Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Tomb (Fred Olen Ray, 1986)

Believe it or not, the video box on this one is a little misleading. I know, "gasp!" Sybil Danning is in the film, albeit briefly, and so is the macho dude she is with, though he is a minor character. Also, it has little to nothing to do with archaeology, except in the most cursory fashion. So, what the hell is it about?

Well, it does start out with archaeology. Sleazy treasure hunters in Egypt catch wind of an undiscovered tomb, and of course are off to loot its treasures. Little do they know it is the cursed tomb of the sorceress/vampire, Nefratis.

Well, Nefratis (this week's NGoN Michelle Bauer) is released from her long sleep and is thirsty for some sweet, sweet human blood.

Now, I hate to be all picky, but this was supposed to be a tomb lost for millennia, that was only found when an earthquake made it visible. However, I am pretty darn sure those are windows behind victim #2.

But like I say, this is not really about archaeology. It is a vampire/mummy movie, kind of in the way Blood from the Mummy's Tomb is not so much either as well. In female vampire fashion, she needs blood and souls to make her young and beautiful. In more pulp Egyptian fashion, she needs rituals and the death magic of the gods. Thus, she needs victims, and the two items stolen from her tomb. Rather than kill the guy on the video cover with Miss Danning, she lets him return to America, waits for him to sell the items, and then follows him. Maybe she likes to be playful? She goes on a part killing, part assaulting spree while searching which draws the attention of a few academics, and one jock. They are quickly on the trail.

This is pretty par-for-the-course Fred Olen Ray. It is silly and exciting, slightly scary. Bauer is remarkably good in it, trying to channel the old Hammer succubi. It is not overly littered with nudity, though there is a pretty gratuitous bit of titty-shaking by Russ Meyer actress/ex-wife Kitten Natividad. Other than that, I think the super-cool F.O.R. regular, Dawn Wildsmith, is seen briefly nude, but otherwise it is quite the tame affair. You might notice some scenes inspired by 1985's Fright Night, particularly in a dance club where Nefratis stalks heroine Helen (Susan Stokey).

All in all, it is not a bad way to spend ninety minutes, and it is streaming on Netflix.

Some more screen captures, including a few of the aforementioned Kitten Natividad scene can be found here.

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