Time Walker (1982)

Film and Plot Synopsis

When the California Institute of the Sciences receives a sarcophagus discovered deep within the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun, they begin a thorough investigation into the mummy. However, when a student technician X-rays the body, he finds five diamond-like crystals hidden within and steals them. Unfortunately for everyone, the powerful X-ray revives a sinister green fungus that begins to spread. Then officials open the coffin at a university press conference, only to find the mummy missing. Was it a college prank gone awry, or is the Time Walker is alive again?!

‘Time Walker’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Time Walker (1982) Our happy film begins in space… the final frontier. The Earth rises over the Moon’s surface before the camera pans to the ancient country known as Egypt. We are delighted to an opening credit scene full of pyramids, temples, and sand… lots of sand, which gets everywhere.

We meet Professor Douglas McCadden (Ben Murphy) and his assistant, Abdellah (Behrouz Vossoughi), as they explore King Tutankhamen’s tomb. Suddenly, an earthquake strikes the site and a wall collapses, revealing a previously hidden chamber. Inside that chamber, McCadden finds another tomb with some skeletons delicately sprinkled around a sarcophagus. McCadden decides to take the sarcophagus back to the California Institute of the Sciences, Northridge for further study and for some reason Egypt has no problem with that.

We cut to a Boeing 727 landing at an airport in Southern California—home to OJ Simpson—the man who would one day be acquitted of murder. The camera then pans over to C.I.S., Northridge where McCadden supervises the unloading of his prized possession, the sarcophagus of Ankh-Venharis. The campus’ part-time radio DJ/part-time photographer and full-time delight, Linda Flores (Shari Belafonte-Harper) arrives to take some fun pictures of the assembled group.

They then take the sarcophagus to the lab where the Professor’s student assistant/girlfriend, Susie Fuller (Nina Axelrod) helps remove the sarcophagus’ seals and believe me, that girl knows a thing or two about old seals. The decorative inner lid says Ankh-Venharis was a noble traveler. Michael Goldstein (Gary Dubin), who is one of the students, is puzzled as to why they would bury a foreign dignitary with an Egyptian king. Lots of shoulder shrugs abound so they decide to remove the inner lid.

That’s when that student prick/prick student, Peter Sharpe (Kevin Brophy) and his assistant, interrupt the investigation with an X-Ray machine. With all lids off, the team discovers the mummified remains are of a humanoid body covered in an unknown green powder.

McCadden asks Michael to collect a sample, and as he does he gets a little on his wrist where his protective gloves don’t protect. It’s okay though, he wipes it off and no harm, no foul. There’s a scroll with the body, and Susie, ready to do anything to please the Professor, hands him a jar to put that scroll of dedication in.

McCadden excuses the class sans Jack Parker (Robert Random) who is the school’s chief engineer. This pisses off Sharpe for some reason, but he X-Rays the mummy anyhow. After the third picture, Parker notices the X-Ray is set to dangerous levels and literally pulls the plug on the machine. The mummy, Sharpe, the Professor, and Parker all receive ten times the normal dose of radiation because everyone was standing unprotected next to the Mummy as Sharpe X-Rayed the body. Who cares about safety protocols in 1982?

Annoyed with Sharpe’s incompetence, McCadden tells him to beat it and develop the X-Rays he already took. However, when Sharpe does that, he notices five spherical objects above the mummy’s right ear. As McCadden and Susie spend some quality time together cleaning the scroll, Sharpe makes a beeline back to the lab to loot the sarcophagus. That’s when he finds a hidden compartment with an old leather pouch, five flavor crystals, and a triangular radio transmitter/receiver thingy. He steals the crystals and pouch, leaving the thingy because, what the fuck is it? He then X-Rays the Mummy again and slides the new pictures McCadden’s door. Instead of destroying the old set of X-Rays like a normal thief would, he hides them in the transformer room while dodging Parker—even though he has no reason to hide from Parker.

Unbeknownst to everyone, Sharpe’s high dose of X-Ray radiation has brought the Mummy back to life… if he was even dead to begin with. Meanwhile, McCadden asks Susie to be a good girl and run the sample of the green powder over to Dr. Ken Melrose (Austin Stoker) in Pathology.

We cut to the Mummy who now has a bright blue light glowing on his chest—which looks a lot like the crystals Sharpe stole—and he sits up like Michael Myers. We cut to Susie in McCadden’s office the next morning as she shakes him awake at his desk. When they finally examine the X-Rays, McCadden finds that the Mummy wasn’t prepared in the standard manner and the skeleton looks a bit odd, kind of alien-like.

Back in the lab, Susie asks McCadden what that void is above the Mummy’s right ear. They explore the sarcophagus to find the hidden compartment. This time, when they open it, the green powder is now alive, it’s more like green goo, and the triangular radio transmitter/receiver thingy is gone. Susie starts to touch the goo, but McCadden stops her and asks her to let Melrose know something’s different with the fungus.

Meanwhile, Sharpe’s at Drucker’s Jewelers for an appraisal of those hot crystals. Unfortunately, the Jeweler (Alan Rachins) tells him they are worthless. By now, Melrose is at the lab to collect a sample of the new fungus. He quickly realizes it’s the same fungus, but no longer dormant due to some odd radiation that’s hit it recently. He tells McCadden not to let anyone near it as the press arrives to be near it courtesy of the school’s dean, Dr. Wendell J. Rossmore (James Karen). Of course, McCadden wants to cancel the press conference, but Rossmore hangs up on him over the phone.

While this goes on, Michael (remember him) guards the sarcophagus. When he sees the green fungus, he touches it, and it immediately attaches itself to his index finger. Michael screams out in pain and McCadden asks Susie to take him to the campus E.R. She happily agrees because she’ll do anything for her man.

With Michael’s antics distracting the press, Rossmore walks in with his lackey/attorney/assistant/who knows what he does, Dr. Bruce Serrano (Sam Chew Jr.); the campus’ police Captain Willoughby (Clint Young), and another officer who will forever be nameless. Now Melrose is back at his lab to begin his fungal examination and Rossmore takes control of the press conference. When he tells McCadden to unveil the mummy to everyone, they find the sarcophagus is empty.

Rossmore takes McCadden, Parker, and Sharpe back to his office. He and Serrano accuse Sharpe and his frat friends of stealing the mummy before Rossmore orders Captain Willoughby to find the mummy at any cost. McCadden wants to get the local police involved, but Rossmore wants to handle it internally.

By now, the mummy has set up shop in the school’s power plant, and he kills its janitor (Hugh Stanger) when he’s discovered. Back at the Pathology lab, Melrose tells McCadden he can not identify the fungus. When Dr. Hayworth (Antoinette Bower) calls to update Melrose on Michael’s condition, she tells him that the fungus is doubling its size every 65 minutes and it’s using Michael’s tissue for energy to do it. The men pay Michael a visit only to find his right hand in a tray, covered in the fungus halfway up of his forearm. Dr. Hayworth says amputating his arm is the only way to stop it.

Later that night, Sharpe peeps through a window to watch Parker’s girlfriend, Jennie (Melissa Prophet) get dressed. While she puts her bra on, her roommate, Sherri (Greta Blackburn)—who happens to be Sharpe’s girlfriend—catches him in the act. Luckily for Sharpe, he has attached one of the crystals to a gold chain and he gives it to her to get back on her good side. While this goes on, Capt. Willoughby, finds someone has vandalized an electrical supply room and calls Serrano to let him know.

Also while this goes on, McCadden finds himself at the campus radio station, KCIS, to pay Linda a visit during her night shift. He wants to get out the word to all the fraternities that the fungus associated with the Mummy is dangerous and pleads with them to call him, the police or even KCIS with any information.

We cut back to Sharpe, who’s now on a date with Sherri but he has no money. He finds Greg Hauser (Gerard Prendergast) at work and sells him a crystal. Now that he has money, he lets Sherri pick a restaurant for dinner. While at the restaurant, two sleazy fraternity brothers named Stanley (Warrington Gillette) and Bill Vogler (John Lavachielli) find Sharpe. They shake him down for the money he owes them. Sharpe wiggles his way out of it by giving them each a crystal. While this goes on, Sherri’s still happily eating away when she notices the crystal pulsating.

By now, Greg’s done with work and he pays his girlfriend, Ellen Winters (Greta Stapf), a visit while she babysits. Little do they know, the mummy is coming for the crystal, and he doesn’t walk. He glides on air… or stands on a cart while someone out of camera shot pushes him along with gusto! If you can read mummy lips, you can see him mouth the word “Weeeeeeee!”

After some heavy petting, Greg gives Ellen a necklace with the crystal on the end and puts it around her neck. The baby starts crying and when Ellen goes in to check on him, the mummy rips the necklace off her neck leaving a burn mark of the green fungus on her chest.

Back at the hospital, Dr. Hayworth brings in Lieutenant Plummer (Darwin Jostin) to meet Dr. Melrose and Professor McCadden before they question Greg. Greg’s traumatized and in shock. He only tells them one word, “Mummy.” While this goes on, the Mummy returns to the school’s power plant and places the first of five recovered crystals on the triangular radio transmitter/receiver thingy. This causes a power surge in the vicinity and cause many electrical devices to malfunction.

In his office, McCadden finishes translating the scroll and learns that because of Ankh-Venharis’ unusual appearance, the Egyptians though he was a god. When King Tut touched the weary traveler, something burned him which consumed his flesh. (Sound familiar?)

In his lab, Melrose experiments on the fungus with an X-Ray only to find that the radiation causes the fungus to grow. He knows that Dr. Hayworth is about to X-Ray Ellen for broken bones and calls her to have the X-Ray stopped. His call arrives a smidge too late and the X-Ray causes the fungus to kill her when it spreads to her neck and head. Frat boy Stanley (if you can keep track) stalks Susie on campus. While he like likes her, she only has eyes for Professor McCadden. In a last ditch effort to get her to like like him, he gives her his crystal… on a gold bracelet.

Saturday rolls around and it’s time for an Egyptian-themed frat party. You know who is also out and about? The Mummy and he wants another crystal. Frat boy number two named Bill, is desperately seeking Sarah (Michelle Avonne), whom he has the hots for. When she ditches him for a guy in a two-seater, he throws the crystal necklace on the ground and swears off women. Then a gaggle of women pass by and he changes his mind. When he goes to pick up the crystal, the Mummy shows up. He takes it from Bill and tosses him into the upper portion of a wall, breaking every bone in his body, killing him dead.

Excited, the Mummy places the second crystal on his transmitter which produces even more electrical interference. This causes a power outage and Jack Parker, who’s visiting Jennie at her house, leaves to check on the outage. He finds the power drain is at the school’s power plant and goes to investigate. When he finds no danger there, he leaves, but runs into Dr. Serrano and Captain Willoughby on the way out. Jack then heads back to Jennie, only to discover the Bill’s dead body as the frat party does a little parade outside their house. Lieutenant Plummer arrives to investigate but gets no concrete clues. Once he leaves, Serrano tells Rossmore he thinks McCadden stole his own mummy to steal all the glory from Rossmore.

After spending the night with McCadden, Susie wakes him the next morning and the two discover that the crystal in her bracelet has some sort of electrical diagram in it when you shine light through it. It matches the diagram on a piece of alien paper they found with the scroll in the sarcophagus. Then take it to Jack and he confirms it looks like some sort of wiring schematic.

This gives McCadden an idea and he asks Susie to do some research in the Library for him. When she arrives, the place is empty because everyone wants to watch some sort of lunar eclipse. However, the Mummy is outside and he wants Suzie’s crystal. He chases her to a roof top where she half-heartily tried to take the bracelet off. The Mummy takes the crystal as she falls off the library’s roof. She wakes in the hospital to find Lieutenant Plummer is waiting to question her. She says that the mummy is alive and responsible for the deaths on campus, but he does not believe her.

With three of the five crystals in hand, the Mummy steals the transformer that hides Sharpe’s original X-Rays. McCadden and Parker find the room and some mummy wrappings where the transformer was… and Sharpe’s X-Rays. They confront Sharpe about the mysterious X-Ray and he eventually comes clean. He gives McCadden his last crystal and tells them he gave another to Sherri. Since Parker’s girlfriend is Jennie and she is Sherri’s roommate, she is in danger. Sharpe tells Parker that Sherri left the crystal in the bathroom. Parker rushes to save Jennie while McCadden heads to the school’s power plant. The Mummy reaches Jennie first and takes the fourth crystal without injuring Jennie.

While this goes on, McCadden finds the mummy’s triangular radio transmitter/receiver thingy and incorrectly adds his crystal to it. While this goes on, Linda arrives with her camera. Rossmore, Serrano, and Captain Willoughby walk in as does the Mummy. He moves McCadden’s crystal to the correct spot, adds the fifth, and just like the movie The Fifth Element will do in 1997, the system fires up. The Mummy transforms into his true alien self with large black eyes, grey skin, a small nose, and smaller mouth.

Serrano orders Willoughby to shoot it, and as he does, McCadden steps in front of the Alien, taking the bullet to his left shoulder. He falls at the Alien’s feet. Now covered in a blue glow, the Alien reaches out with his hand. As McCadden grabs it, the glow covers him too and they both disappear, leaving only the glowing crystal that was in the Mummy/Alien’s chest alone on the ground. Serrano runs to the crystal and when he grabs it, he screams out in pain. His hand is burned like all the others that touched the fungus for a happy ending.

The movie concludes with the words, “To be Continued,” but after 40 years, I am beginning to think, it might not possibly be continued.

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New World Pictures released Time Walker on November 19, 1982. Tom Kennedy directed the film starring Ben Murphy, Nina Axelrod, and Kevin Brophy.

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