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RUSSELL MULCAHY'S TALE OF THE MUMMY ($30) is a serviceable grade "B" horror movie that is best described in one of two ways: what if they made a mummy movie and the mummy didn't show up, or better yet, attack of the killer bandages. Actually, TALE OF THE MUMMY has a rather interesting premise, involving those mummy movie staples- ancient curses, reincarnation and resurrection. Undemanding horror hounds will certainly get an evening's entertainment from the film.

TALE OF THE MUMMY opens in Egypt with an ill-fated archaeological dig that unearths the tomb of Talos. Leading the expedition is Sir Richard Turkel (Christopher Lee), who realizes too late that the tomb contains a malevolent force. Unfortunately, Sir Richard is forced to sacrifice himself and seal the tomb before the evil can escape. Decades later, Sir Richard's granddaughter Samantha Turkel (Louise Lombard) re-opens the tomb hoping to discover what really happened to her grandfather. Inside the tomb, Samantha and a team of scientists discover a most unusual burial chamber containing the sarcophagus of Talos.

However, instead of finding a mummy within the sarcophagus, wrappings are all that seem to remain of the mysterious Talos. Once removed from the confines of the tomb, the wrappings take on a murderous life of their own, claiming victim after victim. TALE OF THE MUMMY also stars Jason Scott Lee as Riley; the police investigator who tries to protect Samantha from whatever force was release when she opened the tomb of Talos. The cast of TALE OF THE MUMMY also features Sean Pertwee, Lysette Anthony, Michael Lerner, Jack Davenport, Honor Blackman and Shelley Duvall. TALE OF THE MUMMY isn't great horror by any means, but director Russell Mulcahy maintains a quick pace which allows the movie to be creepy good fun for its brief 88 minute run time. The film also features some interesting special effects work from KNB EFX Group.

Dimension Home Video has made TALE OF THE MUMMY available on DVD in a good looking Letterboxed presentation that restores the film's 2.35:1 framing, but does not contain the 16:9 enhancement for wide screen televisions. The image is sharp and well detailed throughout the presentation. Colors reproduce with natural looking flesh tones and highly saturated hues. Blacks are correctly rendered and contrast is quite smooth. Neither chroma noise or digital compression artifacts offered any distractions.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a dependable mix, but it is nothing extraordinary. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and always intelligible. The soundstage isn't as broad or cleanly defined as it is on big budget productions, but it is workable. There are, however, some nice directional effects, plus the track sports a very solid bass component. English subtitles are encoded onto the DVD.

The interactive menus are very basic, offering only the standard scene selection and set up features.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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