|“||Hey, I know him! He's the curator. He works at the British Museum.||”|
–Alex O'Connell to Ardeth Bay., The Mummy Returns
Baltus Hafez was a curator at the British Museum that would turn to evil and lead a cult.
Baltus Hafez was originally a curator in the British Museum, in charge of ancient Egyptian artifacts and antiquities when he was corrupted by the lure of power that was said to be obtained from defeating the Scorpion King, and for that he was the leader of a cult dedicated to defeating the Scorpion King by calling forth the High Priest Imhotep from death and assisting him in his wicked ways.
|“||We've found him. We've found him! We've found him!||”|
–Baltus Hafez at Hamanaptra upon finding Imhotep's remains., The Mummy Returns
Hafez believed that if anyone could defeat the Scorpion King in battle and take his place of power, it was certainly Imhotep, and so set out to the ruins of Hamunaptra with a great crew of diggers and armed henchmen to find the remains of the mummy so as to call him back into life. Within the ruins were the black Book of the Dead and the Book of Amun-Ra, the cult keeping the Book of the Dead as it would be used in the resurrection of Imhotep, along with a great blue-and-gold urn. The Book of Amun-Ra, as it was the only thing on Earth that could defeat Imhotep, was thrown into a large pit and buried. While digging at the ruin site, the diggers excavated a great pit in the sand and a peculiar rumbling noise came from the great pit, revealing itself as a great swarm of flesh-eating scarabs. The scarabs crawled onto and into the workers in the pit, devouring many and killing all in the pit until henchmen equipped with flame-throwers kept the scarabs back.
At that moment, several workers present called out that they had found Imhotep, and Hafez eagerly made his way to his deceased master, who was encased in a great mass of amber-like substance. At that moment, three men stepped onto the scene, Spivey, Red and Jacques, three thieves that were called by Hafez to deliver a chest that had been discovered containing the Bracelet of Anubis, a bracelet that held great powers, it was said. Red explained that his fellow brutes and he had missed their chance, as the Bracelet had been taken by adventurer Rick O'Connell and his family, Hafez angrily insisted that he and his fellows needed that Bracelet, with Lock-Nah, Hafez's most powerful brute, about to draw out his sabre while stating that they needed it before it opened. As Lock-Nah drew out his blade, Spivey, Red and Jacques pulled out their guns in retaliation. Meela Nais ended this show of bravado by reminding Hafez that she should have been the one to take care of the situation, Hafez responding that her "past history" might have become an issue if she did. Red informed Hafez that the Bracelet was on its way to London, Hafez deciding that London was where they must go.
Imhotep had been found, his remains transported at once to London where he would be brought back to life. On the evening that Imhotep was to be brought back, Hafez and his henchmen accompanied by Meela Nais and Lock-Nah surreptitiously entered the O'Connell home, confusing Jonathan Carnahan with Rick O'Connell, interrogating him at the point of blade and asp bite, and kidnapping Evelyn O'Connell. Evelyn was taken to the British Museum, where the ritual to bring back Imhotep was under way, with Hafez performing the ritual, reading from the Book of the Dead as it was held up by Shafek. As the words of the Book of the Dead were read, O'Connell and Ardeth Bay silently made their way into the museum so as to fight the cultists off from completing their ritual. As Hafez read the incantations, some of the mummies already on display in the museum came alive, shrieking and writhing.
The ritual was soon after finished and Imhotep returned, stronger than before, and demanding to know what year it was. Hafez informed his new master that it was the Year of the Scorpion, which Imhotep was pleased to hear. At that moment, Meela Nais walked into the room, appearing as Anck-Su-Namun to Imhotep. Hafez told Meela that she need not be frightened, as Meela replied that she was not afraid, and she stated that she was Anck-Su-Namun reincarnated. Imhotep declared that she was the reincarnate only in body. At that moment, a gift was presented to Imhotep: Evelyn Carnahan, née O'Connell, bound up, as Anck-Su-Namun knew that it would please her lover to see Evelyn die. The cultist underlings made their way throw Evelyn into a great flaming basin, as she screamed that she would put Imhotep in his grave eventually, Hafez unctuously replying that her words would not come true if she was put into her grave first.
As she was almost thrown into the flames, Rick O'Connell came in and rescued her, and along with Ardeth Bay and Evelyn's help, began to fight back against the cultists, shooting off many of them. As the cultists returned fire and the bullets flew from either side, Hafez ran off from the fight, dodging the bullets. The bullets did not affect Imhotep, who took matters into his own rotted hands and brought forth the urn that was taken, expelling the dust inside and calling out for the contents to awaken and fight. The dust took the form of four mummified soldiers, which took Imhotep's orders and set out to kill off the O'Connells and Ardeth Bay. The undead forces failed, but Hafez's cultists did manage to kidnap Alex O'Connell, who was wearing the Bracelet of Anubis, and cart him off.
Later that evening, as Imhotep watched London from the viewpoint of a balcony with Meela, Hafez informed his master that the O'Connells had with them the Spear of Osiris, which did not concern Imhotep, as he remarked that by the time he and his forces reached Ahm Shere, he would be completely unstoppable.
Journey to Karnak
With Alex now in their grasp, and the way to Ahm Shere set, the cultists all set out to find Ahm Shere, their first stop being Karnak. Onboard a train bound for Karnak, the cultist group stopped first in Cairo, where Hafez revealed to Meela that the last time that the O'Connells had encountered Imhotep, they had sent his soul to the Underworld, and only with the Bracelet of Anubis would he be fully unstoppable. This being said, Hafez presented Meela Nais with the Book of the Dead, which he bade her keep it always, taking it from his servant Shafek's holding. At that moment, Lock-Nah entered the compartment where the discussion was taking place, bringing forth Alex. Meela made it clear that he must not cause trouble for them as Hafez sent Alex and Lock-Nah away, declaring that Imhotep wished to meet the boy.
Unbeknownst to Hafez and his forces, Alex's parents, accompanied by Jonathan Carnahan and Ardeth Bay, had hired a pilot named Izzy Buttons that surreptitiously followed the cultist forces.
With one matter settled, another arose: the three sneak thieves Spivey, Red and Jacques entered the compartment, and present Hafez with the item that he had ordered them to take: an ancient Egyptian wooden chest. The chest, according to Jacques, was cursed, as one known as "the undead" would rise to kill all those that opened the chest. Hafez, however, dismissed this as pure fairy tale, but the thieves knew of the chest's past history and of the fact that the last four men (Burns, Chamberlain, Henderson, and Daniels) that had found the chest nine years before had ended up dead, and with this in mind, they would ask for ten thousand in money. Hafez replied that the agreement betwixt them was for five.
After Imhotep had regenerated fully from consuming the three thieves' organs and fluids (as they were duped into being the ones that he would consume), his cultist forces had reached Karnak, and the beginning of their trek towards Ahm Shere. Alex O'Connell, on the other hand, had different plans: under pretenses of having to use the bathroom, he found an emergency brake inside the lavatory and pulled it. The train came to an abrupt halt and Alex escaped. Two cultist underlings began to open fire with their machine guns on Alex, but Imhotep, knowing that Alex was the only one that could see what the Bracelet showed as the path, used his powers to levitate the two underlings, ram them into one another, and send them flying into two great stone pillars, killing them. Imhotep caught up with Alex soon after, keeping him from escaping with a simple waving "no" gesture of the finger.
The cultist forces set up camp in the ruins, keeping Alex chained by the ankle. Alex requested water from the cultists, which was brought over by Lock-Nah, who stated that once the moment came, killing the boy would be a great pleasure. Alex took his water from a resentful Lock-Nah, who stormed off from Alex's demanding manner, cursing angrily in Arabic as he left, and began to build a replica of the next location where the cultists would be headed towards, as his parents would certainly come looking for him and thus find a clue of where to head next. That night, Meela Nais was entranced by a vision of her past life by Imhotep's doing, and so reenacted the scene of her death exactly as it happened, thinking that she indeed was back in ancient times, killing herself with a dagger as she had done three thousands years back and coming back to life as Anck-Su-Namun.
Hafez continued to travel on with the other cultists by camel, until the time when he, Imhotep, Lock-Nah, and Meela would reach the edge of the Nile that reached Ahm Shere. Hafez witnessed Imhotep's terrible powers as he summoned a great tidal wave of water from the Nile to wipe out the dirigible and its passengers. The dirigible was almost wiped out by the great burst of water, but had survived, crash-landing in the verdant Oasis of Ahm Shere. Imhotep, believing as did his cultists, that his foes were now completely gone, continued the trek to Ahm Shere, reaching the Oasis and journeying with his cultists to its centre, where the Pyramid of Ahm Shere lay waiting.
While in the Oasis later that night, Hafez and his fellow cultists beheld a grisly sight: many human skeletons and remains were scattered about the ruins, as if by a tribe of headhunters. Among the skeletons, Hafez pointed out were Roman legionnaires and turn-of-the-century troops of Napoleon. As the cultists proceeded in, contemplating who, or what, could have done this, an unseen force picked off cultist underlings one by one, pulling them into the undergrowth. One cultist henchman beheld a small shriveled skull in a tree trunk. As he leaned in closer, the skull revealed that it was still attached to the body of an undead pygmy, which struck out, along with other skeletal pygmies, killing off the henchmen left and right. Imhotep feared nothing, knowing that the pygmies could not harm him, and so he abandoned his cultist followers, protecting Anck-Su-Namun instead from them.
One by one, every cultist present ended up dead, until only Hafez himself and two of his henchmen remained, along with Shafek, who had gotten separated from the group. The two men were told by Hafez that they must sacrifice themselves for his sake. As they stared confusedly at Hafez, he ran off in cowardice, calling out that they would be rewarded in Heaven. The henchmen were killed off, however, by the pygmies.
|“|| My Lord! My Lord! Save me, save me!|
–Baltus Hafez begging Imhotep's help., The Mummy Returns
It was not long after Rick O'Connell made it to the Pyramid, accompanied by his wife Evelyn, their son Alex and Jonathan Carnahan that Alex could finally remove the Bracelet of Anubis once he and his father reached the Pyramid and cast it aside, leaving it on the Pyramid's floor, in the sand. Hafez saw the Bracelet laying there forgotten, and took the chance at once, putting the Bracelet on. As Hafez made his way inside the Pyramid, he reached a corridor with its floor coated in scorpions, and as the deadly arthropods swarmed about, they were driven away by Hafez, who was wearing the Bracelet and brandished it before them. Within the corridor was a large statue fashioned of gold, depicting a scorpion-like monster. Knowing the statue to be the the area in which one would activate the Bracelet's powers, Hafez inserted his forearm into a hole inside the statue, bringing the Pyramid back to its former glory, and with it bringing the Army of Anubis to life.
But this new power came with a gruesome price: a force unknown from within the statue yanked not only the Bracelet off Hafez's arm, but the flesh from his hand, leaving behind gnarled bone covered in spittle. From the other side of the statue had been several of the cannibal pygmies, who had made a meal of the Curator's arm, tearing the flesh from it. Screaming in pain and shock, Hafez was released from the statue and found in time by the Scorpion King, who took the form of a giant scorpion-man, and who had been called out to a battle against Imhotep and O'Connell. The Scorpion King, in a murderous rampage, seized Hafez, who was too impeded with pain to run, with his giant claws and crawled up the ceiling. Hafez called out for Imhotep to save him, but Imhotep, given that his supernatural powers had been taken away and that Hafez was no longer of any use to him, would not lift a finger to help as the Scorpion King tore a screaming Hafez into pieces.
Personality and Traits
|“||The two of you must sacrifice yourselves...for me. You shall be rewarded in Heaven!||”|
–Baltus Hafez to his remaining henchmen., The Mummy Returns
Baltus Hafez was a cruel man that was persuaded into his wicked deeds by greed. When surrounded by henchmen and lackeys, Hafez could threaten anyone with no remorse and have his henchmen act out his threats, but when unprotected Hafez would drop his vicious streak, becoming terrified at times. Hafez had a sense of self-preservation such that he placed the lives and safety of others below that of his own, as seen when he ordered his two final henchmen in the Oasis of Ahm Shere to sacrifice themselves to a marauding troop of pygmies so that he might escape, shouting as he ran off that they would be rewarded in Heaven.
When in London, Hafez wore the clothing typical of a European, a formal dark coat and grey trousers, double-breasted scarlet vest, blue-green cummerbund, and pinned necktie complete with a red turban and headdress, but when leading the cult Hafez would wear filigreed dark grey robes along with his fez. Hafez had black hair and a small moustache and goatee. On one finger Hafez wore a single golden ring.
Behind the Scenes
Baltus Hafez was portrayed by actor Alun Armstrong.
Hafez was referred to in the film novelisation not as Baltus Hafez, but as Faud Fachry. In the novel, it was told that the Curator had turned on Imhotep after he had showed indifference to the deaths of almost all in the cult that worshipped him, and the Curator had decided to make the Scorpion King become his master; taking his dagger and scalping himself as the ancient Akkadians were said to do in rituals. O'Connell had caused Fachry's death by jamming a statue's helmet onto his freshly-scalped skull, causing the oncoming Scorpion King to not take Fachry as one of his followers, and killing him by tearing him in two.