Day 24: Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh (1991)

Director: Dean Tschetter

Starring: Jake Dengel, Shawn Elliott, Susan Fletcher, Jane Esther Hamilton, Pat Logan, Beverly Penberthy, Joe Sharkey

Runtime: 89 minutes

OK, this one may be hard for some people to find. I’m not even sure where I got it (maybe at the local sci-fi/horror independent video store Incredibly Strange Video that went out of business a few years ago?). I only got it because of the ridiculous title and the fact that it is set in Pittsburgh (near my hometown). It is actually shot in Pittsburgh—anyone familiar with the city will recognize certain locations, especially in the Lawrenceville neighborhood.

The title pretty much tells you all that you need to know. It’s an over-the-top movie that doesn’t take itself very seriously. Sometimes the humor falls flat, but other times it made my sides ache with laughter. I’m not even going to try to accurately recount the preposterous story; something about young victims getting their organs removed in strange, heinous ways. Two cops (Jake Dengel and Joe Sharkey) are pursuing the killer, but one of them has some hang-ups about blood (which his fellow cops exploit to comedic effect at crime scenes). He must confront his inner demons to stop the real life one!

Introduce into all this some mystical ancient mummy-like curse, which takes our intrepid detectives to “the Egyptian part of town” (you may wonder whether Pittsburgh really has an Egyptian part of town; no, Pittsburgh does not), and a chain-smoking wife who bears a striking resemblance to Anubis (Beverly Penberthly—personally she is my favorite character), and get equal parts gore and laughs. Oh, there’s also a great scene with enraged Police Chief “Buzz Saw” Ryan (played by none other than Don Brockett, a Pittsburgh actor who played Chef Brockett on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, as well as zombies in a couple of the Romero Living Dead movies) nearly kills our hapless officers.

By the way, although the effects are somewhat corny, they don’t look that bad thanks to the fact that they’re done by Tom Savini. So there you have it—no masterpiece, but enough going for it if you’re looking for something low-budget and fun.


“I am Anubis!” Beverly Penberthy as Erma.


2 Responses to Day 24: Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh (1991)

  1. duplexofthedamned says:

    How did I miss watching this with you? The title is so ridiculous it’s sublime. Thanks for the reminder that Pittsburgh is not only the birthplace of the modern zombie, thanks to George Romero, but of marvelously gruesome special effects, thanks to Tom Savini’s wizardry. Yinzer Pride!!

    • staringatangels says:

      I don’t know…we should try to watch it if we get the chance. Yeah, it’s cool to be able to claim Savini as a Yinzer. He even has an effects school in PA–I’m sure he could have had it elsewhere if he’d wanted to.

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