The Mummy and Curse of the Jackals

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Some of the best movies and pieces of fiction install a sense of wonder in their audience. This feeling can really uplift your audience and make a truly incredible experience. The Mummy And The Curse Of The Jackals is one of those movies. When I first saw this movie, I began to wonder “Who financed this movie?”, “Why was this made?”. Even my other thoughts around this movie were permitted with wonder, such as “No wonder I never heard of Vega International Pictures.” But more than any other, I wondered “Why haven’t I heard of this movie before?”, which I think is the best description for this movie. The Mummy And The Curse Of The Jackals is stupid, poorly plotted, poorly acted, utterly insane, and so bad, it’s amazing. 

The gist of this movie is the glass sarcophagus of the oddly well-preserved Princess Akana brought to Las Vegas for study.  A controversial archeologist named Dave Barrie plans to show her and another Mummy at an archaeological convention. A solid plan but he screws it up by intentionally invoking an ancient curse, the eponymous Curse Of The Jackals. You see, anyone who is in the vicinity of Akana’s body during the full moon is afflicted with the curse, turning them into a werejackal. Naturally, Dave’s flash of brilliance causes him to turn into a werejackal and begging prowling Las Vegas (or at least, some bushes and shacks that might be Las Vegas). Eventually, the mummy awakens, which leads to the two fighting near the end of the movie. 

As mentioned, the movie is a mess through and through. To start, the acting is a joke. Almost every line is delivered stiffly, and many characters, especially background extras, seem fairly nonchalant about such mundane things as a mummy and a jackal-man. Other times, the acting is appropriately hammy, like a vagrant who has a run-in with the were-jackal. There is one good actor, b-movie kingpin John Carradine, who makes a cameo in the last third of the movie. He’s entertaining as always, but he’s clearly just wading through his lines for a paycheck. More often, the strange acting and dialogue delivery is a source of unintentional comedy rather than whatever emotions they were supposed to be showing in the first place.

The directing and pacing are also not only poorly done but really bizarre as well. This is most likely a result of the barebones plot. The synopsis that I told you is really the vast majority of the writing for a movie that’s 80 minutes long. As a result, there are many long scenes without dialogue or many cuts, and more than a few awkward camera angles and locations. For example, the place the werejackal first goes to is some random playground and then this steam locomotive in the middle of nowhere. The shots that aren’t awkward are, for the most part, not very exciting and nothing you haven’t seen before. Other directing decisions can help lend to the movie’s cheesiness factor, such as the music (which sounds like the music in a video game set in a haunted surf shop). These parts add to the movie’s enjoyment.

The simultaneously best and worst part about this movie is the special effects and by extension the monsters. As stated in the title, The Mummy And The Curse Of The Jackals features a mummy and a werejackal. Since this movie has the budget of a paper clip, the effects are less “special” and more “dollar store.” The werejackal looks like a horse mask with vampire fangs and matted poodle fur glued to it (Interestingly, this exact mask has been used in other low-budget werewolf movies). The mummy fares better since it at least looks convincingly dirty, but the bug eyes and overall toilet paper look still make it look too silly to be scary. This helps make the movie into an unintentional comedy, however. Not only is watching people try to act terrified by such shoddily made monster props is not only a bit amusing on its own, but the things they get up to are enough to make even the most stoic curmudgeon smirk a little. Such things, like when werejackal wandering aimlessly through a dinosaur playground and the mummy straight up walking through a wall are just a few of the highlights. 

Overall, The Mummy And The Curse Of The Jackals is something that should be more well known and something that you should track down and see for yourself. Getting your hands on a copy is extremely hard, however. The movie was only officially released on an out-of-print VHS and sometimes crops up on sites like eBay as a bootleg DVD, like my copy. But if you find a copy, don’t hesitate to get it. It’s a surreal, hilarious, one-of-a-kind movie that should be held up to such movies as Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Room as a masterpiece of bad cinema.