Monday, October 16, 2017

mummy dearest.

If the Tom Cruise starring Mummy remake had any pleasant side-effects whatsoever it was making me realize how much modern cinema is missing the genius touch of producer/directors such as the frankly fantastic (and non-money laundering) Frank Agrama, the man behind probably the best (and possibly only) zombie mummy movie ever made.

So with that in my (tho' not in mah mooth) ladies and gentlemen todays 31 days of horror is a timely revisit to.....

Dawn of The Mummy (1981)
Dir: Frank Agrama.
Cast: Brenda King, Barry Sattels, George Peck, John Salvo, Ibrahim Khan, Joan Levy, Ellen Faison, Diane Beatty with the 'lovely' Laila Nasr and her dancing teeth.


It lives! It kills!
And it smells of old man wee!

or

“If ever this tomb is disturbed, Safiraman will rise and kill. His armies will rise and kill.”

Take yer pick.


Welcome everyone to sunny and sandy Egypt in the year 3000 B.C. (Before Continuity), it's a Tuesday afternoon just after 3.20 and the evil Pharaoh Safiraman (who does whatever a Safira can allegedly) is up to his normal weekday tricks raiding local villages for hunky teen boys to abduct, shave and used as 'slaves'.

Which is nice work if you can get it.

But unfortunately for those who enjoy a wee bit of sticky teen action - Dad, social work said to stop coming round the house by the way) - all this oiled boy kinkiness is skipped over in favour of jumping forward in time a few years to Safiraman's funeral.

Well it is an actual horror movie we're watching as opposed to say, a sweaty gay porn film pretending to be one.

Which is nice for a change.

Anyway, we join this obviously sad day just as his mysterious, tombstone toothed high priestess (one hit wonder Nasr) is ranting and raving about Osiris (the Egyptian one, not the shop that does cheap nose piercings in Glasgow city centre) and how fantastic and bloody a tyrant Safiraman was to crowds of nearly a dozen of his followers.

Yup, the budget could stretch to that many.

Knowing that it's best to stop on a high she finishes her speech with a saucy wiggle of her ample old lady arse before muttering an obligatory curse over the mummified body and locking six leather pant clad slaves into his burial chamber to keep him company.

Oh yes, then she fills the whole place with toxic gas.

But not from her bottom obviously because she's a nice lady.


Beware! This van is NOT full of sweeties.

Cut to the 'modern' day where a trio of sexy grave robbers led by the hunky blond bad boy Rick Cannon (the easy going co-star of Zoolander and Starsky and Hutch, Owen 'Lightning McQueen' Wilson acting here under the pseudonym Salvo) have just uncovered Safiraman’s still sealed back passage and, after a quick chat and chin stroke decide to blow the bugger open with handy dynamite sticks.

You never get that on Time Team.

Noticing the noxious stench of sweat, spunk and gravy emanating from Safiraman’s cracked entrance, Rick reckons that the burial chamber may have been booby trapped to prevent anyone doing what he's attempting to do, therefore it'd probably be safer to wait for the poisoned gas to dissipate before stealing all of the Pharaohs trinkets.

Brains, beauty and man-boobs, this guy has it all.

Telling the hired help Iain and Jeanette to stay on guard, Rick jumps into his jeep and prepares to head back to town to buy some crisps and pop for everyone.

Or something.

But as our hero guns his throttle (as I assume you drivers say) he's accosted by a dog blanketed old harridan stinking of piss shouting obscenities at him from the depths of her tar covered toothless mouth.

That'll be Laila Nasr back then, only this time caked in shit and wearing a comedy Cher wig.

Zena (for it is she) angrily spouts and spits at poor Rick, telling him and his team that they're about to desecrate a holy site, and if they're not careful, the mighty Safiraman an his (six man) army of the dead will be forced to “rise from the tomb and kill the infidels!”

Which is nice.


Rick tho', being a rascally type of guy just shrugs his manly shoulders and laughs the threat off before driving to the local shops, leaving his buddies tanking crates of Carling at the tombs entrance.

"Hows this for a Pharaohs entrance Gary?"


Pissed up and passed out on the sands Iain and Jeanette fail to notice the couple of boorish Bedouin neighbourhood watch members skulking behind a nearby cactus and licking their lips at the sight of Jeanette's ample thigh.

It appears that Zena has paid the pair (not in kisses I hope) to keep an eye on the grave robbers but, being foreign and therefore untrustworthy, the bearded bozo's  have decided to steal the treasure for themselves.

Bad, bad Bedouins.

"Nick it!"


Unfortunately the sinister smell of Zena must have affected their noses (and memories) as the pair walk straight into the still gas filled chamber and after a wee bit of dribbling and coughing drop down dead.

Which is actually quite lucky because it leaves the tomb fresh and smelling of daises the next morning just in time for Rick and co. to enjoy a death  trap free day of looting.

Result.

Meanwhile over in New York (well that's what it says on the grainy footage), that top selling women's mag Fashion Monthly has decided that the time is right to send a team, consisting of (camp as pants) photographer Bill (Peck, not Bob), makeup lady Jenny (Levy, tho' not Jane) and sexy 'models' Lisa (King not Steven), Melinda (Faison, Bless you), Joan (Diane Beatty not Ned) plus not forgetting gorgeous Gary (Sattels) over to Egypt for a sexy new fashion shoot.

You can see where this is going can't you?

What all the two-bit whore's will be wearing next summer, go on ask your mum.


The magazines Egyptian correspondent, Norman has decided that the little town of Barqa would make a suitable backdrop for a few days of clothes based shenanigans, especially the sand dunes overlooking the tomb of some guy named Safiraman.

Who'd have guessed?

Fairly unsurprisingly (it's that kinda movie) the fashion glitterati almost immediately bump into Rick and his band, seemingly hitting it off (as opposed to having it off) with our hero right away.

Tho' that could have something to do with the fact that they're all clean(ish) and good-looking - well I say good looking - laydees from the good old US of A, unlike the buck-toothed local women that keep trying to get to grips with his newly recovered Pharaoh staff.

By which I probably mean his penis.

They get on so well that, after a little persuasion Rick even agrees to let them use the tombs interior for the fashion shoot.

As you can probably imagine, this is possibly going to be a very, very bad idea.

"Fuck me! It's Vic Morrow!"


OK so you're thinking to yourself 'so far so horribly clich├ęd' but surprisingly for a film so threadbare it does have the distinction of adding a new piece of lore to the mummy genre.

And that's a brilliantly unique reason for the mummies resurrection that I'm amazed no other movie since has stolen.

Can you guess, dear reader what actually causes Safiraman to finally rise from his sandy grave?

Is it the messily dynamiting of his sacred burial chamber?

Is it when one of Rick's buddies (not Ben Stiller or even Mater) steals his golden walking stick before snipping away at his bandages?

Or is it the fact that the heat from Bills arc light is a wee bit too warm for him?

Go on, guess.

"Sand in mah mooth!"



Yup that's right, Safiraman gets all hot and bothered by the lights, waking up in a  strop of Tyra Banks proportions and ready to kick some model arse.

Imagine classic era America's Next Top Model but with more eating disorders but without the hunksome Nigel Barker.

Summoning his zombie slaves, who, in the intervening years appear to have moved out of the tomb and set up home amongst the dunes, Safiraman prepares for his revenge.

Only not right away.

"You wore hotpants in my tomb!!??!!"

After what seems like months of planning (look there are only so many times I can watch underfed wannabe models pose in hideous chiffon dresses before I want to force a pie into the screen - or up someone's arse) Safiraman finally gets up and decides on a plan of action.

Firstly he makes a surprise visit to Jeanette's butcher shop and sticks a meat cleaver in his head before sneaking up on the lovely Melinda whilst she's swimming at the local oasis (but not the one of the zombies) and kills her too.

Luckily for the viewer - if not the poor cast, once Safiraman and his zombie minions get a taste for blood there's no stopping them as they chow down on Gary, enjoy a main course of beefy Bill in a basket before quickly following that with a juicy  Jenny dessert.

Yum.

Jimmy Savile...The Return.


All this blood-letting, burping and general badness seems to be just what our undead chums have been missing all these years and, not wanting to be seen as lightweights they decide to vote on who or what to do next.

Democracy in Egypt?

Who'd have thunk it?

Noticing the sound of riotous laughter and rocking good music in the distance,  Safiraman and his horde reckon it'd be a bit of a laugh to head right into Barqa town centre and crash local drug dealer Steve Hamid's wedding party for a wee dance and some good natured banter.

Oh and to eat the guests whole of course.

Tho' they may spit that bit out.

Dave's Dalek impression was always a hit at kids parties.


It's not too long (or too well shot) before Safiraman and co. have managed to eat their way thru' the aunts, uncles and cousins until only Lisa, Joan, Rick plus a few other folk I've already forgotten are left.

With the undead slowly closing in on them our heroes become embroiled in a battle for survival.

And more importantly against crushing tedium.

Will our heroes escape?

Will Safiraman and his greedy pals ever be full?

And will Rick possibly use the handy stash of dynamite sitting nearby to blow Safiraman up?

Patrick Stewart: the face AIDS years.



The worlds first (and only) joint Egyptian/Italian/American production to feature both flesh eating mummies and high fashion, Frank Agrama's Dawn of The Mummy is a laugh a minute, schizophrenic thrill ride of cack handed dubbing, bad teeth, Lego hair and a cast so unclean you'd swear you could smell the stale urine oozing thru' your Teevee screen.

I had to mop up after sitting thru' it but then again that may have been my excitement showing.

Owen Wilson, up the casino, Cairo, 1982...YESCH!


A big name in the Egyptian film industry (yes it has one) Agrama - the man who brought Super Dimension Fortress Macross to the English-speaking world, a thing that we are eternally grateful for - had already produced and directed over 40 movies before deciding to turn his hand to the horror genre.

Looking to Italy for his inspiration, he (unfortunately) skipped the films of Agento, Fulci and (Mario) Bava and went straight to the shelf containing the complete works of Bruno (Zombie Creeping Flesh) Mattei and Andrea (Burial Ground) Bianchi, delivering a movie of such appalling tardiness that’s only claim to fame is its frightening ability to appear to last even longer than its relatively short 97 minute running time.

It's as if you enter a spooky slow dimension that quietly eats away at your soul whilst watching it.

As this is coming from a man who once sat thru' the entire celluloid abortions that are Cradle of Fear, Lords of Salem and Little Deaths in one sitting.

But, if self harm appeals to you and you still feel compelled to view this movie you can at least look forward to the amusing (and possibly arousing) delights of sweaty Egyptians whipping small boys, John Salvo's hair and Laila Nasr's teeth, not to mention the cheap market stall fashions and the gore-tastic climax.

Which beats a good plot any day really.

Doesn't it?

Plus it gives you a warm glow inside knowing that the director was cleared of all charges of alleged tax fraud after a nine year case and is sitting happily by his pool in LA counting his cash as you watch, not being bummed by a bin man in prison whilst counting his teeth.

Which I guess is an enduring an image as anything on screen here.


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