On July 29, 2018 we lost Josip Hrvoje Peruzović better known as Nikolai Volkoff of WWE fame. It was a hard loss for me not because I knew him personally but because when I was first getting into professional wrestling I signed up for the WWE Network and watched nothing but WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event. I instantly was in awe of this man who belted out the Soviet Union’s national anthem, a culture I had been fascinated by for many years. Although he was a heel I still related to the proud Russian portrayal by Josip. I never met him even though I had wanted to very much to tell him that he helped a 20 some year old through some difficult times. I watched the network on a laptop perched on the foot of my bed and it was always a delight to see him wrestle. It is with a profound sadness that I say, “пока старый друг.” In a while old friend. I feel the best way to honor him is by reviewing one of his few on screen appearances, Terror in the Pharoah’s Tomb.
Terror in the Pharaoh’s Tomb is an interesting film. It is in B&W and interspersed with footage from movies starring Bela Lugosi, Peter Lorre, and Lon Chaney. It revolves around an expedition in Egypt and a marriage postponed. The expedition finds a tomb and opens it only to release a mummy and a queen who longs for power and revenge. It was largely shot in front of what I believe to be blue screen. At times it works well but it largely fell flat for me. Apart from some ham fisted acting from most of the actors and actresses on screen the thing that bothered me most was the use of what I believe to be air soft guns wildly out of period for the time frame the movie is portraying, the 1930’s.
I actually felt that the scene that Nikolai Volkoff is in was probably the strongest portion of the film. I felt that it was not only the best shot but also the most competently acted of the film. You may enjoy this film if you are a fan of B&W film or the preservation of film. Otherwise it is largely a pass in my opinion unless like me you feel the need to seek it out for Nikolai’s involvement in the movie. It also stars Nikita Breznikov, a manager from the Baltimore scene who worked with Volkoff on local shows.