TERROR IN THE PHARAOH'S TOMB
While on an archeological dig in Egypt, Rick Banning discovers the most amazing find in history. He tells his best friend, fellow archeologist John Emerson, that he has made an amazing discovery, but that if anything happens to him, John is to deliver a letter to Rick's fiancée Kate Ankers.
Meanwhile, Kate is preparing for her wedding day. On the big day, John arrives and breaks the news of the disappearance of Banning. His letter instructs Kate to take the letter and a map to Lord Darby in London. Emerson returns to Egypt to search for Banning, and Kate asks PI Mike Flannigan to accompany her. Her uncle Mac, editor of the Daily Dispatch sends along intrepid reporter Fay Kendal and photographer Ace Zucco. He also sends Manny Howard to keep tabs on the rowdy Ace.
At the home of Lord Darby, Kate learns the damaged map will not help them find Rick. But the map does give them an idea of what he was searching for--the lost city of Lemuria. Darby had been on an ill-fated expedition to the mysterious city many years ago, an expedition where his father was killed. To find out more about the lost city of Lemuria, Kate, Darby and company question the members of the expedition. Their last hope rests with Sir William Doohan in Scotland. He tells them the story of the lost city. Kate now has no choice but to travel to Egypt to continue the search for Banning.
In Egypt they meet Nadjia, a dancer at the Blue Parrot. She tells them that Banning has gone to Lemuria to try to discover why Nadjia, who has escaped from Lemuria, is being followed. Kate declares they must help Nadjia and her people. However, that evening a mummy, sent by the evil Queen of Lemuria, kidnaps Nadjia.
Flanigan and Darby, fearing Lemuria is too dangerous for women, lock Kate and Fay in their room and head off to Lemuria to save Nadjia and find Banning. But Kate and Fay are not fainting shrinking violets; they quickly get out of the room and follow the men to Lemuria.
Queen Amanetor, the evil ruler of Lemuria, must find a new body every 100 years. Nadjia is to be the new sacrifice. As the Queen prepares for the great ceremony, Darby, Flanigan, Ace and Howard are captured by the guards and thrown into a cell with Banning and Professor Freund. Emerson learns Kate has gone to find Lemuria and rides after her.
As the great ceremony begins the men are prisoners, Kate and Fay are searching Lemuira disguised as handmaidens and Emerson is searching the corridors of Lemuria for all of them.
The husband and wife publishing team of Gary J. Svehla and Susan Svehla, who are the owners of Midnight Marquee Press, Inc. of Baltimore Maryland, produced Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb . Gary J. Svehla executive produced the film, which was and written and directed by Susan. They have been publishing books on film history since 1995, although Gary J. Svehla began publishing his own film magazine at the ripe old age of 13 in 1963. The Svehla's have published over 60 books on film history, authoring several themselves, as well as publishing two movie magazines, Midnight Marquee , the mag Gary started on classic horror films over 44 years ago, and Mad About Movies , a magazine devoted to classic films of all genres.
These two life-long movie fans decided to try to turn their talents to actually making a film--rather then just writing about film history. They are devoted fans of Poverty Row horror films made during the 1930s and 1940s by small independent film studios (Monogram, PRC, Republic, Renown film studios, etc.). These B films were made with minuscule budgets and shot in one or two weeks. The films were made as nothing more than light-hearted entertainment for movie audiences desperately in need of a good time and an escape from the reality of the Depression and two World Wars. But these filmmakers turned out marvelous entertainment with little capital but plenty of creativity.
The Svehlas also wanted to pay homage to the golden age villains of the horrors and could think of no better way than incorporating PD footage from Poverty Row films into their film. So along with local Baltimore/DC actors, Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb stars Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, Jr. (used with permission of their families) along with Peter Lorre, Lionel Atwill, George Zucco and Leo Gorcey. For a little class they threw in a special appearance by Barbara Stanwyck, slumming in Lady of Burlesque .
Susan wanted to do an adventure/horror film that would also appeal to women. Of course most horror films of the 1930s and 1940s always had a token love story and a feisty girl reporter, and many mad scientists were only wreaking havoc because they were trying to resurrect their beloved wife or lover.
Gary and Susan both used films as an escape from the terrors of childhood. Susan especially found escape from cruel schoolmates by immersing herself in movies and books. That's why she will always be a fan of happy endings. Besides, who needs to pay to see misery when we're surrounded by it constantly.
And while movies with likable characters and happy endings are about as popular with film critics as George Bush is with Democrats, well Svehla's main goal was to bring a smile to someone having a bad day. And if that occurs, they'll feel they did a good day's work.
Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb was shot over 18 days, although a 10-day shoot was originally scheduled. Unfortunately, several cast changes had to be made and five days of filming had to be trashed. But things worked out for the best as the new cast members added more talent and dimension to the story. Filming continued into June, and several scenes where shot in a stiflingly hot warehouse on some of the hottest days of the year, which helped with makeup. When we shot our prisoner scenes we didn't have to spray sweat on the actors--it was real.
The majority of the film was shot blue screen with very few actual sets used. The cast and crew are all from the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area.
Chamish is a constantly busy actress working in numerous films, commercials and television shows. Her film credits include Harvesters, Stakes, Crawler, Vampire Sisters , and Limits to Ambition . She is currently working on new film, Her Morbid Desires . She has also appeared in TV documentaries High Priestes s and Dracula Unearthed . Chamish has a grand time playing the evil Queen Amanetor, ruler of Lemuria in Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb . Actresses seldom get a chance for over-the-top juicy roles such as Amanetor and Chamish is a constant delight as the villainous queen.
John Calvin Doyle
Doyle has appeared in many movies filmed in the Baltimore/DC area including Cry-Baby, Dave, Serial Mom, True Lies and Ladder 49 . Most recently he played a lead role in the television pilot Psychic Investigations . Doyle recently contributed to Literary Visions Project , as well as drug free zone spots (Annaheim Group). He appears in the Josh Andrews short film A Little Prick . Doyle is completing work on his own film, The Last Mango . Doyle's character's last name of Emerson is a tip of the hat to best-selling author Elizabeth Peters, whose Amelia Peabody mysteries influenced the story of Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb .
Leo Wayne Dymowski
Dymowski is new to acting, but with is broad "Balamer" accent he is perfect as the wise-cracking photographer Ace Zucco in Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb. Dymowski's character is based on Lee Tracy, who perfected the comedic reporter role in films such as Doctor X (1932) and is named after horror star George Zucco. Dymowski enacted the same role in Midnight Marquee's Terror in the Tropics , a quickie homage to Poverty Row films that was shot in two days during 2005. Terror in the Tropics was made to be shown at the FANEX film convention, but received such a good response, it was released on DVD by Alpha.
Emmer is a talented actress who has done film, stage and television work including Washington Savoyards, Ltd, The Yeoman of the Guard . Emmer also appears in the independent film The Last Mango . She has performed as well in the National Geographic program Troy. Emmer's feisty girl reporter Fay Kendal in Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb is based on the 1930s/1940s roles of filmdom's great broads Rosalind Russell and Glenda Farrell.
Nicole Catrice Keller
Keller began studying classical ballet as a young child. Her interest in performing arts inspired her to study other forms of dance such as hip hop, Jazz and Modern as well as acting and modeling. She has appeared in The Mentor with Rutger Hauer, Americas Most Wanted and the Disney film Step Up, where she portrayed an art student and a dancer. In Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb Keller stars as heroine Kate Ankers. Her character's last name is a homage to the queen of 1930s and 1940s horror films, Evelyn Ankers.
Born and raised in Germany, Prochaska moved to the United States in 1990. His first novel, Limits to Ambition, earned him his Masters Degree in Professional Writing. In addition to acting, writing and filmmaking, he teaches writing at Towson University, Shepherd University and the University of Maryland at College Park. He is a member of the Maryland Ensemble Theatre in Frederick, Maryland, where he was most recently seen as George Jones in Deborah Brevoort's The Women of Lockerbie , and in 2006 in Rude Mechanicals' Troilus & Cressida he played Pandarus. Prochaska directed a film version of his novel and is currently working on his next film but he managed to find the time to appear as Lord Darby in Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb .
Ruckman has a wide range of credits on his professional resume including numerous independent films ( The Last Mango, Littlefoot, Breach and The Intern ), theater ( Crazy for You, Anything Goes, The Lucky O'Leary's ) and commercials as well as television appearances in Cole Conspiracy, The Wire and The District .
Shipley is retired from Andover/North County High Schools where he served as English department chairperson and drama coach. Shipley had a lead role in the Project 21 festival film I Never Liked Mushrooms and recently assisted with Zero Point Productions' debut project Convergence. Currently in pre-production is his Western feature One-eyed Horse . He has also performed as a background actor in Liberty Heights, Species II, Runaway Bride, Pecker and Cecil B. Demented.
Stover has acted in community theatre and eventually made his motion-picture debut in John Waters' Female Trouble as the prison chaplain who escorts Divine to the electric chair. He has appeared in many independent films shot in Maryland including: The Alien Factor, Desperate Living, Fiend, Nightbeast, The Galaxy Invader, Sleepy Hollow High, The Harvesters, Stake s and Vampire Sisters
Vohra is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a double degree in Human Computer Interaction and Creative Writing, as well as a double minor in communication design and multimedia authoring. She has been dancing since the age of three and has been teaching dance for two years. Vohra has appeared in Digging for the Truth " Cleopatra's Maiden" (History Channel); Smokers Only video (Lead Dancer, BET); The Wire " Business Traveler"; 20 Questions (Pilot); Diplomat's Daughter (ABC); Die Hard 4 Reset (Background). Vohra appears as Nadjia, the Lemurian beauty in danger from the evil queen Amanetor.
Professional wrestler Nikolai Volkoff currently resides in North Eastern Maryland. Volkoff has the distinction of being the first man to sell out the current Madison Square Garden. He is a two time WWF Tag Team Champ and the only member of a Tag Team Champ to retire undefeated in the WWF. Volkoff also won the first title that changed hands in Wrestlemania 1, on March 31, 1985. Volkoff appeared in Cindy Lauper's video ode to professional wrestling, the music video for "Good Enough," which was directed by Steven Speilberg. Volkoff appears as a member of the Lemurian expedition in Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb .
(Nikolai Volkoff, Bill Lilttman, Gary J. Svehla and Nikita Breznikov in a scene from Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb)
Breznikoy, formerly a resident of Maryland, has relocated to Washington state. He managed Volkoff for nine years and appeared in Heroes of Wrestling on Pay Per View in October 1999. Breznikov has also managed the Iron Sheik and Ivan Koloff. Breznikov appears as a member of the Lemurian expedition in Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb .
Gary J. Svehla
Gary Svehla has been a teacher at North County high school (formerly Andover/Brooklyn Park) for over 34 years. At the age of 13 he channeled his love of horror films into a small amateur magazine called Gore Creatures . Forty-four years and one name change later, that magazine, now called Midnight Marquee is still going strong. Svehla has written on film history professionally for over 30 years and has authored/edited several books on film. He has also sponsored the FANEX film convention that has been held in Baltimore for 19 years. FANEX brought many film legends to the Baltimore/DC area to speak about their work including Academy Award winning director Robert Wise, Academy Award winning cinematographer Freddie Francis; horror film legend Christopher Lee; Samuel Z. Arkoff; Roger Corman; Val Guest; Janet Leigh; Spanish filmmaker Paul Naschy and many other legends of golden age horror films. Midnight Marquee Press, Inc. has over 60 titles in print and many more new books forthcoming. Svehla hopes to begin work on a book on film noir in the near future.
Subscribing to Auntie Mame's words of wisdom "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving," along with Nike advice "Just do It," Susan Svehla has never let practicality stand in the way of impossible dreams. Movies and books were a childhood escape from bullying peers and the love of the arts has taken the Svehlas on an interesting journey. After they were married over 20 years ago, Susan began helping Gary edit the magazine and then gradually began writing. In 1984 Susan organized the first FANEX convention, and chaired 17 of those 19 film weekends. Although she's quite satisfied with getting Christopher Lee over to the U.S. when everyone said there was no way that would happen, she is most proud of the charity auctions she has organized during FANEX for organizations including HERO, Salvation Army Disaster Relief, Cancer Society and the Arthritis Foundation. Suffering severe rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 15, a 40 hour work week was becoming difficult, so the Svehlas decided to seriously begin publishing books as a way to all allow Susan to work at home and at her own pace. Unfortunately, those 40-hour weeks are now 60 hour/7 day weeks. But it's easier to sneak out of the office for a rest. Although Susan had directed 4 or 5 short comedy films for FANEX, they were not serious and were only created for a chuckle. But cursed with a pathological need to be creative and bored with conventions and graphic design, Susan talked Gary into making a feature-length film over a two-day shoot. The result, Terror in the Tropics, turned out better than expected and they decided to seriously tackle a film project. After a 20 day shoot and 7 months of post production, she's finally pretty happy with the finished product and thinking about the next film where she's considering sending Mac and Ace into 1950s outer space.
Herberger is a veteran camera operator and editor with over 25 years of experience in the film and video industry. A graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema and Television, he has also won numerous awards with his work in the independent film industry. Herberger has worked on a variety of video and film projects including WWF Wrestling, music videos, commercial television spots and political projects, including a stint as the chief videographer at The Harriman Communication Center in Washington, D.C. for more than 13 years. Herberger has just finished directing the critically acclaimed The Game Comes Home a documentary on the Washington Senators baseball team. He is currently working on a documentary series Fantastic Journeys .
Cast (In Order of Appearance)
Rick Banning--Jonathon Ruckman
Professor Freund--George Stover
Manners--Robert Long II
Fay Kendal--Heidi Emmer
Ace Zucco--Leo Wayne Dymowski
Mac McIntyre--Barry Murphy
Manny Howard--Leonardo M. Hearn
Muggs Mcginnis--Leo Gorcey
Ermingarde McIntyre--Polly Lynn
Mike Flannigan--Wayne Shipley
Lola Farrell--Marian L. Clatterbaugh
Kate Ankers--Nicole Keller
John Emerson--John Calvin Doyle
Lord Walter Darby--Reiner Prochaska
Doctor Xavier-- Lionel Atwill
Horton, the Butler--Lucien Prival
Dr. Moriarty--George Zucco
Mr. Jekyll--Peter Lorre
Sir William Doohan--Bill Littman
Count Zarkoff--Nikolai Volkoff
Captain Siodmak--Nikita Breznikov
Col. Stoker--Gary J. Svehla
Bertie the Butler -- Jeff Barker
Hassan--Lon Chaney, Jr.
Riley Chandler--Bela Lugosi
Queen Amanetor - Leanna Chamish
Fatima--Marian L. Clatterbaugh
Lethor - Walt Hendrick
Heti--Rachel Hannah Ellis
Queen's bodyguard--Michael N. Smith
Lemuria Guard--Charlie "Ace" Wittig
Cigarette Girl--Alyssa Oshiro
Photo Girl--Suzanne Busch
(courtesy Edna Lee Dance Studio)
John C. Harvey
Cordelia Paige Justice
Jenna Novik Justice
Brendon J. Kline
Kristy Van Kroof
Linda J. Walter
Bela Lugosi from The Return of Chandu
Bela Lugosi appears courtesy Bela Lugosi, Jr. and Lugosi Enterprises
Lon Chaney, Jr. from Murder in Morocco
Lon Chaney, Jr. appears courtesy Ron Chaney and Chaney Enterprises
Peter Lorre from The Chase
Lionel Atwill from The Sphinx
George Zucco from Midnight Manhunt and Scared to Death
Barbara Stanwyck from Lady of Burlesque
Leo Gorcey from Bowery Blitzkrieg
Written and Directed by
Gary J. Svehla
Cinematography --Jeff Herberger
Composite Sequences --Longthrow Multimedia, Intl.
Composite Aging Sequence --Robert Long II
Music Advisor --Omar Q. Uberman
Music Editor --William Littman
Audio Mix—Jay Carroll
Produced by Gary J. Svehla
Associate Producer-- Wayne Shipley
Editing Consultant--Dr. Leslie Bradley
Second Unit Director--Wayne Shipley
Makeup--Suzanne M. Busch
Mummy Makeup--Karl Hopf
Mummy Costume--Susan Svehla
Still Photography--Beth Cavanaugh
Production Assistant--Donna Schimming
Sound Technician--Steve Schimming
Catering--Grandma Palm's Kitchen
Medical Advisors--Dr. Andrea Marx; David Sandler P.A.-C.
Dedicated to Elizabeth Peters
Thanks to--Anne Arundel Community Television Channel 98, Actors Company Theatre, Sharon Bassett, Marie Bell, Leslie Bradley, Clifton Park Mansion, Communications Arts Department of College of Notre Dame of Maryland, D.C.P. Productions, Edna Lee Dance Studio, Natalie Ellis, Gotham Dist., Steve Kaplan, Barbara Mertz, Caroline Munro, Greg and Kathy Novik, Parker & Pallett, LLC, Party Animalz Farm, Debbie Rochon, Patty Shipley, Georgia Uklayer, Minnie Vohra, Gary Wheeler
No Animals were injured during this production, only actors.
Our intrepid adventurers Ace Zucco and Mike Flannigan from Terror in the Tropics return for another exciting quest in Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb . Ace Zucco has a new partner, reporter Fay Kendal, who is more than a match for the rowdy photographer. Daily Dispatch editor Mac sends them on assignment accompanying his niece Kate as she tries to find Rick Banning, her fiancée, an archeologist who disappeared while working in Egypt. A letter from Rick directs them to Lord Darby in England. The trail takes them from London to Scotland and finally to Egypt where they discover more than they bargained for as they search for the lost city of Lemuria.