Sometimes you'll see a movie and think "Why were they given money to make this?". Talos the Mummy is one of those films. To give you some perspective, I usually enjoy watching "bad" movies - they can be quite funny, in a masochistic kind of way. Well, Talos is currently top of my list of punishments - I want to watch Universal Soldier: The Return again to feel clean!
To spare you all from needing to see this, I'll give you a run down of the story.
On a dig in Egypt, Sir Richard Turkel (Christopher Lee, in a 5 minute cameo) uncovers the tomb of Talos, an evil prince who performed unspeakable experiments on people. Doing so, releases his curse, resulting in the death of Turkel and his two partners, involving special effects that Ed Wood would have been proud of. All that is left is Turkel's log book, warning people of the curse of Talos.
Cut to several decades later, and Turkel's granddaughter, Sam (Louise Lombard, better known for The House of Elliott) and several colleagues are digging up the site, having recently discovered the location of Talos' tomb. One of the team, Sam's fiance, dies in a tragic accident during the opening of the tomb, bringing a sour note to the success of the dig.
Months pass, and the wrappings and sarcophagus of Talos go on display at a museum, just in time for the first four planets of our solar system to come in to alignment. However, before the show can open, a security guard is murdered and the wrappings are stolen.
A series of murders follows, as Talos attempts to collect the reincarnations of his organs so that he might become whole again, and conquer the world.
What is interesting about Talos, is the effect used for the mummy - instead of the tried and true, walking, withered corpse, we have animated bandages whisking around the floors, walls and ceiling killing people and stealing their organs. Fortunately, if you want to see this you can use the chapter index to avoid most of the story.
During the opening sequence Talos had me somewhat confused - here is a film being presented in full frame, and yet the people in shot seem to be streteched vertically, as though the source were widescreen. This effect didn't last much more that a minute or two, when teh actors started to look like normal 4:3 ratio actors should. Disconcerting, nonetheless.
As for the quality of the material, the print used in the transfer of Talos is a little grainy, but I'd expect that to be a product of the filmstock used. Black levels vary from nice deep blacks, to very dark browns. Blacks aside, contrast is good and colours are vibrant or subdued depending on the requirements of the scene.
Minor aliasing can be seen in some of the sharp angles if you're looking for it, though the transfer seems to be free of noticeable compression artifacting - impressive given the grain at some points.
On the audio front, there's not much to write home about - we are given a fairly plain Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack. The soundstage is firmly planted in the centre, with minimal positioning of effects. Dialogue is clear, and easily distinguishable over the mostly-quiet score. Basically what you should expect from a stereo horror soundtrack.
There's little I can say in favour of this disc, but that's due to the film, and not the disc itself. The DVD we've been presented with is what I would consider to be the minimum for minor releases (and you can't get much more minor that Talos.) The picture is reasonable, and the sound is representative of it's origins. As for extras, anything I'd want to know about Talos, I'm sure they wouldn't want to tell me.
At least the bandages, sorry, "the wrappings", were kind of cool.