The ancient Egyptian mummies have been extensively portrayed throughout history since the early inceptions of photography and cinema. Until this day, they remain popular in visual
culture. Certain ways of portraying them have been repeatedly followed like traditions, which resulted in establishing stereotypes. In my MA thesis at Leiden University, I investigated how some of these recurring portrayals dehumanise them. I have compiled an archive of photographs and films, analysed their portrayal patterns, and identified two traditions; the portrayal of mummies in non-fictional photographs as artefacts, and their portrayal in fictional films as monsters.
In this filmic essay, I offer a critique on the encounter with their monstrified portrayals in nine globally distributed “The Mummy” films dating from 1932 to 2017. By addressing the Egyptian mummies directly through my voice-over narration, I attempt to portray them humanely as seated spectators looking critically at how they are fictionally portrayed and vilified. In
doing so, I hope to lessen the distance between them and us as viewers, enticing in turn a reflection on the dehumanising nature of the spectacularisation of their bodies.