Warner Bros. Entertainment Wiki
Warner Bros. Entertainment Wiki

The Awakening is a 1980 British horror film directed by Mike Newell and starring Charlton Heston, Susannah York, and Stephanie Zimbalist. It is the theatrical debut film of Newell. The Awakening is the third film version of Bram Stoker's 1903 novel The Jewel of Seven Stars, following 1970 television adaptation as The Curse of the Mummy for the TV series Mystery and Imagination, and the 1971 theatrical film by Hammer, Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (in which Ahmed Osman also appeared). It was released by Warner Bros.

Another adaptation of Stoker's novel was released directly to video in 1997 under the title Bram Stoker's The Mummy.


The film opens on an Egyptian archaeological dig in 1961.[3] Three of the main characters are introduced: Matthew Corbeck (Heston), his wife Anne Corbeck (Jill Townsend), and Jane Turner (Susannah York). Matthew and Jane are discussing their efforts to uncover the tomb of an ancient Egyptian queen. Anne is distressed by the relationship between her husband and his assistant. It is later proved that her distress is justified.

Corbeck and Turner discover a long hidden tomb that bears an inscription: "Do Not Approach the Nameless One Lest Your Soul Be Withered."[4] They continue on to discover the burial chamber of Queen Kara. As Corbeck prepares to breach the entrance, Anne begins a painful premature labour. Corbeck and Jane return to the camp and find Anne lying on the floor in a trance-like state. Corbeck takes her to the hospital and leaves her there so that he can return to the dig. Anne's pregnancy ends in stillbirth. As Corbeck and Turner open the mummy's sarcophagus, the stillborn infant is restored to life.[5][6] Corbeck neglects his wife and daughter Margaret, and Anne takes the baby and leaves him.

Eighteen years later, Corbeck is a professor at a British university and married to Jane. Corbeck learns that traces of bacteria have been found on the mummy that threaten to destroy it. Corbeck tries to have the mummy brought back to England because he disagrees with the methods used by Egyptian professionals to preserve it. One of the specialists opposing Corbeck is killed in a freak accident, allowing Matthew to transport the mummy to England.

Margaret (Stephanie Zimbalist), now eighteen (the age of Queen Kara when she died), goes to England to meet her father against her mother's wishes. Corbeck and Jane tell Margaret all about Kara, the violent murders she committed, and the myth that she could reincarnate herself.

Corbeck's obsession with Kara grows and Margaret exhibits personality changes. People who resist Matthew and Margaret mysteriously and violently die. Margaret begins to notice the changes in herself and believes she is the one responsible for all the deaths. While visiting Kara's tomb, in Egypt, she and her father discover the Canopic jars that contain Kara's organs. Corbeck secretly brings the Canopic jars back to England. Corbeck wants to try the ritual to resurrect the ancient Queen. He believes that the spirit of the queen possessed his daughter at the moment of her birth, and that she intends to resurrect herself through the girl's body. He proposes that the only way to save Margaret, who has fallen into a coma, is to perform the ritual over Kara's mummy in the British Museum. He realises too late that Kara tricked him, and that the ritual enabled her to completely take over Margaret's body. The reincarnated Queen kills Corbeck, her future intentions unknown.[5]


  • Charlton Heston as Matthew Corbeck: Corbeck is a fictional British archaeologist and the main character in the film. Corbeck is obsessive about his work[6] which leads to the end of his marriage with Anne.[4] Heston has been criticised for his inability to produce a convincing English accent.[5][6]
  • Susannah York as Jane Turner: Corbeck's trained assistant. According to Anne, Jane "worships" Corbeck[4] and has been referred to by critics as "kittenish".[6] Later we find out that Jane and Corbeck get married after Matthew and Anne divorce. In the latter part of the film, Jane becomes concerned with Corbeck's obsession with Kara and the reincarnation ritual. She dies as the result of an accident which takes place as she tries to destroy the organs.
  • Jill Townsend as Anne Corbeck: Corbeck's wife, who feels neglected by her husband and ends up leaving him because of this. She tries to convince Margaret to not visit her father by saying "Your father has a wife. He deserted us for her".[4]
  • Stephanie Zimbalist as Margaret Corbeck: Matthew Corbeck's daughter is one of Zimbalist's first acting roles. Soon after her character's eighteenth birthday, she starts feeling an unexplainable urge to visit her father. As she becomes possessed by Kara she begins to do uncharacteristic things such as murdering people who get in the way of the ancient Queen.[5] Zimbalist has been critiqued for not being skilled enough to play both the roles of Margaret and Kara with subtlety[3] and her creepiness near the end of the film is created more by her makeup rather than her acting.[6] She is however, praised at being much better at performing the lighter scenes as Margaret.[6]
  • Patrick Drury as Paul Whittier: Corbeck's assistant in the latter part of the film and Margaret's love interest.
  • Bruce Myers as Dr. Khalid
  • Nadim Sawalha as Dr. El Sadek
  • Ian McDiarmid as Dr. Richter
  • Ahmed Osman as Yussef
  • Miriam Margolyes as Dr. Kadira: Anne Corbeck's nurse during the birth of Margaret.
  • Michael Mellinger as Hamid
  • Leonard Maguire as John Matthews
  • Ishia Bennison as Nurse
  • Madhav Sharma as Doctor
  • Chris Fairbanks as Porter
  • Michael Halphie as Doctor


The film was announced in July 1979.[7] Filming took place in Egypt and England.

Director Mike Newell later said the production of the film was "utterly terrible" although he 'adored' working with Heston. Newell recalled about Heston, "He's a great big [star]. 'He would come to all the rushes. He was at rushes every day." Newell would also remark that he found the final cut of the film to be "miserable in the sense that it got recut by a very, very nice man, Monte Hellman..."[8]


The Awakening earned $2,728,520 when it opened in theatres in 1980 and has a lifetime gross of $8,415,112.[2]

Home media

The film was released on DVD by Studio Canal on June 25, 2007. It was later released by Warner Bros. Digital Distribution on June 14, 2012.[9]


TV Guide awarded the film 1/4 stars, commending the film's set design, cinematography, and soundtrack. However they criticized the film as being "predictable, unrelentingly dull, and padded with tedious Egyptian travelog footage".[10] The Terror Trap gave the film 2.5 out of 4 stars, writing, "Subtle and slow paced, this might not appeal to all tastes, but is certainly worth a watch, particularly to see sci fi hero Heston in an uncharacteristically subdued terror performance."[11]


  1. "An occult film for Heston" (19 September 1979), p. 23. Retrieved on 20 May 2019. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Awakening at Box Office Mojo
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cowie, Susan D. and Tom Johnson. The Mummy in Fact, Fiction and Film. North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc., 2002. Print.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Awakening. Dr. Mike Newell. Warner Brothers, 1980. VHS.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Muir, John Kenneth. Horror Films of the 1980s. North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2007. Print.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Maslin, Janet. "Film: 'The Awakening.'" The New York Times. 31 Oct. 1980. Web. 8 Mar. 2012.
  7. The man who came to film The Guardian 18 July 1979: 10.
  8. "Interview with Mike Newell". DGA.
  9. "The Awakening (1980) - Mike Newell". Allmovie.com. Allmovie. Retrieved on 7 September 2018.
  10. "The Awakening - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV Guide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved on 7 September 2018.
  11. "The Awakening (1980)". Terror Trap.com. The Terror Trap. Retrieved on 7 September 2018.

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at The Awakening (1980 film). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Warner Bros. Entertainment Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

v - e - d
Warner Bros. Pictures 2019.png
1916: Robinson Crusoe

1918: My Four Years in Germany · Kaiser's Finish
1919: Open Your Eyes · Beware! · Speed

1920: The Tiger Band · The Lost City · Parted Curtains

1921: Miracles of the Jungle · School Days · Why Girls Leave Home · Ashamed of Parents
1922: Your Best Friend · Rags to Riches · A Dangerous Adventure · The Beautiful and Damned · Heroes of the Street
1923: Brass · The Tie That Binds · Little Church Around the Corner · Main Street · Where the North Begins · Little Johnny Jones · The Printer's Devil · The Gold Diggers · The Country Kid · Lucretia Lombard · Tiger Rose
1924: Conductor 1492 · George Washington Jr. · Daddies · The Marriage Circle · Beau Brummel · How to Educate a Wife · Broadway After Dark · Babbitt · Being Respectable · Her Marriage Vow · Cornered · Lover's Lane · The Tenth Woman · Find Your Man · Three Women · This Woman · The Age of Innocence · The Lover of Camille · The Dark Swan · The Lighthouse by the Sea · A Lost Lady
1925: The Bridge of Sighs · The Narrow Street · On Thin Ice · A Broadway Butterfly · Recompense · My Wife and I · The Man Without a Conscience · Eve's Lover · Tracked in the Snow Country · How Baxter Butted In · Kiss Me Again · The Woman Hater · The Limited Mail · The Wife Who Wasn't Wanted · His Majesty, Bunker Bean · Below the Line · The Man on the Box · Compromise · Bobbed Hair · Red Hot Tires · Seven Sinners · Satan in Sables · Rose of the World · The Clash of the Wolves · Three Weeks in Paris · Hogan's Alley · Pleasure Buyers · Lady Windermere's Fan
1926: The Fighting Edge · His Jazz Bride · The Sea Beast · The Man Upstairs · The Golden Cocoon · The Caveman · The Love Toy · Bride of the Storm · The Night Cry · Why Girls Go Back Home · The Little Irish Girl · Oh! What a Nurse! · The Gilded Highway · Other Women's Husbands · The Sap · Hell-Bent for Heaven · Silken Shackles · The Social Highwayman · Footloose Widows · The Passionate Quest · A Hero of the Big Snows · So This Is Paris · Don Juan · Broken Hearts of Hollywood · The Honeymoon Express · Millionaires · Across the Pacific · My Official Wife · The Better 'Ole · Private Izzy Murphy · While London Sleeps · The Third Degree
1927: Finger Prints · Wolf's Clothing · The Fortune Hunter · Don't Tell the Wife · Hills of Kentucky · The Gay Old Bird · White Flannels · What Every Girl Should Know · Matinee Ladies · Bitter Apples · The Brute · Tracked by the Police · The Climbers · Irish Hearts · The Missing Link · A Million Bid · Simple Sis · The Black Diamond Express · Dearie · What Happened to Father? · The Heart of Maryland · The Bush Leaguer · When a Man Loves · The Desired Woman · Slightly Used · Old San Francisco · Jaws of Steel · One-Round Hogan · The First Auto · A Sailor's Sweetheart · The Jazz Singer · Sailor Izzy Murphy · The College Widow · A Reno Divorce · A Dog of the Regiment · Good Time Charley · The Silver Slave · The Girl from Chicago · Ginsberg the Great · Brass Knuckles · If I Were Single · Ham and Eggs at the Front · Husbands for Rent
1928: Beware of Married Men · A Race for Life · The Little Snob · Across the Atlantic · Powder My Back · Tenderloin · Domestic Troubles · The Crimson City · Rinty of the Desert · Glorious Betsy · Pay as You Enter · The Lion And The Mouse · Five and Ten Cent Annie · Lights of New York · Women They Talk About · Caught in the Fog · State Street Sadie · The Midnight Taxi · The Terror · Night Watch · Waterfront · The Singing Fool · Show Girl · Do Your Duty · Land of the Silver Fox · Lilac Time · Beware of Bachelors · Noah's Ark · The Home Towners · The Haunted House · Outcast · On Trial · Adoration · The Little Wildcat · The Barker · My Man · Conquest · The Ware Case
1929: Synthetic Sin · Cheyenne · Scarlet Seas · Fancy Baggage · Seven Footprints to Satan · Stark Mad · His Captive Woman · The Greyhound Limited · The Million Dollar Collar · Weary River · The Redeeming Sin · The Lawless Legion · The Royal Rider · Stolen Kisses · Why Be Good? · Children of the Ritz · Saturday's Children · One Stolen Night · Kid Gloves · Queen of the Night Clubs · Love and the Devil · Hardboiled Rose · The Divine Lady · No Defense · The Desert Song · Sonny Boy · Frozen River · From Headquarters · House of Horror · Glad Rag Doll · Hot Stuff · The Squall · Two Weeks Off · Prisoners · The Flying Scotsman · Careers · Madonna of Avenue A · The Girl in the Glass Cage · The Gamblers · Broadway Babies · The Man and the Moment · The Time, The Place And The Girl · On with the Show · Twin Beds · Drag · Smiling Irish Eyes · Hard to Get · The Hottentot · Dark Streets · The Argyle Case · Say It with Songs · Her Private Life · Gold Diggers of Broadway · Honky Tonk · In the Headlines · Fast Life · Skin Deep · Hearts in Exile · The Careless Age · The Great Divide · A Most Immoral Lady · The Isle of Lost Ships · So Long Letty · Is Everybody Happy? · Young Nowheres · The Girl from Woolworth's · Disraeli · Paris · Footlights and Fools · The Sap · The Forward Pass · Little Johnny Jones · The Sacred Flame · The Painted Angel · Evidence · The Love Racket · The Aviator · Tiger Rose · The Show of Shows · Wedding Rings

1931: The Maltese Falcon

1935: Captain Blood
1938: Angels with Dirty Faces · The Adventures of Robin Hood
1939: Dark Victory


1941: The Maltese Falcon
1942: The Man Who Came to Dinner · Yankee Doodle Dandy · Casablanca
1944: Arsenic and Old Lace · To Have and Have Not · Meet Me in St. Louis
1946: The Big Sleep
1947: Dark Passage
1948: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre · Key Largo
1949: White Heat · The Fountainhead

1951: A Streetcar Named Desire

1955: Rebel Without a Cause

1964: The Incredible Mr. Limpet · My Fair Lady
1970: The Priest's Wife

1974: Blazing Saddles
1977: The Late Show · Brothers · Viva Knievel! · Exorcist II: The Heretic · One on One · Greased Lightning · Outlaw Blues · Oh, God! · A Piece of the Action · Starship Invasions · The Pack · The Goodbye Girl · The Gauntlet
1978: Superman
1979: The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie

1980: Just Tell Me What You Want · Simon · The Ninth Configuration · When Time Ran Out · Tom Horn · Gilda Live · Die Laughing · Heart Beat · The Shining · Up the Academy · Bronco Billy · No Nukes · Honeysuckle Rose · Caddyshack · The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu · The Big Brawl · AC/DC: Let There Be Rock · Divine Madness · The First Deadly Sin · One Trick Pony · Oh, God! Book II · Private Benjamin · The Awakening · Any Which Way You Can · First Family · Altered States

1981: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow · Sphinx · Back Roads · Eyes of a Stranger · This Is Elvis · Excalibur · The Hand · Outland · Superman II · Arthur · Wolfen · Under the Rainbow · Prince of the City · Body Heat · So Fine · Chariots of Fire · Looker · The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie · Rollover · Sharky's Machine
1982: Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales · Best Friends · Creepshow
1983: The Man with Two Brains · Stroker Ace · National Lampoon's Vacation · Cujo · Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island
1984: Lassiter · Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes · Swing Shift · Finders Keepers · Once Upon a Time in America · Gremlins · Cannonball Run II · The NeverEnding Story · Purple Rain · Grandview, U.S.A. · Tightrope · Cal · Windy City · Irreconcilable Differences · The Ninja Mission · The Little Drummer Girl · American Dreamer · The Killing Fields · Oh, God! You Devil · Razorback · City Heat · Protocol
1985: The Goonies · National Lampoon's European Vacation
1986: The Clan of the Cave Bear · One Crazy Summer
1987: Lethal Weapon
1988: Daffy Duck's Quackbusters
1989: Lethal Weapon 2 · National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation · Tango & Cash

1990: Gremlins 2: The New Batch

1991: The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter
1992: Lethal Weapon 3
1998: Lethal Weapon 4 · Jack Frost
1999: Pokémon - The First Movie

2000: Pokémon - The Movie 2000 · Pokémon 3: The Movie