Saturday, September 27, 2014
Said earthquake revealed a sarcophagus in King Tut’s tomb that Professor Doug McCadden (Ben Murphy, one-half of ALIAS SMITH AND JONES) brings to his California university. Inside is what appears to be a 3000-year-old mummy covered in a mysterious green fungus. What it really is is a living extraterrestrial that escapes from its coffin and roams the university to retrieve five gems that a student stole from it and distributed to various students. That fungus is actually a nasty flesh-eating substance that kills almost instantly and creates a long list of coed corpses.
TIME WALKER is Tom Kennedy’s one and only film as a director. He isn’t untalented, and his handling of the mummy in motion—it glides across the surface—is ethereal. In fact, the mummy is really cool, and it may have been a mistake for Kennedy to keep it mostly off-screen. He seems to be paying homage to the sci-fi/horror films of the 1940s and 1950s—the mild PG-rated violence and nudity is another indicator—but perhaps giving the material a harder edge would also have provided some necessary pep.
Murphy, squeezing in a rare feature lead between high-profile television gigs (he co-starred in THE WINDS OF WAR not long afterward), is just fine in the hero role and well-matched by LUCAN’s Kevin Brophy as the dope who starts all the trouble and an ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 reunion between Austin Stoker (as a sympathetic doctor) and Darwin Joston (cop). Look for HOTEL's Shari Belafonte as that unusual campus combo of radio DJ and photojournalist.
There’s a lot to like in TIME WALKER, or at least a lot that could be liked, but Kennedy’s turgid pacing and a monster with no personality are the real killers. Nice score by Richard Band (RE-ANIMATOR). New World’s Roger Corman asked for ten minutes to be cut before he released it, and while the last thing TIME WALKER needs is more running time, it’s clear that a few subplots had to be jettisoned.