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The Awakening (1980)

R | | Horror | 31 October 1980 (USA)
An archeologist discovers his daughter is possessed by the spirit of an Egyptian queen. To save mankind he must destroy her.



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1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Corbeck
Margaret Corbeck
Patrick Drury ...
Paul Whittier
Bruce Myers ...
Dr. Khalid
Dr. El Sadek
Dr. Richter
Ahmed Osman ...
Dr. Kadira
Michael Mellinger ...
Leonard Maguire ...
John Matthews
Ishia Bennison ...
Madhav Sharma ...
Michael Halphie ...


An American archaeologist is in Egypt with his pregnant wife, searching for the tomb of a long-lost Egyptian queen. At the same moment he discovers the tomb and opens it's accursed seal, his wife gives birth to his daughter. Years later it transpires that the malevolent spirit of the Egyptian queen left the tomb just as he was entering, and possessed his baby girl. As the truth becomes clear, the archaeologist realizes that he must destroy his daughter in a ceremonial ritual, before she uses her awesome powers to threaten the safety of mankind. Written by Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They thought they had buried her forever!




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 October 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Maldição do Vale dos Faraós  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


There was only about a six day break for Charlton Heston between the the start of shooting of this movie and the end of filming on Heston's previous picture The Mountain Men (1980), that's six days between Heston having a red beard wearing buckskins in an 1830s American Wyoming setting and a contemporary setting in an academic gown at London University lecturing on archaeology. See more »


The shard of glass that stabs Jane in the neck. Before the shard falls from the panel, the pointy end is facing downwards. However, when it stabs Jane, the pointy end is facing upwards. See more »


Featured in Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010) See more »


Ankara Streets
Music by Ali Isfahan (i.e. John Leach
KPM Music
See more »

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User Reviews

Some good ideas but increasingly silly and dreary as it goes on
14 August 2010 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Glancing over the credits of The Awakening, you can't help thinking so many talented people, such an ordinary film. Charlton Heston, director Mike Newell (making his debut), legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff (Black Narcissus, A Matter of Life and Death), editor Terry Rawlings (Alien, Chariots of Fire) and a trio of quality scribes in Ten Rillington Place screenwriter Clive Exton and Don't Look Now co-writers Allan Scott and Chris Bryant. The latter's involvement makes you think that Nic Roeg could have really made something of the material at that time. Certainly this should have been much better than it is. It's not that it's a rehash of Bram Stoker's Jewel of the Seven Stars that served as the basis for Hammer's infinitely superior Blood From the Mummy's Tomb less than a decade earlier – producer Robert H. Solo had remade even better source material with surprising intelligence and success with 1978's Invasion of the Body Snatchers – more that it's a horror film that doesn't chill and which feels like it's only just getting down to business when it ends. It certainly has the kind of budget Hammer could only dream of, but none of the compensating imagination.

It's one of those films which it's obvious the leading man has taken on largely because he turned down a similar film that proved a huge hit and figures that he'd better not miss the boat a second time, in this case Charlton Heston clearly regretting his decision not to make The Omen. Still, at least he has the right cinematic pedigree to convince as an obsessive Egyptologist who unearths a forgotten tomb of a damned queen in the Valley of the Kings only to come to suspect in later years that the evil one's spirit is possessing his daughter, who was stillborn but miraculously came to life at the moment he looked upon the Nameless One's face. Flash forward 18 years, a couple of violent accidental deaths, a failed marriage and one wig later, and Heston's daughter is coming of age and developing some sudden mental health problems while the Nameless One's mummy is suddenly affected by a post-eclipse virus that's starting to eat it away. Reunited with his great discovery, Heston becomes increasingly obsessed with the idea of bringing her back to life as anyone who stands in the way of her reincarnation meets a horrible death… You just know that's not going to end well, but what's surprising is how sloppy it is getting to its drawn out but not especially involving finale. The editing seems surprisingly haphazard in places, with a couple of early deaths very clumsily executed with no proper build up, and only a couple of moments really build up the kind of atmosphere the film desperately needs to work. Other moments, such as one of a sleeping Heston being dragged across a room by unseen hands while Stephanie Zimbalist has what looks like either an asthmatic fit or an attempt to suppress a fit of giggles, are just plain laughable. The attempts to make the stars look younger in the lengthy opening section don't work at all – Susannah York actually looks younger in the '18 years later' section of the film – and Heston is all too obviously giving a performance here, and it's a highly variable one at that, veering from competent to plain bloody awful.

The script suffers from too many cooks and too many half-developed ideas: on the one hand it wants to take its premise seriously, yet it never quite develops ideas that it touches upon, like the possibly incestuous relationship between father and daughter being a repeat of the Nameless One's relationship with her own father or a vaguely alluded to suggestion that it's all in their mind. Instead it relies increasingly heavily on the scraps from bigger and better horror hits. Like The Exorcist it begins at an archaeological dig and has a possibly possessed child, like The Omen it has a neurotic mother and a child who scares zoo animals plus the obligatory would-be horrible death by truck and a woman falling to her death from a window. The end result is a watchable film with some good ideas it doesn't really know what to do with but which becomes increasingly silly and dreary as it goes on. You're much better off sticking with Blood from the Mummy's Tomb.

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