Dawn of the Mummy

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Dawn of the Mummy
Dawn of the mummy poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Frank Agrama
Produced by Frank Agrama
Written by Frank Agrama
Ronald Dobrin
Daria Price
Starring Brenda King
Barry Sattels
George Peck
John Salvo
Ibrahim Khan
Joan Levy
Ellen Faison
Dianne Beatty
Music by Shuki Levy
Cinematography Larry Revene
Sergio Rubini
Edited by Jonathon Braun
Distributed by Harmony Gold USA
Goldfrab Distribution
Release date
December 11, 1981
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $500,000

Dawn of the Mummy is a 1981 horror film directed by Frank Agrama, who also served as writer and producer on the film. While not prosecuted for obscenity, the film was seized and confiscated in the UK under Section 3 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 during the video nasty panic.


In ancient Egypt during the fourth millennium BC, slave raiders abduct several villagers to be servants for the burial of Pharaoh Sefirama. They were then ordered to stand around the Pharaoh's sarcophagus, killed with poison gas, and the entrance to his tomb was sealed. The high priestess (Laila Nasr) who attended the burial proclaims that "he who enters this tomb, after it is sealed, will die on the dawn of the mummy".

Thousands of years later into the present day, three men, Rick (Barry Sattels), Tariq (Ali Gohar), and Karib (Ibrahim Khan) detonate the tomb and uncover its entrance. Rick warns the other two to wait until the next morning, as the air around the uncovered tomb is poisoned. The high priestess, now an elderly woman, screams and tells them that the tomb is cursed, but is scared off when Rick shoots his pistol at the air. Rick tells them to guard the tomb for the night, and drives away on his Jeep.

Three grave robbers on camels were greeted by the old woman, who tells them to close the tomb to prevent its curse. They ask her and enter the tomb, but get infected by its poisonous gases. One of them dies, while the other two leave.

A photographer and a group of American models travel to Egypt for a fashion shoot. On the way to the tomb, a tire on one of their Jeeps gets punctured, so the group has to stop to replace the tire. One of the models, Lisa (Brenda Siemer Schieder) asks the director, Gary (John Salvo), to look at the other side of a dune. They race to the bottom of the other side, but Lisa falls and gets scared by one of the grave robbers' heads lying on the sand. The rest of their group takes them back to their location.

Rick and his detonate the tomb, and explore its burial chamber, though Rick's henchmen were disappointed that there is no gold. Ahamed Zaiki (Ahmad Labab) arrives to check on his investments in the excavations, and after Rick's assurances, he leaves. On the next morning, Rick attempts to chisel a passage into the chamber, but Tarak and Karib detonate its entrance with more dynamite. Even though they were disappointed again by the chamber's lack of gold, they open Sefirama's sarcophagus to look for more treasures. A mouse jumps unto Karib's back, and frightens him.

After settling near a riverbank village for the night, the American models' group moves on next morning to shoot photos near the tomb. Karib shoots his gun at them, thinking that they are intruders, but Rick and Tarak stop him. The models' group proceeds on to the tomb, against Rick and his henchmen's objections. While doing so, their hot lights accidentally revive Pharaoh Seferman's mummy. Rick snaps off the cable on one of their spotlights. Jenny is asked to go and find a battery for their spotlights, but she spills a bowl containing one of the Pharaoh's organs, infecting her hand and frightening her. Their hot lights accidentally revive Pharaoh Seferman's mummy and his followers, a band of flesh-eating zombies.

Tariq is left to return to his home in a city, while Jenny's hand infection persists and burns her. Karib enters the tomb alone by himself, cuts open Pharaoh Sefirama's mummy, and steals his crook and flail. A door to another chamber opens. Karib enters, but is incapacitated by the door, and dragged away.

In the next morning, Rick and Tariq enter the tomb as they search for Karib, and are overjoyed to find Pharaoh Sefirama's crook and flail, and other treasures. The models and their team return for another photo shoot, but their continued usage of lighting has awakened the Pharaoh.


  • Brenda King as Lisa
  • Barry Sattels as Rick
  • George Peck as Bill
  • John Salvo as Gary
  • Ibrahim Khan as Karib
  • Joan Levy as Jenny
  • Ellen Faison as Melinda
  • Dianne Beatty as Joan
  • Ali Gohar as Tariq
  • Ahmed Rateb as Omar
  • Bahar Saied
  • Ali Azab
  • Ahamed Labab as Ahamed
  • Laila Nasr as High Priestess/Old Hag
  • Kandarp Raval as The servant boy (Mummy)


Dawn of the Mummy was filmed in Egypt[1] with a mostly Italian crew leading many to mistake it as an Italian film.[2]

Unlike traditional interpretations of mummies in cinema, the film's portrayal of the undead is quite unique. In the film the mummies are portrayed as ravenous flesh eaters, similar to the popular portrayal of zombies in which both share many similarities.[3]

Due to the film's surprisingly graphic content the film was subject to several cuts in the UK in order to trim down the film's more graphic scenes, approximately 1 minute and 43 seconds were cut from 12 different scenes in the film. Some scenes included The Mummy ramming a machete into the character Tarak's head, a man being gutted by the mummy, and scenes where the mummy's undead servants feast on several characters.[4]


Home media[edit]

Dawn of the Mummy has been released on VHS and DVD format. The film was released on region 1 by Madacy Entertainment, as a VHS transfer. The packaging is said to list the film's Theatrical Trailer and other Theatrical Trailers, although there is only one on the disc, it is not for the main feature, it is of a 1997 film, Road Ends. It does however feature an audio commentary track by director Frank Agrama. Brian Lindsey"Dawn of the Mummy review". eccrentic-cinema.com. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 

The film was released uncut in the UK by Anchor Bay Entertainment. It features an anamorphic widescreen 1.77:1 transfer, plus the 4:3 full screen transfer, DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 2.0 & 5.1 Surround. The extras include Director's Audio Commentary, Stills Gallery, Production Notes and Trailer."Dawn of the Mummy DVD". hkflix.com. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 


The film has received mixed to negative reviews from critics.

John Stanley awarded the film 2 / 4 stars stating, "Hashish smokers in a Cairo square are as exciting as it gets in this tale".[5] Popcorn Pictures.com gave the film 6/10 stating, "It is an arduous struggle to get past the first half of Dawn of the Mummy but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with one of the more entertaining zombie flicks of its period: a guilty pleasure of trashy exploitation at its finest. If the entire film had been as enjoyable as the last half, you’d be looking at a bonafide classic right here".[6]

It was awarded a score of 0 / 4 by VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever which panned the film's plot and acting.[7]


Anthony Hickox wrote 2012 the script of the remake Prisoners of the Sun, which directed by Roger Christian and stars Joss Ackland, Carmen Chaplin, Nick Moran and John Rhys-Davies.[8] The film will release in April 2015 in the United Kingdom on DVD and Blu-ray.[9]


  1. ^ Sally MacDonald; Michael Rice (15 October 2003). CONSUMING ANCIENT EGYPT. Left Coast Press. pp. 46–. ISBN 978-1-59874-203-9. 
  2. ^ Jay Slater (25 September 2002). Eaten alive!: Italian cannibal and zombie movies. Plexus. ISBN 978-0-85965-314-5. 
  3. ^ Alan Jones. The Rough Guide to Horror Movies. Rough Guides. 
  4. ^ "Dawn of the Mummy (Comparison: BBFC 18 VHS (Apex) - German DVD) - Movie-Censorship.com". movie-censorship.com. Eiskaltes Grab. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  5. ^ John Stanley (2000). Creature Features: The Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Movie Guide. Berkley Boulevard Books. ISBN 978-0-425-17517-0. 
  6. ^ "Dawn of the Mummy (1981) | Popcorn Pictures". Popcorn Pictures.com. Popcorn Pictures.com. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  7. ^ VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale CENGAGE Learning. 2012. p. 251. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Dawn of the Mummy Remake". Gale CENGAGE Learning. 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "Stephen Romano's RETRO 13 – Dawn of the Mummy… Part 2?". DC. 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 

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