October 14, 2013

Time Walker (1982)

Directed by Tom Kennedy. Starring Ben Murphy ("McCadden"), Nina Axelrod ("Susie"), Kevin Brophy ("Peter"), and Robert Random ("Parker"). Rated PG.

Source: Region 1 DVD (Shout! Factory)
Running time: 01:25:41
Country: USA

In my review of GROTESQUE, I mentioned it being part of a horror four-pack that was released by Shout! Facotry. Well, TIME WALKER is one of those four movies. Prior to picking up this set, I hadn't even heard of this movie, so I was at the very least pleased to find out that it stars some familiar faces of 80s (and 70s) genre films. Nina Axelrod from MOTEL HELL, Warrington Gillette in a small role (he played unmasked Jason Voorhees in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2), Kevin Brophy from HELL NIGHT, James Karen (who'd go on to star in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD), and we get an ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 reunion with Austin Stoker and Darwin Joston. To a lesser extent, there's even Sam Chew Jr. from RATTLERS. To top it off, the film is essentially about a group of people trying to stop a toxic mummy from killing college students. Toxic or not, I love me some killer mummy movies.

A college professor from the California Institute of the Sciences takes a trip to Egypt with his assistant and ganks a mummy from King Tut's tomb. The mummy and its fancy-looking casket are brought back to the university for the sake of scientific research. How he managed to steal an entire mummy and smuggle it back to the United States is beyond me. Perhaps they explained it, but I clearly missed that part. Anyway, something goes wrong with the initial examination of the mummy. One of the students (who's later revealed to be an absolute fuck-up that ruins anything he touches) exposes the mummy to way too much radiation as he's taking X-rays. Not content with just causing damage to the mummy, the same student steals some jewels from a hidden compartment in its casket and later hands them out to his friends. Big mistake.

The professor arranges a press conference the next day, only to reveal that the mummy has somehow disappeared from its casket. Shit hits the fan, and the higher-ups at the college agree that they should keep the incident on the down-low, despite the fact that numerous members of the press were already there when they found the empty casket. They think it was stolen and scramble to get to the bottom of it. Little do they know, the mummy woke its old, bandaged ass up and simply left the building. This mummy ain't your typical mummy though. It doesn't shuffle around with its arms outstretched. Instead, it levitates, floats, and is covered with a deadly fungus that can fuck your shit up if it makes contact with your skin.

There's also a twist in regards to the mummy that's spoiled on the film's box art and poster. It's presented as this big reveal at the end of the film, too. Oh well. I still won't say what it is, but I liked it. What I can say is that it's basically a misunderstood monster who simply wants its jewels back. The mummy literally snatches chains from bitches' necks.

Aside from the surprise of seeing some familiar actors in this, it was interesting to see how similar this is to an 80s summer camp slasher despite being set on a campus and minus the creative kills. I totally got an early-80s FRIDAY THE 13TH vibe from this movie (specifically the first three), but that's mostly due to the characters, the fashion, and the ages of some of the actors - and of course the fact that it was made in the early 80s and has that very distinct look about it. The college students are essentially the camp counselors and the professor is like the older counselor who acts as their glorified babysitter.

While I wouldn't be too confident about calling this a "slasher" per se, it does feature some very slasher-esque moments involving the mummy. The horror elements and the stalking (and sometimes killing) sequences are the highlights of the film for me. Unfortunately, there's the other (boring) side of it that involves the older characters and authority figures doing a whole shit-load of talking, planning, and speculating as they're trying to track down the mummy and put the pieces of the puzzle together. Had this just been a slasher about a killer mummy terrorizing a college campus, it would've been a lot more to my liking. As it is, I think TIME WALKER is a unique Sci-Fi/Horror movie in terms of its presentation and whatnot, but it's not as fun as it could've potentially been. Be warned: the ending is super cheesy. Oh, and don't let the PG rating fool you; this would easily be R-rated if it came out today.

Score: 6

1 comment:

  1. I've got that set. I'm going to watch Time Walker now. You've made it sound interesting and that Warrington Gillette tidbit has sold me. Thank you sir.