The Secret of the Mummy
Director – Ivan Cardoso (The Seven Vampires, A Werewolf in the Amazon)
Starring – Joel Barcellos (The Naked Man), Rubem Barra, and Carla Bayton
Release Date – 1982
I love horror comedies. I don’t care who made them or when they were made but I want to see them all. My favorite are the campy 80s horror comedies like Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Night of the Creeps but I have a soft spot for the late 90s horror comedies like Boltneck and the 2000s like Dead and Breakfast. When I get the opportunity to watch a horror comedy I have never seen before I often meet it with great optimism.
A few weeks back I was sent the A Werewolf in the Amazon four film set from my friends over at Alternative Cinema. This collection had four films from Brazilian director Ivan Cardoso. The first film in the set is the 1982 horror comedy The Secret of the Mummy. I can’t think of another horror comedy centered around a mummy other than the Disney channel original movie Under Wraps. Sadly, the film was not what I was expecting.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows an archaeologist who claims to have found the the secret of life. He attempts to back up his theory and spends most of his time putting together an ancient map that has been torn into 8 parts to deter others from seeking it’s treasures. Once he solves the puzzle he sets out to find the elixir of life but in turn finds an ancient mummy. He brings the mummy back to Brazil to put on display. The professor accidentally brings the mummy back to life where it goes on a murderous rampage killing anyone that reminds him of a dancer that hurt him.**Spoiler Alert**
I went into this one with a lot of excitement and curiosity. A horror comedy about a mummy really suckered me in but once the film started I immediately knew I would not be enjoying myself. The film was very poor quality. When I say poor quality I want you to imagine recording a film on VHS and then taking that recording and recording it onto another VHS. It so dark in spots that I had no idea what was going on. Also, the film had hard coded sub-titles so during the black and white scenes some of the words were unreadable. A little care in this release would have been nice.
The acting in this one is campy, bold, and fun at times. The scenes all seem colorfully acted but a lot is missed when you are forced to try and read the dialogue with some of the words missing due to the fact that bleed in with the white background.
The story for this one is hard to follow and leaves the viewer wondering what the fuck is going on. The reader misses some of the story with the missing dialogue along with the way the scenes are cut together. It really is a mind fuck.
Finally, we do get a kill or so but the deaths are nothing amazing nor are they memorable. The effect we do get are rather weak and almost laughable. If we could get a glimpse at the story these effects could have added to the humor but in the context they are a miss. Overall, The Secret of the Mummy felt like a waste of time. I love Alternative Cinema but this release felt like it was under prepared. The film was not the best quality which makes it a difficult watch. Skip this one and check out some of their other amazing films.
The Seven Vampires
Director – Ivan Cardoso (The Scarlet Scorpion, A Werewolf in the Amazon)
Starring – Andrea Beltrao (Romance), Dedina Bernardelli (Eye of the Storm), and Tania Boscoli (Irrational Heart)
Release Date – 1986
Rating – 2/5
I wondered when the shit streak would hit again. After reviewing four or five films that received a four out of five or higher I knew it would only be a matter of time before I found myself reviewing a couple horrible horror flicks. When I received the Werewolf in the Amazon Collection from Alternative Cinema I thought it looked pretty rad.
I knew nothing about the films in the set or Ivan Cardoso but I was willing to give them a chance when I saw Paul Naschy’s name attached to it. I assumed that all the films in the collection were werewolf flicks but I was wrong. After reviewing the first film that was a mummy flick I was surprised to see the second film was a vampire film. I was not looking forward to moving on to this one after seeing The Secret of the Mummy but the next film The Seven Vampires was an improvement.
**Spoiler Alert**The film begins with a wealthy man picking up an exotic plant that eats flesh from a loading dock to take back to his laboratory. He plans on doing research on the strange plant but he is unable to control the creature and it attacks him. Sometime passes and his widow has started up a club where she is known for her vampire routine but when her paying customers are attacked and their blood is drained they start to believe that the vampire dancers are actually vampires but when a masked man is found running around they start to suspect who is really behind the murders.**Spoiler Alert**
My first impression of The Secret of the Mummy was that it was a poorly put together film that was difficult to watch. I hoped that the next film would be an improvement. For the most part, The Seven Vampires was a vast improvement but was still far from perfect.
The acting in this one campy and fun. The subtitles is hard coded but the film is in color so it is easier to read than the other film. The cast are having fun and it shows in every scene. Sadly, their characters are very underdeveloped which makes the cast look like they are not doing a good job.
The story for this one is fun and clever but fails to go anywhere with it. A plant that turns people into vampires is great. I really enjoyed that idea but it feels like the writer thought of that but nothing else. The film has a poor ending and anything after the plant turning people into vampire is a joke. They really needed more story before they set out to film.
Finally, the film lacks blood and gore but does have some pretty entertaining practical effects when it comes to the vampire plant. It looks great and but does not set the tone of the film. The film does not follow up the campy looking plant with some solid kills and bloodshed. Overall, The Seven Vampires starts out strong but is unable to go the distance. The film is unable to properly end and give the viewer a conclusion. This is better than The Secret of the Mummy but not by much.
The Scarlet Scorpion
Director – Ivan Cardoso (The Seven Vampires, The Secret of the Mummy)
Starring – Andrea Beltrao (Little Book of Love 2), Herson Capri (Kiss of the Spider Woman), and Nuno Leal Maia (The Prophet)
Release Date – 1990
Rating – 2/5
My shitty movie streak continues as I work my way through the Werewolf in the Amazon collection. This set consists of four film from Brazilian director Ivan Cardoso. Cardoso is new to me but I was very interested in this set after I saw that one of the films starred Paul Naschy.
The first film in the set, The Secret of the Mummy, was a rough watch that I almost didn’t finish. I really tried my patience. The second film, The Seven Vampires, started out promising but lost control halfway through the film. At this point I was losing hope in the set so I tossed in the next film with low expectations. This film was once again a let down.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a rich bachelor who uses his money to fight crime. During his crime fighting career he has came in contact with the Scarlet Scorpion over and over again. This time they fight because the Scarlet Scorpion has kidnapped a fashion model who is actually in love with our hero The Angel.**Spoiler Alert**
I was not expecting a super hero movie in this set. This set has not been entertaining but it has been surprising. I was very shocked to find a mummy movie and a vampire flick but a super hero film definitely caught me off guard. Sadly, just like the other films, this one was able to do anything with the story they were given.
The acting in this one is once again fun. The cast are given quirky characters that could be memorable but have no development or last impression. This is not the cast’s fault but it does make them feel like they are poor choices.
The story for this one starts out solid but can not follow up with the story they are given. It starts out strong and ends very, very poorly. The problem with all these movies is that the writing is bad.
Finally, if you are looking for blood and gore then you will be very let down. This is far from a horror movie. Sadly, its a piss poor attempt at an action comedy. The action is barely there and the comedy is missed in the way the film is shot. Overall, The Scarlet Scorpionis a poorly put together film with no action, no comedy, and the story falls apart about 20 or so minutes in. Another film that could be skipped.
A Werewolf in the Amazon
Director – Ivan Cordoso (The Secret of the Mummy, The Seven Vampires)
Starring – Paul Naschy (Horror Kung-Fu Theater, Countess Dracula’s Orgy of Blood), Daiana Amendola (Under New Management), Karina Bacchi (The Invisible Woman)
Release Date – 2005
Rating – 2.5/5
My time with Ivan Cordoso is coming to an end. So far I have went through The Secret of the Mummy, The Seven Vampires, and The Scarlet Scorpion. The Secret of the Mummy is a poorly executed film that leaves the viewer trying to figure out what is going on due to horrible writing and editing. It truly has no value.
The second film, The Seven Vampires, started out so much better but was unable to follow through with what they had established. The third film, The Scarlet Scorpion was another turd. It starts out strong but once again falls apart before it finishes. The fourth film, A Werewolf in the Amazon has Paul Naschy so I was hoping for something better than what I had already seen.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a group of twenty-somethings who visit the Amazon jungle to look for a power hallucinogen. What they don’t know is that there is a crazy doctor, Dr. Moreau, who has been making animal/human hybrids. Also in the jungle is a group of Amazonian women who want to use the men that enter the jungle to breed with before killing them all. Now the group has to fight off beasts and female warriors in order to survive.**Spoiler Alert**
I lost hope in this collection after watching The Seven Vampires and The Scarlet Scorpion only solidified my predictions but A Werewolf in Amazonhad so much promise. The film had some style but needed to be cleaned up for this release. Some of the scenes were so dark I could not figure out what was going on.
The acting in this one is, once again, fun. The cast is great and this time they do have better written characters to work with. Naschy, as always, is fucking brilliant and does not disappoint. Its always a pleasure to see him in his element.
The story for this one is great but drags out for far too long. The Dr. Moreau meets Amazonian warriors and horny twenty-something year olds is a stroke of brilliance. Sadly, the film moves at a snails pace and they are unable to properly tie them all together.
Finally, the film does have some on screen deaths but they are rather boring considering they come at the hands of spear wielding amazon warriors and a werewolf. The kills have a little blood and fall prey to camera angels and quick cuts. The viewer gets none of the actual carnage and bloodshed. Overall, A Werewolf in the Amazon could be one of those horror films that everyone knows and loves but is unable to pull all the elements together. The story is slow and boring but has so much potential. It deserves at least one watch but that is about it.