Saturday, June 17, 2017

Italian Dark Universe: Dawn of the Mummy

And we return to Italian Dark Universe and what would cap the week off best is a mummy movie. Technically this is a Egyptian/US/Italian venture but Italy is in there, right? Good enough! To be honest I was looking at the myriad of shark films instead. Didn't even occur to me Italian mummy flick until an hour ago. So from Egyptian producer/director Frank Agrama (Queen Kong,Birth, Around the World in 80 Days, The Man Who lived at the Ritz, Shaka Zulu, Dragon Ball, Return to the Lost World, American Strays, Robotech II: The Sentinels and Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years) and Italian screenwriters Daria Price (Take Off, The Nesting, Dawn of the Mummy and Survival of the Fittest) and Ronald Dobrin (Queen Kong and Dawn of the Mummy) bring us our film. This is Dawn of the Mummy.

May the gods see you home.

In the year 3000 BC, after a lengthy ceremony of burying a pharaoh, his gold and slaves, the high priestess (Laila Nasr of Harry Boy and Dawn of the Mummy) invokes a curse placed on it should anyone dare disturb the tomb. And with that they seal the tomb of gold sprayed pots, an near Ark of the Covenant and six living slaves.

Cut to 1981 as tomb raiders blow a hole in the cliff face to unseal the tomb. Because of the noxious toxins released to kill the slaves, the head raider suggests giving it a day to air out. I was thinking at least two weeks and full Hazmat gear with turbine fans but that's just me. Our blond haired, blue eyed destroyer of lands and pillager of artifacts is warned by Xena (Laila Nasr) the no so much warrior princess but channeling superstition in true Friday the 13th Crazy Ralph fashion screaming about the curse. Criminal blue eyed f**k shoots at her, scares her off and tells his hired goons to watch the cave entrance for fellow bandits. Three guys check out the cave, have their skins melted off and boom! Title card and grooving, funky New York City in view as folk walking about and getting to work.

Mila Jovavich's facial went awry!

Cut to models traveling through Giza on Jeep while Melinda (Ellen Faison of Hail, Sweet,Sweet Freedom, Love,in Strange Places, Bloodsucking Freaks,Visions and Acting Out) cannot be bothered with the spoils and wonder of the Pyramids because her toe nail polish has to be just so. Yeah she will be a main character. Grrr... Jenny (Joan Levy of Dawn of the Mummy, H.E.L.P. And The Bumblebee Flies Anyway) points out to the splendor of the land as photographer Gary (John Salvo of Dawn of the Mummy, George Washington II: The Forging of Nation, Perfect Cimes and Murphy Brown) preps for a modeling shoot. Remember this is the 80s so Vogue has big bucks to field this fly out to Giza for probably some offensive mummy summer wear shoot.

How much for the women?

Our models and camera crew get hit by the plot device and pop a tire. Our gang goes out to explore only to encounter a dead man's head in the sand. A decent prop head but hardly worth three shots worth. Personally I loved the skull and crossbones red paint to establish the thieves are carrying dynamite. Nice touch. So our jiggly girl shoot commences while more dynamite is released yet again. Pretty sure the models, male and female alike are deaf. I also can't help but notice Gary looks like David Hess just less murderous and rapey. With more spouts of the curse, the first 25 minutes drags on a bit but all our characters have been best as they can be.

The photo crew and thieves meet up with McGuffin as one of the thieves drew their attention. Well a cursory viewing later and this will be the greatest snaps in all of ze world. Somehow the heavy lamps start awakening the mummy. I figured it was the inane banter that did it but what do I know.

Thirty minutes before we get any hint to a mummy as the thieves move to their benefactors and FINALLY the mummy gets off his undead ass starting a rampage. 5000 years or not, this dude was under Operation:Dragonass. With all the heat lamps, the mummy was making like a Stouffer's lasagna...TAKING FOREVER TO COOK!!!

So a round of POV hide the creature gag is done and I am thinking,"Movie, you're called Dawn of the Mummy, stop hiding." Still love the whisk to safety to Ahmed's and he looks like Lesiure Suit Larry. He should have a neon sign over him exclaiming " Sell Girls to Shieks!"

With the mummy in hot pursuit and yet I mean slow as molasses in Boston January, our cameramen think they know a thing or two when dealing with the undead. Also those poor slaves at the beginning of the movie, yeah they're basically ghouls now. Flesh eaters still having to serve their dick of a pharaoh. No unions in servitude.

Will the Mummy bring about a biblical curse?? Is Armageddon sure to follow?? Why is the sky blue??

Practical effects wise, this isn't bad. The pacing is a tad slow and yet characters are hastily rushed in. With the smaller budget of 400k, actual pyramids and having both Cairo and Giza as your backdrop you have easily whip the BS studio productions of Styrofoam with flecked spray paint or gelatinous coating sound dampening substance. So existing structures, cities and the like give the production value an amazing level. That being said however, I was not blown away by meddling teens/twenty somethings raising the undead cliche. You damn kids!!!

Your cast is relatively unknowns that none had a breakaway performance per-say but was not a horrible movie experience. It did crack me up that Harmony Gold Ltd.was the distributor given they are better known for anime such as Voltron, Defender of the Universe and the Robotech series. Not sure were mummy movies fit on that scale.   Still no Tom Cruise screaming and close up pans of him running.

Another Jelly party takes a dark turn.