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As with Almereyda's previous films, this one deals with a gothic subject in a modern context. Lushly filmed it concerns an alcoholic womans return to her Irish roots, only to turn into a film about a woman whose soul is desired by a 1000 year old witch. Written by
When the girl cuts her throat near the end, the wound is clearly already there before she slices it. Additionally, she does not slice it directly where the wound is. See more »
In the beginning of the world, the earth and the sky were one creature, and it was the hardest thing to tear them apart. They loved each other so much. And that's why it rains. Because the earth and the sky are always trying to get back together. Mrs. Ferriter told me that, after my mother died, a long time ago, before I met Nora and Jim.
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...these are the words that came to mind after watching 1998's "THE ETERNAL Kiss of the Mummy", originally titled "Trance". The story is about an alcoholic couple who travel to the wife's home town in Ireland, supposedly to sober up and give their son the opportunity to meet his grandmother. They discover that their weird uncle (Christopher Walken) has a 2000 year-old mummy of a Druid witch in the basement, which he's trying to revive!
This is a Gothic tale told in the modern day and struck me as a Hammer film if it were released today, albeit it lacks the typical Hammer women. Yet, it does have Alison Elliott in the starring role of the alcoholic wife and -- although she's not in the league of the typical Hammer female -- she's alluring enough and a great actress to boot. At first, she'll strike you as the girl-next-door type -- a sort-of plain Jane -- but there's something about her face, her expressions and aura that increasingly pique your interest.
"THE ETERNAL Kiss of the Mummy" is not your typical modern-day horror schlock. It doesn't shoot for conventional horror and gore, but it IS pretty creepy in a Gothic sense. I saw "Big Bad Wolf" before I viewed this one and, although "Big Bad Wolf" is thrilling and ultra gory, it's not scary, mainly because the filmmakers & cast cop a semi-campy vibe. "THE ETERNAL", by contrast, plays it completely straight and the foggy Irish moors & centuries-old mansion add to the ghostly ambiance.
There's also a quality soundtrack with a few stand-out alternative rock numbers, like the one that plays during the end credits, "My Head Becomes the Sky" by Tara Baoth Mooney.
Like I said, the film struck me as a Hammer film if it were made today. As such, there's a Gothic beauty to it, which makes it a pleasure just to watch even if the story is "sluggish", as some criticize. It's clear that director/writer Michael Almereyda was aiming for art more than common horror thrills. I'd compare it to "The Mothman Prophecies" in this sense, albeit not as good.
After viewing, I reflected on the seemingly nonsensical story and certain things started to make sense: This is only a story about a Druid witch coming back to life on the surface; it's really about a woman in bondage to alcoholism who comes face-to-face with her lower nature -- her self-destructive side (her "id" or "flesh") -- not to mention confronting her incestuous uncle -- and trying to prevail. Going back to her home town -- her heritage, her roots -- enables her to see WHY she turned to alcohol for succor in the first place.
In essence, this is a Gothic tale about the purging of one's fleshly demons.
The film runs 95 minutes.
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