of the SORCERESS
(Best viewed at a resolution of 1280x1024)
The WORLD PREMIERE
was held Halloween weekend:
Friday-Saturday-Sunday, November 1-2-3, 2002
at the historic Empire Theatre in downtown Grand Forks!
Sarah Davis has the title role of history graduate student Diana Alexander, who is possessed by the spirit of a 1st century B.C. Egyptian sorceress named Artemis of Alexandria. Here kneeling before her mystical divining bowl, she chants an ancient magical spell from a papyrus scroll. The dominating spirit of the original Artemis (played by Geneva Body) is faintly visible over her.
Screenplay by Mary Novacek
Based upon a story by Mary Novacek and Christopher P. Jacobs
BRIEF PRODUCTION RECAP:
After shooting The Threat of the Mummy in summer of 2001, and especially after its theatrical premiere of in April 2002, many cast members were anxious to do a sequel, but there was no script. Screenwriter Mary Novacek agreed to write a screenplay from an incomplete story treatment by Threat of the Mummy creator Christopher Jacobs, and had a first draft done within a couple of weeks. By the end of the first week of May, her screenplay was in its fifth draft and ready to start production (with a few additional rewrites throughout the month).
Shooting began the second week of May and, after a two-week pause, continued throughout all of June and July in various locations in or within a 30-mile radius of Grand Forks. Principal photography was completed near the end of July, at which time editing was already 20% completed (including a teaser trailer that is now tagged onto the end of video copies of The Threat of the Mummy).
By the first week of August, about 60% of the editing was completed (including music scoring) when a hard disk in the 300-gig Raid suddenly failed, essentially losing everything (only about seven minutes of edited footage had been backed up, mainly earlier roughcuts of brief scenes). The original digital tapes all had to be re-transferred to the computer and by the middle of September much of the lost material had been re-edited (and most of that safely backed up to CD and/or external firewire hard drives this time), but the IBM Deskstar hard drives are still acting touchy, corrupting files, and Windows 2000 Pro still likes to crash whenever Adobe Premiere decides to freeze up, which is not infrequent during intensive editing sessions. The relatively new JVC Super-VHS video recorder used for duplication submasters also broke down in early October. No doubt it all must be due to either the vengeance of the sorceress or the curse of the mummy!
Nevertheless—despite various fights with the computer, the final scene was finished late Friday, October 4, and the first cut of the movie exported to a digital tape master on Saturday afternoon, October 5. The World Premiere was once again scheduled to be at the historic Empire Arts Center in downtown Grand Forks. It took place using the movie’s second cut on Halloween weekend, Friday through Sunday, November 1-2-3, preceded by a Halloween night special return engagement of The Threat of the Mummy on Thursday, October 31. The Threat of the Mummy showing was the final 106-minute cut released on video, slightly different from the version shown in April of 2002. A slightly re-edited but still 92-minute version of Vengeance of the Sorceress (its third cut) also closed out the first annual Forx Film Fest at the Empire Theatre on Saturday, December 14. It also showed at the third annual Fargo Film Festival on Friday morning, March 7, 2003. The VHS video release of Vengeance of the Sorceress (including trailers and outtakes) was in Grand Forks Blockbuster Video outlets shortly before Christmas, and there is a possibility of both movies eventually coming out on DVDs. Both movies can be purchased at the Empire Arts Center, with a percentage of the receipts benefiting the Empire.
Meanwhile, at the cast party for Vengeance of the Sorceress, the concept for yet another movie took shape, but this time not a sequel. Within about six weeks, not only had a script been completed, but preproduction and actual shooting had started on the ambitious (but soon to become trouble-plagued) Working Nights, featuring many of the same cast members but completely unrelated to the other two pictures in its urban crime drama story. (A trailer optimistically predicting a summer 2003 release is included on tapes of Vengeance of the Sorceress.)
“It did not die… but things have changed!”
“Beware the power of a woman scorned…”
“VENGEANCE OF THE SORCERESS …fall under her spell!”
The sequel to The Threat of the Mummy picks up a few months after the first movie ends. Tammy Gardner has since left the university for a better-paying job after receiving her degree. Her boyfriend, Professor Casey Wallace, stayed behind at his position but has inexplicably vanished from sight at about the time the story begins. Within days of his disappearance, several others involved in the unwrapping and reanimation of the mummy known as Caesarion (the plot of the first movie) also are reported missing. Archaeology grad student Diana Alexander, meanwhile, has been acting increasingly strange, while her long-suffering boyfriend Geoff now has a peculiar new motivation in life. When Hailey, the girlfriend of new grad student Marc vanishes without a trace, Marc tries to investigate on his own. Diana’s old friend Rachael convinces her advisor (and her own very close personal friend) Professor Bob Hobson to join forces with Marc and other old friends Nikki (another grad student) and Selene (a newspaper reporter back in town for a visit) so they can learn what is going on. Selene, unbeknownst to anyone, is the spitting image of the ancient sorceress Artemis of Alexandria, whose spirit Caesarion had called forth from the black void to inhabit Diana’s body in the first movie. This time Artemis/Diana is the one who calls forth Caesarion from his mummy wrappings to help her. It probably isn’t giving away too much to say there is some body-switching going on in this plot. In short, Artemis is back and she’s not happy! (We find out just why during a flashback to ancient Roman Egypt, which affords viewers the chance to brush up on their ancient Greek.)
Once again the plot blends comedy, drama, and thrills, but viewers should find that Vengeance of the Sorceress works in a bit more action and suspense than its predecessor, with its brisk 92-minute running time somewhat faster-paced than the 106-minute original. While it’s still essentially a high melodrama, it’s also often a darker movie (literally as well as figuratively) with most scenes shot at night. (The climactic Dance of Isis, in fact, was actually shot during a full moon by firelight and flashlights on the night of the summer solstice, June 21st.) The background music is much more prevalent than in the first movie. Although a few original themes are repeated from The Threat of the Mummy, Vengeance of the Sorceress was scored largely from a commercially recorded selection of dramatic movie mood pieces using Adobe Premiere’s built-in (and extremely useful) software plug-in from Sonic Desktop called “SmartSound.” Many viewers have expressed that they prefer the sequel to its predecessor.
Sarah Davis returns and now has the title role as Diana/Artemis, with Kelly Clow returning as Geoff, the boyfriend she has completely under her control and who now exhibits his darker side.
Naturally, Darin Kerr reprises his role as Caesarion the mummy. The ensemble cast stars Jennifer Leroux as Rachael, Christian Clapp as Nikki, Walter Ellis as Professor Bob Hobson, Geneva Bondy in a dual role as both the new character Selene and the ancient Artemis (the role she played in the first movie), Christopher P. Jacobs as new grad student Marc, Leslie Hanson as his Tarot-reading girlfriend Hailey, with Sarah Phillips as TV reporter Pam Weiser, Darci Delage as TV talkshow host Darci, Lori Barrett as Lori, Jen Knutson as Jen, Kevin Young as Ted Arnold the TV news anchorman, Dave Reiels as Police Chief Richards, and a special guest appearance by Dawn Kidle as Tammy Gardner.
- MOVIE CREDITS (Cast and Crew)
- FRAME ENLARGEMENTS from the actual movie
- TRAILERS (mainly in RealPlayer format for usability with 28k dialup connections)
30-second spot A - RealPlayer (179K)
30-second spot B – Realplayer (180K)
60-second Trailer A (supernatural and cast emphasis) – RealPlayer (308K)
60-second Trailer B (mystery and suspense emphasis) – RealPlayer (310K)
2-min. 40-sec. Trailer – RealPlayer (716K)
- ANCIENT GRÆCO-EGYPTIAN SPELL (uses the Symbol font included on most computers)
- PAPYRUS MANUSCRIPTS (some of which were used as props in the two movies)
- OTHER REGIONAL MOVIES produced on digital video for embarrassingly low budgets
Geneva Bondy has a dual role as Selene, a childhood friend of Diana, Rachael, and Nikki, and as the ancient sorceress Artemis of Alexandria, who becomes adept at body transfer now that Caesarion has brought her into the 21st century. She is able to make her spirit to travel outside her body as a sort of greenish vapor, and then force herself into another body, seen here in an animated .gif (which at 2 MB may take some time to load).