What horrors hath Cecil B. DeMille wrought?


Nine years ago, I wrote a short article for Bible Review on Peter Brosnan, a filmmaker who, together with archaeologist John Parker, has spent the past quarter-century looking for Egyptian ruins in the sand dunes of California. Of course, they’re not looking for real Egyptian ruins; instead, they’re looking for the fake Egyptian sets and props that were built by Cecil B. DeMille for the original silent version of The Ten Commandments (1923).

So I could not help but be amused when I got a press release today for a DVD that has nothing to do with Brosnan or Parker, but has everything to do with the subject they’ve been working on:

Based on true events…
ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT EXCAVATES SANDS OF OBLIVION FOR DVD
The Ultimate Evil Will Rise March 11th

TORONTO, ON — In 1923, legendary film director Cecil B. DeMille constructed a replica of ancient Egypt in the California desert for his epic movie The Ten Commandments. After filming was completed, he ordered the entire set buried. For the last 85 years, the unanswered question remains: Why? Solve the mystery of what lurks beneath the scorching wasteland when Anchor Bay Entertainment releases Sands of Oblivion on DVD March 11, 2008.

Directed by David Flores and written & produced by Kevin VanHook (Voodoo Moon, Death Row), Sands of Oblivion stars Adam Baldwin (“Chuck,” Serenity, Independence Day), Morena Baccarin(“Stargate SG-1,” Serenity), Academy Award(R) winner George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke, the Naked Gun films) and Dan Castellaneta (“The Simpsons”) as Cecil B. DeMille. First broadcast on the SCI-FI Channel, Sands of Oblivion will be presented in a special “Director’s Cut” edition, featuring additional footage not seen in the original airing.

A modern day excavation crew lead by soon-to-be divorced archaeologist couple Jesse and Alice Carter (Baldwin and Baccarin) have uncovered the secret that DeMille tried in vain to bury: the set holds the spirit of a vengeful Egyptian god, trapped in a smuggled artifact amongst the movie props. Unleashing an ancient centuries-old horror, it will be up to Jesse and Alice, along with an Iraq War combat veteran (Victor Webster, “Charmed”) to recapture the vile fury of ages past. DreadCentral praised Sands of Oblivion with “one of the most unique story ideas for any movie the SCI-FI Channel has ever produced!”

Sounds like this film will sort of do for The Ten Commandments what Shadow of the Vampire (2000) did for Nosferatu (1922), by supposing that real-life supernatural shenanigans were taking place amidst a movie set’s simulation of the supernatural.

And hey, what’s this, Dan “Homer Simpson” Castellaneta is playing Cecil B. DeMille? Okay, now I really have to see this film.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://thomwade.wordpress.com/ thomwade

    Between Castellaneta and two cast members of Firefly/Serenity? I am there!


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