An Egyptian high priest travels to America to reclaim the bodies of ancient Egyptian princess Ananka and her living guardian mummy Kharis. Learning that Ananka^Òs spirit has been reincarnated into another body, he kidnaps a young woman of Egyptian descent with a mysterious resemblance to the princess. However, the high priest^Òs greedy desires cause him to loose control of the mummy...An irrigation project in the rural bayous of Louisiana unearths Kharis the living mummy (Lon Chaney Jr.), who was buried in quicksand 25 years earlier.
The Mummy's Ghost
- Mummy's Ghost / Mummy's Curse review by NP
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Jaunty music accompanies cartoon style credits over a backdrop of hieroglyphics, which indicates this is not going to be an exercise in particularly dark horror. We open with a clip from the previous film in this series, of George Zucco, his back to the camera, travelling up many stone steps to a secret temple. As it is, for the purposes of this film, we are required to believe it is actually John Carradine’s Yousef Bey ascending the stairway. George Zucco is actually inside the temple, his character Andoheb explaining the Mummy’s story from previous outings, with the help of further repeated clips from those excursions.
The sequels to the original mummy (1932) are so similar they fall into ‘this is the one with …’ categories. ‘The Mummy’s Hand’ ‘was the one with’ Tom Tyler in the titular role, and its follow-up ‘was the one with Lon Chaney Junior’s first outing’. Sadly, this one is ‘the one with’ Robert Lowery as the ‘hero’, Tom Hervey: truly the most objectionable, obnoxious character in any Mummy film up until the Brendan Fraser caricatures begun their spiel in 1999. What a cocky, arrogant fellow he is. This member of the audience is instantly on the side of Kharis, who is resurrected once more, without much fanfare to stumble through Universal’s backlot to find his Princess Ananka (Ramsay Ames).
I sound unnecessarily harsh towards ‘The Mummy’s Ghost’, but despite the above (and the reuse of stock music from other Universal horrors/clumsy day for night shooting), its familiarity is reassuringly enjoyable. We know what we’re going to get from a Mummy film by this time – and we do. Of Chaney’s outings as the monster, this may be his most powerful. From behind Jack Pierce’s mask and wrappings, he injects some emotion into his hated Kharis (although Pierce’s mask crumples like a Cabbage Patch Kid when the monster is seen to scowl). It is rumoured during Kharis’ raging attack on the night-porter (Oscar O'Shea) in the Scripp’s museum, that Chaney actually slammed the old man into a real pane of glass, smashing it and injuring O’Shea. Alcohol has not been ruled out.
There’s an amusing bit of business where the locals, lead by Barton MacLane’s cranky Inspector Walgreen, cunningly fashion a disguised pit in which to topple the Mummy, who doesn’t even notice and (slowly) walks straight past!
Cocky Tom’s girl Amina (Ames) is slowly transforming into the putrefying Ananka, which is a welcome inclusion into the plot, but the gradual whitening of her hair goes unnoticed by others throughout, stretching credulity somewhat. Her total transformation into a Mummy as Kharis carries her into the swamp at the end is a certain highpoint, and a surprising unhappy ending, although at least she has been spared a life of married bliss with Hervey.