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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tales from the Darkside: The Grave Robber starts in the depths of an
ancient Egyptian tomb where archaeologist & thief Dr. Harold Gromley
(Daren Kelly), his female assistant Aileen (Polly Draper) & local
Egyptian guide Ahmed (Ed Kovens) are about to break into in the hope of
finding & stealing valuable artifacts. There they become trapped as a
Mummy (Arnold Stang) awakes & kills Ahmed, he claims that due to a
curse he has to kill anyone who enters the tomb but he is bored of
being a Mummy & wants to prolong the death's of Aileen & Harold who
desperately try to stall him as they search for a way out...
Episode 6 from season 4 this Tales from the Darkside story originally aired in the US during November 1987, directed by Jeff Schiro one has to say The Grave Robber is one of the best episodes from this very variable series. The script by Harvey Jacobs & Donald Wollner starts out like some traditional Mummy film set inside an Egyptian tomb where a curse makes a murderous bandaged Mummy come to life but then turns into a fairly light hearted quirky comedy spoof as the Mummy turns out to have a personality, that he can talk & can be bargained with. There's some amusing dialogue here & the whole set up & story is rather let field & against all expectations that it works very well. Scenes of the Mummy & Harold playing strip poker for instance are hard not to like & there's even a pretty good twist ending although the final shot of Harold crying by himself trapped in the tomb is a little downbeat & at odds with the generally amusing & light hearted nature of The Grave Robber until that point.
Like almost all Tales from the Darkside episodes The Grave Robber is set in a single location, an Egyptian tomb but it's well realised with good production values. The Mummy & zombie special effects are very good although the episode is played more for laughs rather than scares. The opening episode of the fourth season Beetles (1987) was also about Egyptian curses & the like but The Grave Robber is sufficiently different & the far superior episode. The acting is fine from the usual small cast.
The Grave Robber is one of the best Tales from the Darkside episodes, it's quirky, distinctive, fun, amusing & takes a well used horror theme & does something different with it. The best twenty odd minutes of the fourth season so far by the proverbial mile.
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