This cult Hammer horror based on Bram Stoker’s The Jewel of Seven Stars starred statuesque Valerie Leon as Margaret Fuchs – daughter of archaeologist Professor Fuchs (Andrew Kier) – who becomes possessed by the spirit of the ancient Egyptian Queen Tera.
Professor Fuchs and four other English archaeologists – Corbeck (James Villiers), Dandridge (Hugh Burden), Berigan (George Coulouris) and Helen Dickerson (Rosalie Crutchley) – had desecrated Queen Tera’s tomb and transported her mummified body to London.
Twenty years later, Fuchs has the body in his cellar while the other expedition members each hold a relic from her tomb (a jackal’s skull, statuettes of a cobra and a cat).
On Margaret’s 21st birthday, Professor Fuchs gives her Tera’s ring as a gift. Margaret begins having continuous nightmares and eventually becomes possessed by Tera’s spirit.
When Fuchs becomes mysteriously ill, Corbeck – a conniving member of the old expedition – turns up and plans to use Tera’s power for his own selfish purposes by partnering with Margaret to gather the remaining relics, much to the dismay of Tod (Mark Edwards), her archaeology-studying beau.
One by one, the Queen’s spirit is responsible for a number of violent deaths, as the victims have their throats mangled and minced.
With hardly a bandage in sight, director Seth Holt tried to radically rethink the mummy genre and largely succeeded in creating a fascinating fantasy with a uniquely menacing atmosphere dripping in delicious irony.
Sadly, Holt died of a heart attack during shooting. Hammer boss Michael Carreras took over and the film is not as interesting as it should have been. The same story was the basis for The Awakening in 1980.