The Awakening is a 1980 British horror film. It is the theatrical debut film of director Mike Newell, who had previously worked extensively in television. The Awakening is the third film version of Bram Stoker's 1903 novel The Jewel of Seven Stars, following a 1970 television adaptation as The Curse of the Mummy, and the 1971 theatrical film, Blood from the Mummy's Tomb.
The film opens on an Egyptian archaeological dig in 1961. 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." 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. 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, she and her father discover the jars that contain Kara's organs. 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 is to perform the ritual. 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 and leaves the tomb, her intentions unknown.
The Awakening (1980)R | 1h 41min | Horror | 31 October 1980 (USA)
An archeologist discovers his daughter is possessed by the spirit of an Egyptian queen. To save mankind he must destroy her.
Director: Mike Newell
Writers: Allan Scott (screenplay), Chris Bryant (screenplay)
Stars: Charlton Heston, Susannah York, Jill Townsend