Film Monthly Home
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
Directed by Max Nikoff
Written by Max Nikoff
Starring Erica Cruz, Colette Claire, Hollie Overton, Elissa Dowling
Produced by Nola Roeper
When I first slipped this into my DVD player, I thought I’d finally gone completely over the edge. It looked like yet another Ulli Lommel shitheap, with its poor video quality and its heavy dependence on gratuitious violence and gore. Not to mention the necessity of text crawls to advance the plot—it’s standard Lommel to not even bother giving up the plot with things like exposition and character development. No, you see, these things just get in the way of reasonably attractive young actresses getting strangled and rendered, so why bother?
But no…unless “Max Nikoff” is a psuedonym for “Ulli Lommel”—and frankly I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it were—this is just another godawful shitheap of a movie that has absolutely nothing to do with Ulli Lommel and instead with Nola Roeper and the Hollywood House of Horror.
The Hollywood House of Horror, you see, is the company that brought us so many of Ulli Lommel’s syrup of ipecac replacements. And this time, in a truly Lommelesque move, Hollywood House of Horror brings us the based-on-a-true-story story of a serial killer who mummifies the heads of his victims. And of course, not mummifies in the true sense because that would require things like prosthetics and research and money that Hollywood House of Horror clearly does not have. No, instead all we get is strangulations with strips of linen followed by wrapping the head up in said linen. And as a parade of young no-names goes from truck to room and then to corpsing-up, we begin to realize that this is why Hollywood House of Horror does these “based on a true story” serial killing movies.
Because their writers are just full-blown incompetent. First Lommel, and now Nikoff—not a one of their writers can actually make a story and develop it beyond this progression of killings. All “Mummy Maniac” is, start to finish, is just a series of girls getting killed in this exact same room almost the exact same way broken up by some very limited exposition into a character I care absolutely nothing about. Perhaps the worst part was when I was watching it, and for about ten minutes, I forgot the killer’s name until someone said it again.
And frankly, I’m still wondering if Nikoff’s just a false front for Lommel who has taken such a critical beating (and not just from me, either!) that he can’t get a movie out there unless he’s doing it from cover.
Either way, and I can’t believe I have to APOLOGIZE to ULLI LOMMEL on this one, but he’s not the only one out there making truly revolting wastes of time and calling them films. No, Max Nikoff is also an up-and-comer to watch in the field of “Movies No One Should Bother Watching,” and frankly, this just dismays me.
The ending involves flashbacks, and corpses and a whole lot of flashbacks, but really, it doesn’t matter HOW they end it, as long as it ends. I’ve lost all interest in this pathetic waste of plastic long before now, so why even bother to carry on through the end.
The special features include English and Spanish subtitles and trailers for “Mummy Maniac,” “H.P. Lovecraft’s The Tomb,” “Return of the Living Dead 5: Rave to the Grave,” “Zombie Nation,” “Chicago Massacre: Richard Speck,” and an advertisement for Fearnet.
All in all, I’m beginning to reconsider my censure of Ulli Lommel as, perhaps, misplaced. Perhaps the blame for the recent influx of garbage from Lions Gate lies not with the directors and writers of this swill but rather the producer. After all, to look at Lommel’s films and realize that Nola Roeper had something to do with most to all of them is enough to make you wonder. But grander pictures aside, “Mummy Maniac” will waste two hours of your life. Eighty minutes watching it—assuming you even got that far—and forty minutes recriminating yourself for sitting through the whole miserable waste.
Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.
Got a problem? E-mail us at email@example.com