The ancient Egyptian mummies have been extensively portrayed throughout history since the early inceptions of photography and cinema. To this day, they remain popular in visual culture. Certain ways of portraying them have been repeatedly followed like traditions, which resulted in disseminating and establishing stereotypes. In my MA thesis at Leiden University, I have compiled an archive of films, analysed their portrayal patterns, and identified one such tradition: the portrayal of Egyptian mummies in fictional films as monsters.
In the form of a 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 as seated spectators looking critically at how they are fictionally 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.