Dr. Mohassid: Tony Curtis
Sandra Barnes: Leslie Hardy
Dr. Carey Williams: Greg Wrangler
Lord Maxton: Jack Cohen
Executive Producers: Yoram Globus, Christopher
Line Producers: Allan Greenblatt, Chaim Sharir
Produced: Harry Alan Towers
Associate Producer: Anita Hope
Directed: Gerry O'Hara
Screenplay: Nelson Gidding
Music: Dov Seltzer
"Bound by destiny. Consumed by sin. His vengeance is
The credits include a cataloguing of astrological
symbols. We see pyramids, camels, and airplanes. Sandra Barnes
narrates her impulse to come to Egypt after the death of her father
and breakup of a relationship. Something is so . . . familiar.
Meanwhile, arrogant millionaire Lord Maxton heads a dig; a tomb
entry is interrupted by the Department of Antiquities.
Sandra dreams of an ancient ritual and then
of Aziru, a high priest of Zoth, and Kia, a sacred concubine of
this supposed god of vengeance, being caught together in a tent.
The priest is condemned "never to pass into the hereafter"
and is wrapped mummy-style alive. This dream is intercut with
scenes of Maxton and the archaeologists sneaking into the tomb,
encountering a cobra, and opening the sarcophagus. The entrails
were not removed and the cutting of the linen reveals "no
physical damage," so we decide he was buried alive. Removal
of the mask reveals a skeletal scream. An Egyptian guide steals
a few pieces. Another graverobbing official is strangled by the
reclining mummy, and the mummy is soon ambulatory.
On the way to a Cairo museum, Sandra yammers
in often fragmented monotones: "The pyramids always drew
me to them. That the entrances are aligned with stars is magical.
Hidden passageways as mysterious diversions, and of course the
elaborate farewell to the loved one, with the beautiful stories
and paintings to guide one into the future. You were loved and
respected; you will be remembered; you were part of something
large and lovely while you lived here. And once all the many layers
are peeled back, once the stories have been etched into the outer
layers of the sarcophagus and then removed, you are left with
the ornate shell of a life, even wearing the rings and necklaces
part of a breathing day far away from the insulated walls of the
pyramid. A dry hot sandy breeze. Pouring water and looking into
the eyes of your loved one, and seeing that spark of recognition
that you and he are alive and that anything is possible."
In the museum, she insanely breaks a glass
case and rips a hand off a mummified arm, presumably because of
the ring. She faints and is tended to by psychiatrist Carey Williams.
Among snakes, the hideous mummy prays for restoration
and turns into Tony Curtis in time to greet the archaeologists,
point out the inscription's curse to anyone defiling the sacred
precinct, and announce himself as Dr. Mohassid: "I am the
protector of the dead." The graverobber's corpse is found.
Sandra has a dream in which the hideous version
of the mummy attacks her. She calls the shrink and subsequently
sees him on dates which involve psychoanalysis, horseback riding,
and scampering away from oddly misplaced rattlesnakes.
Tony Curtis promises the god Zoth that he "shall
purge this land of the unholy plunderers of our graves."
As Dr. Mohassid, he visits one of the archaeologists, corrects
him on finer points of ancient life (insisting on the popularity
not of wine but of beer from Memphis), and disappears when a snake
eats a pet bird.
Sandra and the shrink visit a marketplace,
and she wanders off, becomes increasingly terrified, is harassed
in a lowlife tunnel underground, and wakes up in Dr. Mohassid's
car going back to her hotel where they meet the shrink. Mohassid
tells him, "There is very little in the modern world we Egyptians
did not have 3000 years ago." After announcing his passion
for antiquities, he claims laughingly to be one himself. Afterwards,
the shrink thinks Mohassid was afraid to be touched.
Sandra makes another museum visit and sees
a statue of Kia, a mummified cat return to life, and various other
visions ending with her entombment by jackals. The shrink tells
her it's death anxiety and guilt since the dreams always end in
suffocation (which they don't).
At the tomb, the Dr. identifies artifacts so
well that Maxton calls him "a phenomenon." But he also
has the lid of a sarcophagus fall and crush the skull of a researcher
he calls "graverobber." At a cocktail party later, Mohassid
berates Maxton as another graverobber and threatens to dig up
Westminster Abbey. He later apologizes by giving Maxton a cat,
but the cat scratches the millionaire's eyes and his face blows
up in infection. Mohassid prays to Zoth to allow more time for
further vengeance and the voice of Zoth demands revenge for the
graverobbing and that Aziru "return the girl." Mohassid
visits the hospital and kills Maxton.
Sandra dreams of a snake in her bed. She runs
out into a storm and to Mohassid who places her in his bed. She
next realizes the hideous mummy is next to her. Awake, she learns
of the astrological "night of the embrace" when, every
3300 years, Jupiter and Mars (with their ancient Egyptian names
which make them male and female) align in retrograde motion; if
lost loves reunite in this time, "the gods will allow them
to enter paradise where they will live in divine ecstasy."
Sandra turns down a ring offered by Mohassid. The shrink meanwhile
does some research and realizes it's a race against time to Luxor.
The two remaining archaeologists are killed,
one by a snake, the other apparently by embalming after Mohassid
binds him in mummy wrap and shows him eviscerating tools. At Luxor,
Sandra is summoned in the middle of the stormy night by Mohassid,
who says, "I've calculated the exact time of the embrace,"
and who gives her drugged wine and makes her up to look like Kia.
He carries her into the tomb, and is slowly changing into the
rotting version of himself. He triggers a tomb-passage collapse
and takes Sandra to be embalmed so that she can be reborn into
eternity, or something: "Your hour of eternity is here."
(Huh?) "Your body will be a house you can return to without
death." She knocks a tray of acid in his face, a fire starts,
bullets tear into him as the Minister of Antiquities arrives with
the shrink, and the hideous version of Aziru collapses in flames
while Sandra, the shrink, the Department of Antiquities guy, and
a cheesy Egyptian run to escape the cave-in. Only Sandra and the
shrink make it out. The film ends with the starry sky showing
the alignment of the planets.
The video box claims that "this macabre tale [was] suggested
by horror master Edgar Allan Poe's Some Words with a Mummy,"
but this Poe work is a satirical short story simply involving
a reanimated mummy being unimpressed with the supposed accomplishments
of nineteenth-century western culture. The only trace of Poe is
Mohassid's claim that "There is very little in the modern
world we Egyptians did not have 3000 years ago."
The film is annoyingly choppy, but at least
this keeps it moving. The themes are all here, in slightly more
coherent form than in most mummy films, but not much. Dream sequences
are occasionally effective, but the vengeance in each case seems
arbitrary and certainly the larger structure on this score is
not organized clearly.
The god Zoth occasionally replies to Tony Curtis
and sounds like Skeletor from the He-Man cartoon (or Megatron
from the Transformers).
But dear God, why Tony Curtis?! That adenoidal New
Yawk accent as ancient Egyptian? "Zoth in dy praise. Zoth in dy