Director: Harold Young
Writers: Griffin Jay and Henry Sucher
Cast: Dick Foran, John Hubbard, Elyse Knox, George Zucco, Wallace Ford, Tuhran Bey, Virginia Brissac, Cliff Clark, Mary Gordon, Paul E. Burns, Frank Reicher, Emmett Vogan, and Lon Chaney
Composer: H.J. Salter
Release Date: 10/23/1942
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Having survived multiple gunshot wounds, Andoheb instructs Mehemet Bey (Turhan Bey) to resurrect Kharis (Lon Chaney) with the same tana leaf brew that restored his life three decades earlier. Mehemet Bey then travels with Kharis to America, where he intends to punish those who desecrated the Mummy’s tomb during their search for Ananka’s burial site.
The Mummy’s Tomb is a deeply flawed but mildly entertaining sequel to The Mummy’s Hand. Though occasionally humorous without attempting to be, this film deserves commendation for following a more atmospheric approach to horror than did the first entry in Universal Studios’ tetralogy of Kharis-themed mummy productions.
Offering a change of scenery from The Mummy and The Mummy’s Hand, The Mummy’s Tomb features Kharis lurking about a rural United States community. Especially effective are any sequences wherein Lon Chaney’s lumbering mannerisms are accentuated by graveyards or wooded locations, which, though arguably better suited for the likes of Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolf Man, surround Kharis with the very death and decay that define his character.
Operating on the absurd premise that Andoheb—now sporting a full head of hair to conceal his bald scalp from thirty years prior—would walk away from Babe’s barrage of bullets with only a crippled arm, The Mummy’s Tomb fails to bridge the continuity between itself and its immediate predecessor, The Mummy’s Hand (e.g. Babe’s surname is changed from Jenson to Hanson, Kharis’ bandages remain intact despite being set ablaze during the climax of the previous film, Stephen Banning recounts a series of events for which he was not present, etc.). While egregious oversights such as the above are to be expected when accounting for obvious budgetary constraints, viewers may question why The Mummy’s Tomb opens with a ten-minute recap of The Mummy’s Hand only to later discard the canon thereof.
Similar to The Mummy’s Hand, The Mummy’s Tomb never bothers to elicit sympathy for Kharis—a victim of yet another nefarious plot to annihilate those who dared disturb his Egyptian tomb. In this case, Mehemet Bey is instead the one who best fills the role of primary antagonist; specifically, his malevolent revenge scheme and unrequited love for Isobel Evans (Elyse Knox) compel him to employ Kharis as a destructive tool. Although Mehemet Bey can technically be described as a conflicted character given that his attraction toward Isobel interferes with his desire to carry out Andoheb’s will, The Mummy’s Tomb unfortunately never explores such an angle to its full potential.
A mediocre chapter in Universal Studios’ saga of Kharis films, The Mummy’s Tomb tries but ultimately fails to reproduce the subtle terror that Boris Karloff brought to the original version of The Mummy. That being said, classic monster buffs may enjoy Lon Chaney’s portrayal of the crumbling creeper after whom this movie is entitled.
Overall Quality: 5/10
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