Saturday, November 3, 2012

#810. The Mummy's Tomb (1942)

Directed By: Harold Young

Starring: Dick Foran, John Hubbard, Elyse Knox

Tag line: "Eyes That Crawl With Madness! Hands That Creep Like Cobras!"

Trivia: This was the 1st of 3 appearances Lon Chaney Jr. would make as the Mummy

The third entry in Universal’s Mummy series, The Mummy’s Tomb is a direct sequel to The Mummy’s Hand (which itself was a remake of the 1932 classic). We know this because the movie opens with a 10+ minute “flashback” featuring key moments from The Mummy’s Hand, a clear sign the filmmakers didn’t put much thought into this installment.

An Egyptian High Priest (Turhan Bey) travels to America to exact his revenge on the Banning family, notably Stephen Banning (Dick Foran), for desecrating the tomb of Princess Ananka several decades earlier. To assist him, he brings the mummy of Kharis (Lon Cahney Jr.), the sworn protector of the Princess, along. Yet things get a bit complicated when the High Priest falls in love with Isobel (Elyse Knox), the fiancé of Banning’s son, John (John Hubbard). Sending Kharis to kidnap Isobel, the High Priest intends to make her his bride, not only in this life, but the afterlife as well.

As I already mentioned, a little over 10 minutes Of The Mummy’s Tomb is dedicated to showing us scenes from The Mummy’s Hand, and though these sequences are entertaining (Hand was, after all, a good film), this “blast from the past” takes up a large portion of the movie’s overall running time (which clocks in at just about an hour long). And while The Mummy’s Tomb is notable for introducing Lon Chaney Jr. to the role he’d play twice more in the years to come, The Mummy’s Tomb , as a whole, is flat, and not even a late appearance by a torch-wielding crowd of vigilantes, something of a staple in Universal’s horror canon, is enough to save the film from mediocrity.

Followed in 1944 by both The Mummy’s Ghost (which also featured horror legend John Carradine) and The Mummy’s Curse, The Mummy’s Tomb is, by far, the weakest in what is otherwise a solid series of films.

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