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Dawn of the Mummy

Review by: 
Billion$Baby
Release Date: 
1981
Studio: 
Anchor Bay UK
Genre: 
Horror
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
0 PAL
Aspect Ratio: 
1.33:1
Directed by: 
Farouk "Frank" Agrama
Cast: 
Brenda King
Joan Levy
Movie: 
1
Extras: 
2
Bottom Line: 
1

 This one actually sounded pretty good! Four beautiful American models arrive in Egypt for a photo shoot. After the tomb of a brutal pharoah called Safiraman is violated, that mummy and his army of the living dead arise to take their revenge. It's basically supposed to be a zombie film (as the title suggests) but with mummies causing the mayhem instead. The fact that DOTM was actually shot in Egypt also added to the appeal. Thing is, it's filmed in Egypt but there's actually no need for that since most of it takes place in really naff sets anyway unless you happen tosee some folks walking or riding around in the desert. But it could just be any desert! I was hoping to see either some Egyptian landmarks or an impressive location or two, not a completely feeble tomb or village set being heavily overused.
 
This is probably a respected genre film....in Egypt. Director Farouk "Frank" Agrama delivered a tedious plodding feature which looks like it was financed by local street beggars. I gave it a very generous one skull rating just because I started to feel sorry for it. It takes ages before anything remotely interesting starts to happen (about 40 minutes) after an intriguing but very short prologue of Safiraman being mummified. If you watch the trailer for DOTM, it shows all of the best bits. It's a very short trailer!! There's only one cool moment in the entire movie, when the three mummies emerge from the sand in the desert underneath a blazing sun. And the "models" aren't beautiful, they can't act out their pointless and bland dialogue, and they certainly never reveal any flesh.
 
The women want to leave Egypt after some odd occurrences but their photographer refuses stating that they can't leave until their 3 day magazine shoot has finished. The photographer wants to shoot a lot of photos in the film's pitiful tomb set. This "tomb" has recently been discovered by a "soldier of fortune" (yeah right) who just lets the bossy photographer and his annoying entourage wander in and take it over, even though he constantly states that he really doesn't want them there. Any normal man would just throw them out! Keep an eye out for the priceless "treasure" that the "soldier of fortune" discovers (pots and jars given a very quick coat of gold paint from an aerosol can). When the American fashion shoot guy who can "drink every bottle in New York" visits the feeble village set dressed up like John Wayne, I have to say that I found it pretty amusing. Rather like
his acting attempts and dialogue.
 
This film is really awful!! It takes bloody ages before anything remotely interesting starts to be seen or heard. And that's only the violence and even then most of that is very short-lived, damn stupid and 100% unconvincing anyway. The so-called army of the living dead consists of five extras wrapped up in bandages and toilet roll. They only cause mayhem towards the very end and then they magically disappear after the good guys take on the head mummy. The direction is absolutely feeble ("point it that way, yeah, that'll do, action!, cut!, now point it that way, action!, cut!, etc), the scripting and it's dialogue are incredibly boring, hardly anything ever happens including the appearances of the shy mummies, none of the attempts at scares or chills work, and the effects are feeble. The fake severed head of one character looks like something I made at school with a balloon and some paper mache when I was seven years old. If you're a fan of especially hopeless zombie or horror movies then you might derive some strange and perverse pleasure from this but I'm warning you now as to just how incredibly boring and padded out it really is, despite that cool film premise. Apparently uncut for the first time in the UK but who cares, it still drags and hums badly, a zombiethon it certainly ain't
 
So what's the disc itself like? ABSOLUTE SHIT.
 
I hate thinly veiled attacks so I'll state it clearly for the record. Anchor Bay UK appear to be a complete and utter waste of everyone's time and money. They either provide lazy region one to two conversions with often inferior prints and then when they do release an exclusive disc, the quality is crap. DOTM features the worst print quality that I have EVER seen on dvd or even on video tape. The print is anamorphic but please don't be fooled because not only is it so dark that it's impossible to see what is going on in the night-time sequences but the print is completely washed out with hardly any colour at all and then to top it off, there are huge and very visible horizontal lines of grain to be seen all over the screen, especially in the dark! This print has all too clearly been taken directly from a terrible video source or perhaps the film negative used was recently unearthed from somewhere in the Sahara desert after 20 years or more of searching. Going to the effort of securing a director's commentary track on this world exclusive disc (wow, lucky us!!) to go with the trailer and film notes is completely pointless when the feature is to be presented like this.
 
Concentrate on the film, not the extras I say. The mock "DTS" track is another tinny effort that merely echoes the sound from the front speakers to those at the back in a very lazy way and the 5.1 track isn't any better either. Don't be fooled by the "enhanced for 16:9 televisions" slogan on the back of the case, there's nothing enhanced about this release. This is most probably the worst horror dvd ever made available in the UK to date. Let's hope it stays that way but seriously thinking about it, I really can't see a firm ever providing any worse than this. Seeing as this version will be returned by every customer who's gonna buy it, just what was the actual point of releasing it? If you can't obtain a better quality picture than this, then you shouldn't even be releasing it at all! No way could I ever recommend this monstrosity of a "dvd" as a purchase.
 
£15?! I wouldn't even pay 50 pence for this sorry effort of a disc. Anchor Bay UK should have more sense than to put out something like this and they obviously need a hefty kick up the arse.
 
Footnote:"This title has now been withdrawn from sale pending an 'investigation' by Anchor Bay UK. No word as of yet on what will happen to those unlucky region 2 folks who've already bought the disc, or on the AB UK re-appraisal or likely final decision."

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