The Awakening – Retro Horror from the ’80s

“The Awakening”, is a horror movie from the 1980, which is loosely based on Bram Stoker’s 1903 novel, “The Jewel of Seven Stars”. The movie wasn’t just director Mike Newell’s first step from television to movies, it was also one of Stephanie Zimbalist’s first acting roles for the silver screen.

“The Awakening” has a dramatic plot that revolves around the archaeologist Matthew Corbeck (Charlton Heston), who sets out on a venture to find the tomb of Kara, an ancient princess, located somewhere in Egypt. Matthew finds the tomb, and despite the rumours about a vile curse resting over the tomb, he decides to enter. As he enters the tombs there are no melting faces or insects attacking, in fact nothing forbidding happens. Meanwhile, back home, his wife gives birth to a baby girl, making him a proud father.

18 years later, things take a turn to the worse, as his daughter (Stephanie Zimbalist) begins to behave strange, while dead bodies follows her wake. Matthew soon discovers that his daughter is possessed by the evil spirit of an Egyptian princess. To stop the princess’s sinister plan, he must find a way to obliterate her, and save his daughter at the same time.

Even though the movie hasn’t received high ratings, in recent years, Janet Maslin wrote in her original review in NY Times that it was a booth a spooky and skillfully made horror film, which was eerie enough to made her oversee some of the acting flaws from Heston. She also wrote that Newell managed to fire off the scariest effects, at the right moments.

Since “The Awakening” Mike Newell has continued to direct movies, with titles like “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” in his resume. His current project is a historical drama titled “Guernsey”, which started filming in March 2017. Stephanie Zimbalist continued acting and a couple of years later, she landed the part of Laura Holt in the TV-show “Remington Steele”, where she played against Pierce Brosnan.

Original trailer for “The Awakening” from 1980