The Merits of Sin: The Secret of the Mummy (1982) (Brazil)

Ivan Cardoso definitely has a style. His films merge familiar horror elements with absurdist humor and the libido of a particularly horny high school boy. It’s a welcome mix and luckily Cardoso is talented enough to pull off the clashing style. There’s a minimal mean streak that pops it’s head out every so often but some goofy character action or bare breasts are right around the corner to bring everything back to order. It’s almost like those swinging British sex comedies but, you know, good.

Brazilian foreplay

Professor Expedito Vitus is pissed off and it’s not because he resembles a wimpy Boris Karloff. No, he’s pissed because he’s been laughed out of his field after he claims to have cracked the immortality code with his Elixir of Life. Nobody believes his ass and he begrudgingly takes his ball and goes home. But like any other good villain, the man has a plan.

Scheming and dreaming

Vitus is already aware that his elixir works. Igor, an early guinea pig of his, is living proof. The now immortal(ish) Igor owes his life to the professor and remains loyal if not majorly insane. But Vitus needs to present his findings on a larger a scale and he has just found the opportunity. A dying collector has just left a valuable map to his heirs. He’s separated it into eight parts, one for each of his family members. The map leads to the tomb of Runamb and Vitus figures if he can find the mummy and take the archeological world by storm, he can then revive the mummy and finally receive all the scientific laurels he deserves. He makes short work of gathering the map pieces by viciously murdering all the owners one by one. With the map in hand he heads to Egypt.

Greetings from Cairo

The mummy is discovered and Vitus becomes the talk of the town. He immediately gets to work and successfully brings Runamb back to life with help of Igor and his partner Rodolfo. This is when things get complicated. There’s a few things going on at the Vitus house that are putting everything of shaky ground. The professor’s hot girlfriend Gilda is having an affair with Rodolfo which is throwing Igor into a homicidal mood, a reporter is snooping around sensing that there’s some sinister shenanigans playing out behind closed doors, and women are vanishing around the vicinity of the mansion, leaving their male lover’s dead and the police confused. The shitstorm is a brewing.

Mummy problems

Vitus has yet to share his miraculous mummy resurrection with the world for some reason. Instead of getting the praise he desired, his focus becomes revenge against those that wronged him. I’m not sure if he actually gets any of that done because it seems like the mummy is more interested in kidnapping sexy ladies. Said sexy ladies are kept locked up in a dungeon and are slowly transforming into sex crazed savages (one of them has even sprouted hair and fangs). So…whatever.

Whatever

There’s some breaks in the lunacy as we join the professor in his research into the past of Runamb. We get your standard mummy movie flashback and watch Runamb as he obsesses over a harem dancer named Nadja who resists him. This leads Runamb down a path of murderous obsession. Well, as is tradition, it turns out our snooping reporter’s lady is the reincarnation of his dream girl. That puts her in trouble once the mummy notices her.

Dancing queen

The whole thing is insane. Shifting from black and white to color film depending on what was available the movie kind of skips along to its own logic. Still pictures used as location setups, copyrighted music and lip synching add to the charm. Luckily that logic belongs to a playful entity that has a love for monster movies. The film is a fun time and littered with weird and great characters all over acted to cheesy perfection. The mummy is cool looking with his tall and slender frame, rotting wrapping and green skin and Vitus is delightfully mad. It’s like a particularly enjoyable Universal Monster flick with the added bonus of T&A. 9/10


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