That’ll teach you to turn your back on a professor! – Prof. Cleve
Somewhere in Berlin, in the garage of a derelict castle, Dr. Humboldt (Ruby LaRocca) is holding Kristen Cleve (Darian Caine) and her father (Bruce G. Hallenbeck), a professor of Egyptology, hostage. Unless Prof. Cleve and his daughter aid the evil Nazi Humboldt in resurrecting a mummy they are going to die. But while Humboldt tortures Kristen, Misty Mundae arrives to free the professor and turn the tables on the Nazis. In case the plot didn’t give it away, Mummy Raider (2002) is pure trash cinema.
In the nineties and early two-thousands there existed this middle ground in direct to video films between the exploitation feature and pornography. These films are too earnest in their drama to be “porn parodies”. Mummy Raider is a sincere attempt at creating an erotic variation on what were, at the time, popular themes and properties. Mummy Raider draws on The Mummy (1999), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981) for narrative material on which to hang its attempts at eroticism without importing any of the spooky ambience inherent to these adventures.
The production values in Mummy Raider, like so many of these films, was even lower than in the worst pictures by David A. Prior and David DeCoteau. Brian Paulin, the director and primary creative force behind Mummy Raider, does a decent job with the resources at hand, particularly in the sequence where a topless Misty Mundae guns down a mob of Nazis. Ironically Paulin seems far more adept and comfortable with Misty Mundae’s action scenes than with the prolonged love scene at the end of the film. The sex scene that concludes the film is responsible for a third of the forty-five minute runtime. The primary issue here isn’t so much that it is photographed terribly but that the single dramatic arc of the film has already resolved. Mummy Raider ends as a story after the first half an hour, the minute that a topless Misty Mundae shoots the mummy’s head off with a handgun.
Misty Mundae was at the peak of her fame when I was working at a video store; her micro-budget erotic adventures always rented relatively well. Of course Misty Mundae is an alias, her real name is Erin Brown. But Misty Mundae was her persona in these films (and a highly versatile persona at that). She’s a girl next door type whose popularity wasn’t so much about her beauty as it is about her charm. In all the movies Misty Mundae made like Mummy Raider she was the one thing that kept anyone watching (I’m thinking specifically of the misguided remake of Roxanna that she starred in). Mummy Raider (even with Misty Mundae’s quips, beauty and charm) does not work either as an erotic experience or as an entertainment. The dramatic aspects of the film are hilariously bad but very brief.