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Dawn of the Mummy

Director: Frank Agrama
Cast: Barry Sattels, Brenda King, George Peck
Running time: 88 minutes
Rating: Un-rated

Story: Thousands of years after an evil Pharaoh was mummified and buried with his henchmen, a group of photographers and their models use the tomb for a photo shoot. They ignore the warnings from the townspeople and a group of treasure hunters who want them gone. But these will be the least of their troubles when the dead in the tomb arise and hunt for human flesh.

Review: Remember the days when we walked up and down the aisles of our favorite mom and pop video store to look at all the cool looking artwork on the boxes? Some of them were so creative and made the films look like they'd be a real treat. The ones in the horror section were especially eye-catching and we just couldn't resist taking them home and seeing if they lived up to our expectations. Unfortunately, a lot of times we'd find ourselves wanting to take the tape and do all manner of horrible things to it for wasting our precious time and our, or our parents' hard earned cash. But there are exceptions my friends, and this early 80s Italian/Egyptian production is one of them. Made under director Frank Agrama's Harmony Gold production company, the same company that brought us some of the 80s best and worst Anime this film is a must for B movie lovers.

Now this movie is stuck in a weird position. Though the head villain is a mummy, he's not alone in doing the chasing and eating of human flesh. In fact, he's joined by his henchmen who are flesh-hungry zombies. Being a film that kind of crosses genres one would usually ask, "Does it really deliver for fans of both?" In this reviewers worthless opinion, I'd say, "Yes and no." Let's start with the positive: The whole film was shot and takes place in Egypt, so of course we get lots of nice scenery and architecture to gawk at. Now the interiors of the tomb may very well be a set, but either way it's a pretty spooky location, day or night.

Now one thing a lot of people complain about with this movie is the pace and how slow it is. Now I'll admit that it does drag a little, especially in the mid section of the film, but it's not that bad. In fact, for the most part the pace is pretty quick and even. How about the acting? Well, first off let me just say that there's some serious scenery chewing going on here, especially from actress Laila Nasr who plays the High Priestess and her descendant Zena. She just runs around spouting off about Safirman, the Pharaoh buried in the tomb, and how him and his army of the dead are coming back and she does it so over-the-top that it's a hoot.

The rest the of cast does ok, but of course none of them are developed enough for us to really care what happens to them. Then there's the blood and gore, of which there's plenty once the monster of the title and his friends awaken and start to attack. There's even a few chilling moments in this cheesy B flick, especially the one where we see Safirman and his gang rise up from the sand. The musical score is also pretty decent, but not so much that you'd want to own it on any format. And lastly, the film has one exciting, blood-soaked finale. I won't give any of the details away, but let's just say that fans of zombie movies will be pleased.

As for the negative, one of the biggest offenders is that some scenes are poorly lit. When the zombies are chasing some of the girls near the lake, you can barely make out what's happening. Also, the film hasn't aged too well. The hair and outfits worn throughout the movie are very 80s, and not the good kind of 80s fashion. For being such a low budget film some of the effects do look cheap and unconvincing. And finally, as I mentioned above, the pace does get a bit tedious in spots, but overall it's not big thing.

So there you have it, another gory low budget 80s horror production with plenty of cheap thrills. You want a good mummy movie, go see the Boris Karloff movie again, but if it's a cheap mummy movie Italian-style you want then look no further. Available in bargain bins and thrift stores nationwide!

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