4. Imhotep – The Mummy

Arnold Vosloo as Imhotep in The Mummy

The 1999 movie The Mummy is a genuine action-adventure masterpiece. Effortlessly blending a horror movie monster with an engaging historically-driven story, The Mummy defies genre conventions to offer one of the most consistently enjoyable (and underrated) movie experiences in recent decades. The sees American opportunist and occasional soldier Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) team up with a British scholar (Rachel Weisz) to inadvertently raise and then stop a cursed ancient Egyptian priest.

Imhotep makes for a charismatic villain, particularly as his primary motivation is love. Not only was his love for the Pharaoh’s mistress the reason he was cursed in the first place, but it saw him stop at nothing to bring his love back from the dead. Imhotep is sweet, in a way, but his supernatural powers and willingness to suck the life out of anyone in his way make him an undeniable villain.

As well as being a horror movie monster, Imhotep was actually a real Egyptian priest. Imhotep lived in the 27th Century BCE and served as both the High Priest of Ra and the chancellor to Pharaoh Djoser. Though little is known of Imhotep as an actual historical figure, he was gradually deified in the three millennia after his death. It’s incredibly unlikely that the real Imhotep ever stole a set of eyeballs from an American treasure hunter, but he was certainly a real man at one point in history.