When a movie runs just 76 minutes long plus opening and closing credits (call it a generous 70 minutes of actual movie), it’s a major tip-off that the movie has been sliced and diced so much that its primary goal is no longer art, but rather to make as much money back as possible for the producers. Such is the case with the Nick Quested horror film “Seven Mummies”, about a group of escaped cons who stumble across an old Wild West town in the middle of the desert while trying to make it to the Mexican border. As it turns out, the town is cursed, and our new arrivals, though tough cons they may be, are about to get a taste of supernatural toughness. And Billy Drago. Let’s not forget Billy Drago.
As per horror movie rules, the cons must first stumble across the Old Man Who Knows Stuff, who in true Old Man Who Knows Stuff fashion, lets the cons and their kidnapped correctional officer Lacy (Cerina Vincent) in on the town that rains gold. Or gold that rains town. Or some such. Let’s just say there’s a lot of gold a-waitin’ some poor souls, and our cons, being the lowest common denominator filth that they are, wants a piece of those shiny gold. But wait, not all the cons are bad guys. Handsome Travis (Billy Wirth) seems to be a swell enough fellow, and even claims to not be guilty of the crime he was convicted of. And of course there’s lovely Lacy, who was taken at gunpoint by con alpha male Rock (Matt Schulze, “Torque”).
It goes without saying that “Seven Mummies” is blissfully devoid of logic. In fact, if you didn’t know better, you’d think Lacy was one of the gang considering how little effort she makes (as in, none) to extricate herself from her captors. For that matter, for a group of convicts that are, presumably, sex-starved, it’s amazing how little interest they have in the pretty Lacy, who spends the first day of captivity in a tight top drenched in sweat as the party wanders about a desolate, sizzling landscape. In real life, of course, men who have already murdered another correctional officer would have little qualms about spending half an hour ravaging the lovely little darling. Then again, when our escaped cons run across a Western town that appears to quite obviously be stuck in time, their reaction is to go to the saloon and enjoy themselves rather than, you know, wonder what the heck is going on.
As it turns out, the townspeople are all zombies when the sun goes down. Or maybe they’re vampires. Wait, maybe they’re werewolves because they growl like wild animals when they’re about to attack. Actually, I’m a little confused what the townspeople are supposed to be. Some of them just stand around and shuffle about like zombies as they’re shot repeatedly, while others leap on you and bite like vampires. And others look just fine to me. Whatever they are, it’s a good thing our anti-heroes are armed with guns that never have to be reloaded. Thank God for small miracles, I always say.
You really don’t find a movie as silly and awful as “Seven Mummies” very often, even from the bin of direct-to-video cheapie horror. The script by Thadd Turner is atrocious, and the actors are worst. Even the usually charming Ms. Cerina Vincent (“Cabin Fever”) seems to be phoning it in. And while Vincent and Wirth are playing it low key, everyone else keeps mistaking screaming vulgarities for acting. Part of the fault is Turner’s script, which spends more time explaining its own muddling plot, which takes a lot of ‘splaining considering that the movie has been chopped to pieces, making it all but incoherent.
Director Nick Quested actually seems to have a handle on things early on, but once things move to the town, it’s all downhill from there. Or, to be more exact, it’s all downhill once the cons run into Danny Trejo, playing the Old Man Who Knows Stuff. Trejo is in his usual not-acting-as-acting form, which is to say Trejo would be considered embarrassing if I ever considered him much of an actor to begin with. Though to be fair, Trejo is probably the movie’s best character, if for no other reason except that his Old Man Who Knows Stuff is mildly entertaining. Mildly.
Make no mistake; I am not judging “Seven Mummies” by criteria beyond its ability to meet. As a purely independent, low-budget horror (which seems to be shot on digital video, if I’m not mistaken), “Seven Mummies” could still have been much, much better. The film’s highlight is a free-for-all between the living and the dead in the saloon about halfway into the film. I use the word “highlight” because, frankly, that’s the only semi-intelligible sequence in the whole film, and even so it’s poorly shot, edited, and wildly embarrassing. It doesn’t get any better from there, unfortunately.
Without belaboring the point too much, one should avoid “Seven Mummies” at all cost. It’s a bad movie, even by the lowly standards of its own genre. Which is a shame, because the movie has a cast that could be considered A-list in the world of B-movies. Cerina Vincent, Matt Schulze, Danny Trejo, and the always creepy Billy Drago, are known names. Of course, the film being just 76 minutes soaking wet might have something to do with its poor quality. Then again, maybe I’m being much too generous.
Nick Quested (director) / Thadd Turner (screenplay)
CAST: Matt Schulze….Rock
Danny Trejo….The Apache