Review of “Time Walker” (1982)

trailer from YouTube

This is this week’s Saturday night pizza and bad movie offering. We watched it with Svengoolie. The pizza was good.

Plot:

An earthquake strikes a modern archaeological dig at King Tut’s tomb, knocking down a wall into a previously unknown room. (Yeah, it could happen.) Inside are multiple skeletonized remains and a sarcophagus.

Never mind the poor dead guys around the room. Prof. Douglas McCadden (Ben Murphy) and his team bring the sarcophagus back to the California Institute of the Sciences. (No clearance tussle with Dr. Zahi Hawass?) There, McCadden and some students carefully remove the outer lid. They translate the revealed cartouche, Ankh Venharis, as “noble traveler.” The mummy appears to have been hastily wrapped and is covered in a fluorescent green powder. McCadden asks student Michael Goldstein (Gary Dubin) to take a sample of the green powder. As he does, Michael accidentally gets a little on his wrist above his gloves.

Student Peter Sharpe overcharges the x-ray machine. In developing the x-rays, he notices what he thinks are valuable jewels—five crystals that look like marbles— by the mummy’s head and steals them (naughty, naughty!) then retakes the x-rays to conceal his theft. When a jeweler tells him they’re worthless, he starts giving them away to girls and selling them to gullible guys.

Dr. Ken Melrose (Austin Stoker) of the pathology department thinks the green powder is a dormant fungus but not one he’s seen before. There are other oddities. Unlike other mummies, this one still has its internal organs. Its bone structure is… unusual.

Goop on the side of the sarcophagus lets the viewer know the fungus is no longer dormant. At a press conference called to unveil the mummy, Michael tries to wipe it off. He ends up screaming in pain and is rushed to the hospital.

But that’s not the most dramatic thing that happens at the press conference. When the lid is removed, the sarcophagus is empty.

The authorities and even McCadden (for a while) treat its absence as a fraternity prank. But the viewer knows better: We see the world through a green filter when the mummy walks looking for the crystals Sharpe is passing around.

Thoughts:

This could have been an interesting and unusual take on the mummy story. Several things keep that from happening, in my seldom-humble opinion. First, the pacing drags. The acting is flat and phoned it. The most convincing actor was the mummy (Jack Olson), who didn’t have any speaking parts.

Having said that, I will add that Sheri Belafonte as the school’s photographer/d.j., Linda Flores, was fun to watch.

Many story elements are potboiler pre-disaster slasher movie tripe. A creep peeps on his girlfriend’s roommate undressing. A couple making out in the park is spooked by a guy in a mummy costume from a costume party. You know, every college campus has a costume party at least once a week with maybe a break for finals. The professor is having an affair with his beautiful young assistant Susie Fuller (Nina Axelrod). And, of course, we watch a girl undress and get into the shower, where the mummy attacks her. Don’t monsters ever attack guys in the shower?

The mummy’s fatal touch/fungus is what killed King Tut. No wonder he was quickly wrapped up and shoved into a secure room.

By far the most off-putting thing, though, was the ending. It made no sense. Originally, there was a promise of a sequel that might have explained things, but it has yet to be.

Although the movie gives the viewer some (intentionally) silly moments that are fun, for the most part, this movie doesn’t deliver.






Title: Time Walker (1982)

Directed by
Tom Kennedy

Writing Credits
Jason Williams…(story) &
Tom Friedman…(story)
Tom Friedman…(screenplay) &
Karen Levitt…(screenplay)

Cast (in credits order) verified
Ben Murphy…Prof. Douglas McCadden
Nina Axelrod…Susie Fuller
Kevin Brophy…Peter Sharpe
Robert Random…Jack Parker
James Karen…Dr. Wendell J. Rossmore

Released: November 19, 1982
Length: 1 hour, 23 minutes

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

13 thoughts on “Review of “Time Walker” (1982)

      1. No sillier than Time Walker.

        Maybe they should have female mummies to go after the guys in the shower?

        What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Or gender. Your pick.

      2. I picture a female mummy reaching for a bar of soap. “Do you mind? It’s been a while.”

        And the guy freaking out.

        But that’s just me.

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