The Real Curse of Mummies

Desecration and Romanticization

This June Hollywood’s tomb of old ideas will creak open yet again and present the tale of an ancient Egyptian tomb disturbed by a bumbling archaeologist and/or action-adventure hero, who inadvertently and unwittingly unleashes a curse.

This curse will resurrect a mummy seeking either vengeance or a lost lover, wreaking havoc on contemporary society until our hero can stop it. This year The Mummy , directed by Alex Kurtzman, will see Hollywood pharaohs Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe face off against a female mummy played by Sofia Boutella.

Heard it before? Kurtzman’s film is just the latest in a staggering line of mummy-mania and Egyptophilia predating even the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. While popular culture has delighted in mummies for over two centuries, in that same time real Egyptian antiquities have been looted, lusted after, and desecrated. In the 19th century, it was even fashionable to host “unwrapping” parties, where mummies were revealed and dissected as a social event within Victorian parlors.

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