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Zombies are from Egypt: Dawn of the Mummy (1981)

The poor Mummy, always neglected. I was reading today that the mummy doesn’t even count as a zombie. The Mummy wasn’t even invited to Universal’s Monster mashes of the 40’s, they settled instead on a “hunchback”! REALLY? If you read my previous Mummy centric post “The Aquaman of Horror” you see that Mummies have offered a lot to horror over the years but still no respect! He’s dead right? He has risen and seeks to destroy the living right? If you ask me, the mummy is just a zombie with a better social potion.

If you’re still on the fence about the cloth ones then I recommend you watch “Dawn of the Mummy”. Now those of you that are familiar with this film are probably rolling your eyes and saying WOW, why would you recommend this film of all Mummy films? Quite mply, it’s one of the few to try something different.

Sure, it opens with your standard Mummy prologue. Local Egyptian badass Safirman is being mummified and cursed because, well because he’s a badass, that’s why. So the curse is of the standard “steal his riches, he will rise and kill” variety. He is laid to rest with his slaves and that is that. Pretty standard mummy lore, but then it switches gears.

Cut to modern times, circa 1981. First of all, you get points for a mummy movie not set in the past. Enter Rick and his crew, treasure hunters, or scum, depending on how you look at it. They are about to unearth Safirman’s tomb, with the help of local sell-out Egyptian guide Careeb.

As Rick and his pals are robbing…er… I mean excavating the tomb; they are disturbed by Buness man Bill and his harem of models. They want to shoot there and Rick just can’t say no. While looking around the tomb, the girls come across our mummy Safirman and decide this is the prop they were looking for! Rick cuts their cables, forcing them to quit, but not before one of the models, Jenny, reaches in a jar and grabs a juicy heart out. She screams and gets rid of it, but the damage is done.

The mummy action takes some time to really get going as they do everything but set up shop inde the tomb. I will tell you this though, when it hits, it hits with a vengeance. The rise of Safirman’s servants is inspired and pretty cool, sort of a zombie’s rise from the grave with an Egyptian twist. And they don’t just want to kill the defilers, they want to kill everybody! Hell, I’m in.

Now I’m not going to lie and say this is a good movie; it’s really not. It’s another Italian riff on the Romero zombie film, even the title is a play on Romero’s Living Dead sequel.

I do like it however because it attempts to do something with a mummy other than look for his lost love and obey the commands of others. This seems to be where the problem is. People don’t like change; they would rather have a mummy movie that is the same as every other mummy movie so they can complain, instead of one that tries something new with the genre. If you are looking for a mummy film with some bite, this may be the film for you. It’s not perfect, but it has some excellent scenes you can walk away with, a small reminder that the mummy has something to bring to the party.
sinful Celluloid Thursday 6/21/2012 at 11:41 PM | 93807