Monday, November 12, 2012

#819. The Mummy's Ghost (1944)

Directed By: Reginald Le Borg

Starring: Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Robert Lowery

Tag line: "Nameless! Fleshless! Deathless!"

Trivia: This was the only Universal Mummy movie to utilize no flashback footage whatsoever

No matter how many times they burn up poor Kharis, he always comes back for more. I guess you just can’t keep a good mummy down!

It’s been decades since Kharis’ reign of terror on the small town of Mapleton, and yet another High Priest (John Carradine) is dispatched to America with instructions to locate the remains of Princess Ananka and return with her to Egypt. This won’t be easy, seeing as the Princess’s mummified body is now the main attraction at the Mapleton museum! So, the High Priest once again summons the mummy, Kharis (Lon Chaney Jr.), to assist him with this arduous task. But when they attempt to steal the princess’s remains, the High Priest discovers her spirit has already come back to earth, and now inhabits one Amina Mansouri (Ramsay Ames), a pretty college student engaged to be married to Tom Hervey (Robert Lowery). Like his predecessor in The Mummy’s Tomb, the High Priest orders Kharis to kidnap the girl, then falls in love with her himself, thus inciting the jealous rage of not only Tom, but Kharis as well.

As you can tell from the above synopsis, which shares many similarities with that of The Mummy’s Tomb, the series had, by this point in time, moved firmly into formulaic territory. But what saves The Mummy’s Ghost from becoming just another routine entry is John Carradine, who delivers a deliciously diabolical performance as the High Priest. I also like how the film presents a somewhat stronger, more fleshed-out female character, in the form of Amina Mansouri, than any of the previous Mummy pictures, and with one movie already under his belt, Lon Chaney settles nicely into the role of Kharis. Along with all this, The Mummy’s Ghost also has the bleakest ending of any of the Mummy films thus far, a conclusion that clearly set the stage for yet another sequel.

More on that later...

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