A group of anthropology university students discover the remains of a mummified corpse in a New Mexico desert. A dig site is erected and weeks go by as they unearth the entirely wrapped skeleton out from a shallow grave inside a small cave. The work week wraps up and only the weekend crew stays behind to maintain a presence of study and security at the excavation area, but when one of the students, obsessed with notorious legend of Lord Tezcalipoca, performs a primordial blood ritual with the mummy, the student releases hell on Earth when blood tainted by Lord Tezcalipoca become his blood hungry servants and willing acolytes. The skeleton weekend team has to piece together the carnage before rendering themselves helpless against the vehement and poisonous blood of an once almighty Aztec autarch.
Based off the factual historical figure, Tezcatlipoca, that’s TezcaTlipoca which is left out in the film, who was one of the deities in the Aztec religion. In Charles Pinion’s “American Mummy,” Tezcalipoca has a backstory that reflects the “smoking mirror” God as evil divinity and will one day resurrect from his resting place to lay claim to all. Though listed as a 2014 film, the San Fran cannibal “We Await” director, Pinion, actually shot “American Mummy,” also known as “Aztec Blood,” back in 2011 in California and wasn’t released until approximately three years later in 2014. The director pens the script with “Adventures in Pornolands'” Greg Saleman and, together, the duo bring the inverted Aztec lore soiled in blood and wretched with horrible havoc on the land of the free.
“American Mummy,” from the beginning, conjures up, through perhaps it’s own ominous blood ritual, the final girl trope used in many previous horror films prior to, but Pinion and Saleman do their due diligence in building in many other characters who could, with a sliver hope, be the ones left standing by the end of the ordeal. However, from the beginning like mentioned, we can all count on Becca being the survivor to tell the tale of the Mummy madness. Played by “Dick Night’s” Jennifer June Ross, Becca is an obvious shoe in for saving as she bares the least skin. That’s right. “American Mummy” follows all those slasher rules laid out by Randy Meeks in “Scream.” Those who give a little peek-a-boo to their private parts, Carmen (Esther Canata of “Hired Gun”), Connie (Erin Condry), and even the faculty staff who sits around in a mini-kimono for lengthy scenes, professor Jensen (Suziey Block from another Aztec horror – Aztecsploitation? – film “The Aztec Box”), all put their I’m a survivor of an Aztec deity cards into question. The male cast, well, no a lot of hairy backsides to speak about, but their blatant cowardice and slow-witted qualities might as well put them out to pasture. They round out the cast with Aidan Bristow (“All American Zombie Drug”), Aaron Burt, Jack Grimmett, Rudy Marquez, Peter Marr, Rigo Obezo, and even Greg Saleman as the Russian scientist Dr. Lobachevsky in his best Russian language.
In continuing my reign of beating dead horses, I’ve sure I’ve mentioned that mummy films are few and far in between. These types of undead ghouls, though classic, are not the it undead go-to films. Zombies and vampires reign supreme in that department, churning a feature film out every 10 seconds or something like along those lines. To put in simply, “American Mummy” was an anticipated treat from a genre teeter on the edge of literals mortality, but Pinion’s entry is about as desiccated as the genre itself for at least the first two acts that drown out in heaps of abysmal performances, an effortless progression, and a first act that’s peppered with nudity, which is not necessarily a bad thing. No? However, by the climatic end, I ended up enjoying “American Mummy’s” schlocky and immensely gory posture in a very zero to 60 in 1.8 seconds way. I’m not talking infinitely bloody, but Pinion has a splatter third act that can spellbinding despite the obvious technical goofs that give his movie magic secrets. Also, a healthy amount of background research offers a bit of positive authenticity. The burial mask is beautifully faithful and Tezcatlipoca was an Aztecan God.
“American Mummy” comes courteously from Wild Eye Releasing, Tom Cat Films, and MVDVisual onto a not rated, limited edition triple formatted DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D release! Despite being listed as an all region Blu-ray, the playback is locked on region A for those will region adjusting players. Perhaps the first 3D picture to be shot with a pole cam, the image, without 3D glasses, will be an eyesore. Unfortunately, “American Mummy” does not include a pair, you’ve been warned. If by chance you don’t have a stockpile of 3D glasses, have no fear, the 2D version is available on both formats. The lossy English language DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 frailly packs little punch. The uncleaned dialogue suggests bad mic placement and the distortions run rampant through the dialogue mix while the losing much girth muffled by the soundtrack. Topped with shameful cheap foley, the audio expectation was little more than just a simple let down for a film shot in 3D. Bonus features include a miscellanea behind the scenes, a few outtakes, promotion videos, and the official trailer. I think the lack of 3D glasses is the stinger here. Simple bloodshed gratification saves “American Mummy” from being a widely cursed dreck dumpster fire of a film, but don’t embalm, dry-up, and wrap Charles Pinion’s film for entombment in haste, the filmmaker does have some blood he’d like to spill.
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