The Five Best Universal Monster Movie Moments

A-lister Tom Cruise will launch a rebooted universe this coming weekend with 'The Mummy'

by Zachary Leeman | Updated 07 Jun 2017 at 12:11 PM

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Sandstorm, “The Mummy,” 1999. You cannot have a Universal Monsters movie list without 1999’s “The Mummy,” a film that has continued to gain respect over the years since its release.

The reason the Brendan Fraser-starring adventure flick is so important to the legacy of Universal’s monsters is that it waved the banner for these characters when no one else would. Universal was in danger of losing its monsters in the ’90s, as other studios were knocking out pictures about Frankenstein and Dracula with little regard for the studio that started it all. “The Mummy” successfully and lucratively reintroduced Universal’s logo with a monster below it.

Writer-director Stephen Sommers smartly moved from the horror realm to "Indiana Jones"-style adventure territory. Two parts fun and one part horror, "The Mummy" was a smash hit that led to two sequels and four spinoffs. Sommers continued waving the banner for the Universal Monsters when he made 2004's "Van Helsing," a film that put the Wolf Man, Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, and vampire hunter Van Helsing all in the same story. While not as successful as "The Mummy," "Helsing" reassured audiences and other companies that Universal's monsters belonged on its studio lot.

The effects were most impressive in "The Mummy." Landing at the perfect time — when there were still limits to the technology (so everything wasn't a cartoon) — "Mummy" introduced a truly frightening CGI-Mummy to the world. The most memorable display of the then-new age effects was the sandstorm the mummy Imhotep creates to try to stop Rick O'Connell (Fraser) and the gang. It remains an impressive scene and one so beloved by fans that even the latest remake of "The Mummy" incorporated it and has displayed it in trailers.

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