The Showgirls of mummy movies
EI Independent Cinema has released their third Donald F. Glut feature under their Seduction Cinema banner. Glut was a legend among monster fans long before making his first feature (Dinosaur Valley Girls), having made his mark as a writer, musician, and one of the better known makers of amateur monster movies. The Mummy’s Kiss (the onscreen title) isn’t Glut’s best picture (Erotic Rites of Countess Dracula has a more engaging story and characters), but it’s obvious that he’s learned a great deal about smoothing out the rough edges of low budget filmmaking, and his films stand far above the quality of other Seduction Cinema titles.
EI sets the right mood off the bat by laying Glut’s clever “Mummy Wrap” tune, featured in the background during the film, under the main DVD menu. The action takes place at California’s fictional Whemple University (played by Hollywood High School), the kind of college campus that features a student body nearly always clad in miniskirts and tube tops. Archaeology Professor Carter Moore (George Thomas), his assistant Tina Kim (Aysia Lee), and his fiancé Ana Harwa (Sasha Peralta) stir up trouble in opening the sarcophagus of an ancient Egyptian mummy. The mummy of sorceress Hor-Shep-sut (Ava Niche) returns to life and immediately targets Ana as the reincarnation of her lost love, plotting with her gods (including Playboy centerfold Katie Lohman as Isis) to make Ana an immortal creature like herself so that they can pick up where they left off.
Genre fans will appreciate the film’s homage to the Boris Karloff classic The Mummy – the general tragic romance plot is much the same – as well as in-jokes tucked in everywhere throughout the movie. Most movies with scenes set in ancient Egypt tend to portray them in overdone sepia tones that make them look like modern Egypt, while Glut makes his Malibu locations work for him by playing up the lush greens and blues to make it look more like the thriving Old World Nile Valley. The mummy makeup and f/x provided by John Carl Buechler is very good, and Glut & Co. overcome their obvious budget restrictions by actually providing genuine suspense and drama in several sequences. But the fact remains that this film is what it is: a movie about a mummy with huge breasts! Since we’re already in Russ Meyer territory, perhaps even more camp could have been added. The best possible audience for a picture like this (other than lonely guys who dig girl-on-girl action of course) is a rowdy and possibly drunken group of friends at a party.
On the commentrak, Glut and producer Kevin Glover are forthcoming about the film’s strengths and deficiencies, and express appreciation for their cast and crew. Performances range from the professional strength line readings of veteran Richard Lynch (The Happy Hooker, God Told Me To) to the unrehearsed performances of Hollywood’s ingénues – many of whom deserve extra credit for filling in at the last minute when cast members failed to show up. The commentary gives one a new appreciation for the difficulties involved in filmmaking, and how the filmmakers get over bumps in the road by keeping flexible and knowing the value of solid lighting and camerawork (even for shot-on-video flicks). They also point out the real embalmer in the embalming scene.
EI gives the flick a nice widescreen presentation, and while nobody will mistake this for a THX-approved Stephen Sommers mummy picture, it doesn’t look too shabby, considering. The DVD extras go beyond EI’s usual promotional material – besides the commentrak, they’ve preserved a great deal of raw footage shot for the opening and closing of the film. Ten minutes of behind-the-scenes footage gives a look at the shooting of special makeup effects. There’s also over a half hour of bloopers and outtakes. If nothing else, this release is provided the best cover art that any EI Cinema release has ever had.