Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Dawn of the Mummy|
Actors: Brenda King, Barry Sattels, George Peck, John Salvo, Ibrahim Khan
Director: Frank Agrama
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
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There's a reason why this is a 'rarely seen' film...
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 05/31/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Well, it's been awhile since I've seen something as bad as Dawn of the Mummy (1981)...and as one of my esteemed colleague mentions `It's not the best, it's not the worst'...to which I would agree, with a clarification...it's a lot closer to `the worst' rather than the `the best'. I certainly don't mind cheaply made exploitation films as long as there's heart involved, but I didn't get a sense of that here. All I got from this film was a sense of someone trying to cash in on the popular genre of the time, and not doing it very well. Produced, written and directed by Frank `Farouk' Agrama (Queen Kong), the film stars Brenda King (SeaQuest DSV), Barry Sattels (Number One with a Bullet), and George Peck (Curse of the Puppet Master). Also appearing is John Salvo, Joan Levy (The Bumblebee Flies Anyway), Ellen Faison (New York Nights), and Dianne Beatty (Hot Heir).
As the film begins some text is shown on the screen informing the audience the year is 3,000 B.C. and the location is Egypt. We see slaves being abused and the abduction of a young boy, neither of which seems to relate to anything as the next scenes involve some pharaoh being mummified, and thus the obligatory curse is spewed forth...you know, the one that states anyone who desecrates the tomb will meet with an untimely end. Fast forward to the present day (must be the 80's as a number of characters are wearing Jordache jeans, or cheap knock-offs)...during which we see some treasure hunters breaking into the tomb. Soon afterwards we see a separate group made up of fashion models and photography crew shooting photos in the desert, they happen upon the newly opened tomb, and decide to use it as a location for their shoot, much to the treasure hunters consternation but since they're probably there illegally, they really can't complain too much. And who the heck sets up a photo shoot in the middle of the desert? If you were going to bother going all the way to Egypt to shoot pictures, I would think you'd want to use some popular monuments, but then again, I'm no expert. Anyway, the mummy comes to life (along with a bunch of slaves buried with the pharaoh), and they begin to wreak havoc on the local population, killing anyone they come across. Now it's the fashion models vs. the undead...who will win? Well, after spending an hour and a half watching the film, I know it won't be the audience...
I'm not going to get into a whole debate on the distinctive differences between zombies and mummies, but in all the films I've seen featuring the latter of the two, this is the first time I've seen them actually feasting on the corpses of the recently deceased (of whom the mummies were the cause of the untimely demise). And I have to say, some of these `mummies' look pretty well preserved for being dead some 5000 years...oh, the pharaoh himself looks appropriate (except for his eyeballs being completely intact and untouched), but his minions look much fleshier that I would have expected. And another thing, as the film progresses, we see the `curse' isn't just limited to those who violated the sanctity of the tomb, but to all in the area, including a small, nearby town. Perhaps this isn't a big deal, as it allows for much carnage to be enacted later in the film, but since the makers of the film when to a lot of trouble informing us of said curse in the beginning, I thought it odd that it should apply in such a random manner rather than specifically to those who were in the tomb. As far as the film goes, you can see I had some problems with the story itself, but compared to other elements, these points are pretty minor. The aspects that hurt the film the most are the incredibly poor acting and equally shoddy dialog. Halfway through the film I begging for more of the characters to turn into victims...and when some of them finally started biting the proverbial dust, I let loose a cheer from within...never was I so pleased to see such annoying characters get what they deserved, which is interesting as generally the intent from the filmmakers standpoint is to draw a sense of empathy from the audience for the characters so we actually care when they are in dire situations. The directing isn't bad (there are some interesting visuals far and few between), but more like passable. There was a sense of continuity and forward movement, but this was hampered by unnecessary and meaningless material (particularly the numerous obligatory shots of the mummies/zombies crouched over a dead body feeding on fleshy items meant to represent internal organs). One aspect in particular I found really annoying was the ineptitude of whoever did the finishing sound work on the film. There was very little sense of perspective and distance between what was happening on the screen and the voices and sound effects. What you end up having is characters in the foreground speaking, and then another in the background who sounds like he/she is right next to the other characters, even though there may be a good deal of distance separating them. I will give credit to whoever did the effects on the main mummy, as they did look pretty good. Also, if you're looking for visceral thrills, you'll find some here, if you don't mind wading through a whole lot of pointless material.
The picture quality of the full screen presentation on this DVD looks like it was taken from a mediocre VHS tape. I think I even saw some minor tracking type issues generally inherent slightly worn videotape. As far as the audio, it's listed on the DVD case as being in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, but given the craptacular nature of the original audio, it comes off as so-so. As far as extras, I was surprised to find a director's commentary track. Also included is a trailer for another Agrama film titled Road Ends (1997), but not one for this film.
By the way, if you watch the end credits all the way through, count how many Agrama's are listed...do you think any of them are related to the director?
It will rise...It will bore!
cookieman108 | 04/01/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Too much crummy acting in this one, and not enough quality make-up effects makes this hard to recommend. Most of the gore is a person lying stock-still with blood and meat poured on them while (Egyptian!?) zombies sit around chewing. This way-low-budget flick doesn't really have set-piece effects where you see the ripping and tearing (think Savini's work in Day of The Dead), so it flops as a gore shocker. Even the machette in the head scene is very poorly done, with a quick edit to a laughable 'dummy' head for the hit. Still, for the price, it's a cheap ride, so you can add it to the collection without much buyer's remorse."
Excellent price on an rare 80's classic
R. Wagner | Worthington, Ohio United States | 12/28/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was quite thrilled to see that this movie was finally available on DVD and as a budget priced release to boot! I was afraid that the content was going to be some multi-generation TV print but was pleasantly surprised. The print and transfer quality are excellent and when compared to my 20+ year old video copy-the content is identical. My video copy was originally rated "X" for violence but shows up here in an "R" rating with no edits made to the film.Maybe we've become desensitized to violence over the years. The plot is threadbare and the acting is marginal but what makes this film are the atmospheric scenes of the army of the mummy rising from the desert sands at night. The special effects (done by an Italian crew) are mostly standard zombie genre-lots of biting, blood spurting and munching down on the victim's intestinal tract. Excellent mummy make up effects and Egyptian location shots are also a highlight. Sit back and enjoy this low tech precursor to the computer effects laden Mummy movie from a few years back. You could do a lot worse."
Only for true fans of bad movies.
Robert Meeks | Winchester, KY United States | 11/21/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"One thing I seriously do not like is a page of reviews recommending that I buy a bad movie. I bought the DVD of 'Dawn of the Mummy' only to be seriously disappointed. I can take bad acting, a dumb plot, and even poor make-up effects; but not when it is this boring. This is the story of an archeologist who ignores the warnings of the locals regarding a tomb he blasts open and the models who discover his dig and think it would be an ideal place for a shoot (every fashion models dream). At least when the mummy finally rises (which takes way too long) the pace picks up; alas, not the same for the intelligence of the script. There are of course scenes that are just outright laughable: one where the mummy is after one of the models as she keeps running at a good pace as the mummy walks slowly after her and she is still not able to outrun him: another is a meat cleaver to an obviously fake head. If someone likes bad movies, they may well like this. This is not a 'Classic' and certainly not something I would irresponsibly recommend to others.-Bob"