BRUNO MATTEI WEEK: The Tomb (2006)

Remember when there were a whole bunch of Brendan Fraser mummy movies? What if Bruno Mattei made his own version of those movies — using the name David Hunt — and filled it with all of the wonderful things that his movies are known for? Well, he did. He sure did.

Over the last few years of his career, Mattei began working with Giovanni “Gianni” Paolucci, who wrote and produced his films Dangerous AttractionSnuff KillerMondo CannibalIn the Land of the CannibalsThe Jail: The Women’s HellIsland of the Living DeadZombies: The BeginningCapriccio VenezianoPrivéBelle da Morire and the sequel to that film. Before working with Mattei, he also wrote and produced Antonio Margheriti’s The Ark of the Sun God and was the producer of Argento’s Dracula 3D (as well as the upcoming Antropophagus II, which will be directed by Dario Germani).

The amazing thing is that now that Bruno has moved on to digital video, he’s able to completely not just rip off movies — this is The Mummy right down to the bad guy who looks kinda sorta like Arnold Vosloo — he’s now able to even more easily copy and paste footage from other films directly into his own. Now, when a major Hollywood film takes a plot point, I get apoplectic. Yet when Matti outright takes entire scenes from other movies, I get overjoyed. Such are the weird ways of how I enjoy film.

That means that while Bruno takes the Titty Twister scenes that were a major part of From Dusk Till Dawn and films his own version, he is just as comfortable with directly taking footage from Army of Darkness and The Mummy and inserting them into The Tomb.

Somehow, the guide that a group of students is using to get through the Aztec pyramids is the reincarnation of an evil priestess and one of those students is the reincarnation of the girl who her lover never got to sacrifice because movie logic demands these things occur. Again, in any other movie, I’d roll my eyes, but I kind of demand these kinds of things from the Italian masters of beyond basement value movies.

Then, to show us all that Mattei does not care at all about the world of Hollywood, he outright takes footage from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I doubt Spielberg had any idea who Bruno Mattei was, but just the sheer “Che palle!” of Mattei brings a tear to my eye. Then, to top that, he also ripped off footage from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!

This isn’t the best movie Bruno ever made — I cannot and will not answer that impossible inquiry — but damn if it isn’t a million times better than any mummy movie Hollywood has made said the black and white Universal days.

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