Your Mummy’s Coming to Dinner
When the mummy comes to life in Universal’s 1932 movie The Mummy, Boris Karloff does little more than slowly open his eyes, and almost as slowly, drop his bandaged hand from his chest to his side. Yet it is that combined series of small movements which makes the scene so effective. The mummy is not a villain that is going to win by brute strength or agility (unlike the 2001 remake). It is Imhotep’s will that is the source of his power. It’s a shame we only see Karloff wrapped up as the mummy briefly in the opening scenes. Unfortunately, the series’ sequels lacked both Karloff and his intensity: The Mummy’s Hand (1940), The Mummy’s Tomb (1942), The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) and The Mummy’s Curse (1944).
When Hammer picked up the thread (no pun intended) with 1959’s The Mummy, Christopher Lee managed to convey the same sense of intelligence, menace, and pity while enjoying much more screen time in his wrappings. Because we never really see Imhotep as a man except in flashbacks, Lee’s portrayal is more threatening and ultimately more sympathetic than Karloff’s, much in the same way we pity the creature in Frankenstein. Hammer, never a studio to pass on a chance to ride a success into the ground, followed with Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964), The Mummy’s Shroud (1967) – which should win the award for having the most unsympathetic leading characters ever in a horror movie – you actually find yourself routing for the mummy, and finally closed the book, or casket as you would have it, on the whole thing with 1971’s Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, which was loosely based on Bram Stoker’s story “Jewell of the Seven Stars”. One indicator of how far into a series Hammer was with a particular character was the more lurid the title became, the further along from the original they were (and usually farther away from making a good movie as well). Universal rebooted the series themselves with the Indiana Jones-esque The Mummy (2001), The Mummy Returns (2003) and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008). Here’s a fun movie game, see if you can find a good movie with a colon in the title.
The accompanying recipe below wraps the shrimp in bacon to keep them from drying out on the grill. Use only thin sliced bacon as thick sliced will take too long to cook, either turning the shrimp to rubber in the process or undercooking the bacon and leaving it not very appetizing. Serve the skewers along side a spicy peanut sauce and little fresh lime juice and you will have an appetizer that is crowd pleaser.
“Mummified” Shrimp Skewers with Spicy Curry Peanut Sauce
- 1 lb 20ct shrimp
- 1 package of thin sliced bacon
- Wooden skewers
- Blackening seasoning (see below)
- Spicy Curry Peanut Sauce (see below)
Soak the wooden skewers in water for at least 1 hour. Cut the bacon into slices just long enough to wrap around the shrimp once, with a little overlap to secure it firmly on the skewers. Wrap the shrimp in the bacon and thread approx. 4 wrapped shrimp onto each skewer. Season the shrimp skewers liberally with the blackening seasoning. Place on a platter, wrap loosely in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours. When ready, grill until the shrimp are cooked through and the bacon has just started to crisp. Serve with peanut sauce for dipping and garnish with lime wedges.
House Blackening Seasoning
This recipe is from New Orleans Chef Andrew Jaeger.
- 5 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon Cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container.
Spicy Curry Peanut Sauce
This recipe is adapted from W. Park Kerr of the El Paso Chile Company. I consider the recipe a guideline only, and usually adjust the quantities to my taste and to obtain the consistency in the sauce that I want.
- 1 C smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 3 T Thai style coconut milk
- 2 Jalapeno or Serrano chiles
- 2-1/2 T soy sauce
- 2 T fresh lime juice
- 1-1/2 T coconut flavored rum
- 1/2 T minced garlic
- 1/2 T minced ginger
- 1/2 T paprika
- 3/4 curry powder (add more to taste if desired)
Combine ingredients in a blender, food processor, or by whisking together in a bowl. Allow sauce to sit, covered, at room temperature for at least one hour to develop the flavors. Taste and adjust seasoning prior to serving.