Dawn of the Mummy (1981)

*. The Mummy genre meets gore. Or: The Mummy genre goes full zombie. Or: The Mummy genre as Eurotrash. Or: The Mummy circa. 1981. Or all of the above.
*. If nothing else at least it’s an eclectic mix. And I don’t think it’s anything else. The individual elements are all familiar and none of them particularly well done. Once the army of the dead start rising out of the desert sand we might be in any bargain-basement sub-Fulci movie, like Oasis of the Zombies (1982) to take an obvious comparison. This is not good company to be in.
*. It’s the sheer dreariness of these movies that gets to me. The muddy photography and colour. The use of crude camera work to inject some sense of urgency into the proceedings. Because really all we have here are some stiff zombies lurching about and falling on top of people. Then there’s the obligatory zombie feast, where the undead always look bored to tears while they’re stuffing their faces.
*. There are a few noteworthy points. It was shot in Egypt by an Egyptian director, which may have been a first for a mummy movie. The dummy heads used for the decaptations and the cleaver-in-the-brain scene are actually pretty good. And there’s one glorious bit of overacting when the head graverobber starts screaming for Sefirama and then finds the doorway to the treasure chamber, unleashing an orgasmic ecstasy of gold.
*. Aside from that it’s pretty dull, despite all of the different plot elements they threw into the mix. A gang of scruffy tomb raiders meeting up with a bevy of American models doing a photo shoot in the Egyptian desert discover a cursed burial site? Flesh-eating mummies? This should have been a lot more fun.
*. Of course there was no budget and no talent involved. Still, there’s nothing here that boosts this one out of the ghetto.

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