and a lynch mob at a hospital so if this sounds up your alley I highly suggest you watch this episode as it still ranks up there with one of my favorites. Overall I give this episode a 10/10 due to the sheer enjoyment it still gives me while watching it, it doesn’t take itself too seriously but still tries to make due with what it has to work with unlike “The Main Attraction” episode while all of the elements fit right into place. The actors are all great with the comedic timing while the main actor playing Harold does a great job pantomiming while being in fully mummy makeup.
You can watch the episode here on the NBC website: http://www.nbc.com/amazing-stories/video/mummy-daddy/2909095 so let us know your opinions on the episode at the comments below. Next week join us as we look at the infamous episode “The Mission” directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Kevin Costner.