Legion of the Dead (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Even though this marks the second time in four years that I've reviewed a film with this title, I think I can state without any equivocation that this version is the best of all the Legion of the Dead films in this millennium. Of course, it would have been nearly impossible for this to be worse than the 2000 film which bears this moniker. That earlier film is burdened by incompetence, failed humor, and pretension - a lethal combo. The newer film is just another goofy grade-B film, billed as follows: "When the mummified remains of an evil Egyptian queen are brought back to life, she resurrects an army of living dead to help fulfill the prophecy that promises her all the powers of the Underworld."

It's not exactly what you're expecting. Erase those visions of pyramids from your mind.

The film's budget limitations didn't permit the director to set up some filming in Egypt or, for that matter, in any location designed to pass for Egypt. The archeologists in this film found the ancient Egyptian tomb in Whittier, California. This would make the evil queen the second most evil being to come out of Whittier, which was once home to Richard M. Nixon. At any rate, the Senior Egyptologist is absolutely convinced that the tomb is authentic, because "preliminary electro-carbon analysis dates the tomb at 2654 B.C."  He does not merely claim something indefinite like "some twenty centuries before Christ", but he can pinpoint the tomb's sealing date at March 21st, 2654 B.C., at 11:03 A.M., Pacific Time. Or maybe it was 10:03. Scientists have made incredible progress with those electro-carbon dating thingies, but they are still not sure whether the ancient California Egyptians used daylight savings time.

Rather than being surprised by the apparently illogical existence of an Egyptian tomb underneath a California forest, the Egyptologist explains that it is a positive confirmation of his theory that the Egyptians had developed "trans-Atlantic trade routes" because "there are just too many similarities between the Egyptians and the Incas." He doesn't seem to be worried that both California and Peru are on the Pacific Ocean. Let's face it, if those Egyptians could mummify bodies in ways that still defy modern science, they could easily sail around Cape Horn.

One of the mummies in the tomb seems to be a queen, and ... well, I suppose you can figure out the rest. There are two things worth noting the rest of the way:

1) When the evil queen comes to life, she rips off her wrapping, is naked underneath, and stays naked for much of the movie.

2) The evil queen seems to be speaking an unknown language, but this presents no problem. A nearby female grad student addresses her in several high school language phrases: "Parlez vous Francais, mon petite momie?", "Koennen Sie Deutsch, frau Mumie, und haben Sie Ihre Papiere, bitte?" Finally, the grad student tries some indecipherable babble and the mummy responds in some comparable gibberish, and the two gals commence to dishing the dirt like college sophomores coming back to school from summer in the Hamptons. I mean they're high-fivin', and callin' each other "girlfriend," and swapping tips on contraception. The grad student says to her professor, "This is unbelievable! She is speaking a language which has been dead for 3000 years." I was thinking to myself, "That's not so unbelievable. In fact I kinda expected it from a woman who died on March 21, 2654 B.C. What I didn't expect is a grad student who knows how to pronounce the words in that language."

The DVD box proudly announces this as "a Paul Bales film," as if that were a major key to pumping up the sales. I pictured the legions of the living, the genre fans who just can't get their fill of Balesmania, all of them about to by-pass this title at Blockbuster until the name "Paul Bales" catches their eyes. "A Paul Bales film? Wow. You bet I'll rent it!" As it turns out, my theory seems to have been a bit cockeyed, since this is the only Paul Bales film, so I think I may have been wrong about the army of Bales addicts renting this title because of the powerful allure of the hypnotic Bales name.

As it turns out, another name on the box did catch my eye. Bruce Boxleitner - ol' Tron himself, and a regular on Bab 5 - appears as a local sheriff. I can't say he'll be bragging about this addition to his resumé, but he did provide a sort of calming, credible presence in this otherwise inexperienced cast.

Oh, let's face it, this isn't a classic movie, but I enjoyed the naked mummy, I laughed at the silliness of it all, and I liked some of the minor characters, like the two stoners who discovered the tomb, so you might get some entertainment out of this flick. The film doesn't take itself seriously, and I genuinely enjoyed watching the thirteen minute featurette about making the movie. The people who worked on the film all seemed to be unpretentious young people having a good time in a silly movie. If you belong to my imaginary army of Paul Bales fans, you can even settle back and listen to his full-length commentary. And the film itself is presented in a pretty decent widescreen anamorphic rendering! That's a lot of features for a small film.



  • Widescreen anamorphic (16x9).
  • full-length commentary
  • 13 minute "making of "featurette



Claudia Lynx is naked throughout much of the movie. Her large breasts have lots of screen time. There are also some dark frontals, and a fleeting glimpse from the rear.

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The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C-, a generally foolish film that I probably enjoyed way more than I should have. The DVD offers a surprisingly comprehensive treatment.

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