Time Walker (1982)


USA. 1982.


Director – Tom Kennedy, Screenplay – Tom Friedman & Karen Levitt, Story – Tom Friedman & Jason Williams, Producers – Dimitri Villard & Jason Williams, Photography – Robbie Greenberg, Music – Richard H. Band, Transformation Sequence – New World Effects, Art Direction – Robert A. Burns & Joe Garrity. Production Company – Dmitri Vallard/Wescom Productions Inc.


Ben Murphy (Professor Douglas McCadden), Nina Axelrod (Susie Fuller), Robert Random (Jack Parker), Kevin Brophy (Peter Sharpe), James Karen (Dr Wendell J. Rossmore), Shari Belafonte-Harper (Linda Flores), Antoinette Bower (Dr Hayworth), Darwin Joston (Lieutenant Plummer), Sam Chew, Jr. (Dr Bruce Serrano), Austin Stoker (Dr Ken Melrose), Gary Dubin (Michael Goldstein), Jack Olson (Ankh-Venharis), John Lavachelli (Bill Vogler), Gerald Prendergast (Greg Hauser), Melissa Prophet (Jennie), Warrington Gillette (Stanley)


Archaeologist Douglas McCadden uncovers another mummy hidden inside the tomb of Tutankhamen. It is brought back to the California Institute of Sciences where McCadden and his students examine it, finding a mystery fungus inside the sarcophagus that proves deadly when touched. One of the students, Peter Sharpe, finds a hidden compartment he in the sarcophagus that contains five jewels. He steals these and sells them to his friends. The university is embarrassed when a press conference is held the next day and the sarcophagus is opened only for the mummy to be missing. Thought to be a student prank, a campus-wide hunt is begun for it. The mummy is alive and killing those who have the jewels. As McCadden researches the scrolls found in the sarcophagus, he comes to realise that the mummy, Ankh-Venharis, may have been extra-terrestrial in origin.

Time Walker is a film that I had heard about for many years but never got around to seeing. It always had the reputation as ‘the mummy from outer space’ movie. The mummy film has a long history going all the way back to The Mummy (1932) and in particular the series of sequels that Universal made to it. There have been a many other mummy films over the decades but almost all of them slip into being routine B films. Time Walker is one oddity that gives the mummy film a science-fictional spin – a novel take that was also conducted in the Doctor Who episodes Pyramids of Mars (1975) and Mummy on the Orient Express (2014), as well as implied in the film Prisoners of the Sun (2013). The idea, one suspects, is taken from Erich von Daniken – see Chariots of the Gods (1970) – and his notion of Ancient Astronauts, that aliens had appeared throughout prehistory causing the building of the pyramids and other mega-artifacts.

I expected a film filled with wild science-fictional concepts and tomb-raiding adventures. The reality of Time Walker is far more mundane and nondescript than that. Egypt is left behind after the opening scene and the rest of the action takes place on a regular American campus. Once there, the mummy stalking people in an effort to get back its magic stones becomes no different than a hockey-masked maniac like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers slaughtering a bunch of co-eds in any slasher film of this era. We even get a scene where the mummy peeps in on a girl showering just like a regular slasher film maniac.

Time Walker is disappointingly dull and sedate. The pace moves at a plod, the plot lacks any interesting ideas or twists. All that we get is the mummy wandering around the campus killing various people. Even then, the film fails to offer up any of the usual horror effects of people being bloodily slaughtered or gooily melting down that were popular during this era. The film does go out on a mild surprise uplift where we get to see the true nature of the mummy as what we nowadays would call one of the Grey Aliens and it is revealed to not be the threat everyone assumes. The film goes out on a cliffhanger as it teleports off, taking a wounded Ben Murphy with it and the title card then announces ‘To Be Continued’, a promise that has so far not come to pass.

Actors: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Themes: , , , ,