Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Manor on MoviesAlthough I watch [tons] of TV, I am proud to say I’ve never seen an episode of Friends, Seinfeld or most of the other blackbuster VHF series such as Dallas and Dynasty. Likewise, despite having taken in hundreds of films in the science fiction/fantasy category, it is with great pride that I declare I have not eyed a single foot of ET, nor have any intention of ever doing so — particularly in light of what a disappointment Drew Barrymore has become in recent years.

Monsters and spaceniks are supposed to WREAK HAVOC, flicking HO trains representing the Tokyo subway into nearby skyscrapers and boiling Earthlings’ eyeballs with plutonium rays, not making friends with towheaded brats and riding bicycles! (If the fantasy element is involved — e.g., the cool Sinbad movies — carnage should be supplemented with enormously endowed temptresses in skimpy, plunging blouses, coming within a millimeter of popping their tops as they bop.) Which brings us to our featured flick, TIME WALKER (1982).

Where else can you witness lovely-but-snobby Shari Belafonte as a campus radio deejay who cues records for broadcast by lowering the single turntable’s dust cover (!), or hear not-quite-as-attractive-but-equally-snobby Antoinette Bower label a disease “dellatropic”? You get that and a whole lot more in director Tom Kennedy’s smash flop, TIME WALKER. Unfortunately, neither filly comes remotely close to bouncing out of her bra.

Professor Doug McCladden (Ben Murphy) of the California Institute Of Sciences has unearthed the mummy of Ankh-Venharis, much to the delight of CIS prez Wendell Rossmore (M-O-M superhero James Karen) who sees the opening of the sarcophagus as one big photo-op. It’s too bad student X-ray technician Peter Sharpe (Kevin Brophy) has screwed the whole scenario up by zapping Ankh with ten times the plutonium prescribed. See, the juice set Bandage Boy loose...and he’s ticked off because sleazeball Sharpe has pilfered five crystals and a whattzit out of A-V’s coffin and spread the stones all over campus to pay off debts and boff a babysitter.

While the miffed mummy is in the midst of the de rigeur murderous rampage, Prof “Walk, Don’t Run” DMC susses out the situation: A-V is not some fallen pharoah, but rather an interplanetary traveler with a virus, entombed by the Egyptians as a quarantine precaution until the radiation rivet revived him; and the goodies Ankh’s retrieving are components of a transmitter allowing him to contact his point of origin.

Hmm, let’s see. We’ve got a 1982 pic in which an extra-terrestrial strives to “phone home.” Nope, doesn’t sound the least bit familiar. And that part late in the proceedings where there’s a tight close-up of the alien touching one finger to that of the human amidst a burst of light sure doesn’t bring to mind the poster artwork for any particular Spielberg picture made prior to INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984).

It’s an M-O-M policy NOT to flat-out reveal an ending...but...let’s just say TIME WALKER follows a grand tradition practiced in 1967’s THEY CAME FROM BEYOND SPACE and several other sic-fi sizzlers. The premise: When it is learned alien visitors had a “good cause” motivating their reign of mass murder and enslavement, the lead Earthlings cheerfully accept the genocide as a minor incovenience for which the unapologetic slaughterers should not be begrudged. (After all, the [leads] didn’t suffer any personal losses; screw everybody else.)

So what if A-V had the coroner working triple-time and if goo from Ankh’s coffin brutally eroded away a convulsing teen’s arm? They were only college kids, not free cable-TV installers, the nice folks who give out sample half-packs of smokes on city street corners or any other persons of actual worth. If you ask me — and even if you don’t — T-WALKER should have been a weekly series with Venharis wandering from campus to campus, indiscriminately mutilating a bare minimum of a half-dozen collegians per episode.

“Hey, Jeffrey, how’d you do on the Poly Sci midterm? I aced it then went to this kegger and aaaaaaaaaaaaah” SPLATTO! Yeah, yeah, and then, and then the mummy could tear the nighties off all those stuck-up sorority girls and, and, and make them oil-wrestle! That would be great. I’d buy every product they advertised — even if they were sponsored by Tampax!

In an exclusive M-O-M interview, Kevin Brophy expressed nothing but fond memories about working on Kennedy’s classic. Claimed Kev, “TIME WALKER was a turning point in my career: The phone stopped ringing; producers quit calling; my agent — my agent! — ditched me like a White House intern. It was/is all very grim.

“I just didn’t have any direction. As I recall, the director was a former cinematographer (who) looked a lot like Jerry Garcia circa 1975. I was just foundering my way through. I even considered a name change in the credits.”

Summing up his adventure with the fungusy pharoah, Brophy echoed the rapturous enthusiasm shared by each cast member we contacted: “I couldn’t get outta that show fast enough!”

What more of a ringing endorsement do you need? Check out TIME WALKER pronto. I’m sure you’ll find it absolutely dellatropic!!!

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