Theme Song: Music for Dawn of the Mummy was written by Shuki Levy, whose musical stylings you may remember from every single children’s show you watched if you grew up in the 80s/90s.
Here’s a bit from when the mummies rise from the grave. Effective and atmospheric.
Interesting Dated References: Gripping a sleeping woman’s throat (being sure to press your thumb on her windpipe) in order to wake her up so you can express your wanting to have intercourse of a sexual nature.
Best Line: None.
Social Context: I don’t know why Frank Agrama, director of Queen Kong and founder of the production company Harmony Gold (Robotech), decided he wanted to make a hybrid mummy/zombie movie, but he did, and if you can look past a few flaws, it’s an enjoyable curiosity.
Summary: The main issue with Dawn of the Mummy is the pacing. Going into a mummy movie, the viewer should vaguely know mummy origins. The viewer, be they trippin’ Jack Daniels or just fucking dumb as shit, should know that mummies are usually ancient Egyptian royalty, and have some type of reanimation curse.
It’s fairly common knowledge/lore. Regardless, Agrama decided to waste the first 6 hours of the movie showing how an Egyptian king wasn’t kind, later died, was entombed and cursed, and subsequently unearthed by an overacting archaeologist/thief named Rick. Then, because it’s 1981, some American models show up.
Okay, so the premise is now in full gear. The models, desperate to get some good photos, set up shop in the tomb. Their hot modeling lights cause the mummy’s corpse to ooze grease, a visual the effects team must have been very pleased with as 45 minutes are spent showing the ooze from various angles.
Eventually the modelling crew and the archaeologist/thieves start disappearing and, in one of the more effective scenes of the movie, a whole crop of zombie mummies rise from the grave.
They descend on a nearby town/village and kill a bunch of people in the very well done last three minutes of the movie. Then the main zombie is killed in a grass hut full of gasoline and explosives.
– The main model is Brenda King, later known as Brenda Siemer Scheider, wife to Roy Scheider (R.I.P).
Poster and Box Art: It’s a mummy movie, what else do you want? The mummy is rising from the grave.
Availability: Has been reissued on DVD multiple times, and you can read extensive analysis of the variations between coloring, bitrate, and compression here.