The Mummy’s Tomb (1942)

1.5 stars out of 4.

This is the beginning of the dull and monotonous Mummy sequels. Lon Chaney Jr. takes over as Kharis the undead Egyptian and seems to never have any desire to be in the film.

We open with the surviving lead from the previous film back home in New England 30 years after the events of The Mummy’s Hand. (This begins the increasingly odd and silly timeframe of these sequels: Hand is in 1940, Tomb is set thus in  1970, Ghost is set in 1974 and Curse is set in 1999. What hack writer came up with that brilliant idea?) The next high priest of Karnak is selected and somehow this is done by the villain from the previous film who had been shot point blank in the face and fallen down stairs. The new priest is assigned to take Kharis to New England and kill all those who desecrated the tomb of Princess Ananka. Then they are to return home with the Princess. The 1959 Hammer film is largely lifted from this film’s plotline along with elements of The Mummy’s Hand.

So all of the atmosphere of Egypt is eschewed for the standard small-town America back lot sets. A lumbering bandaged figure staggers around and kills some people who stand unmoving in dark corners. Some people see some mysterious “shadows” and call police. There’s some really pissed off Egyptians.  What joy. The only interest really comes from the entire remaining cast of the previous film meeting their demise at the hands of the thing they had destroyed already. Their mounting horror is fully realized when they see that it is Kharis who has come for them, and that the curse they so foolishly invoked has come for them at last. Otherwise this is standard B-grade schlock.

Once the first victim is claimed, his old friend arrives by train and identifies it as the work of a living mummy. The death by strangulation and odd imprint of dark mold on the throat is the exact way Kharis kills people. Of course, no one listens to this and the man is dispatched a short time later.

The Egyptian controlling Kharis for some odd reason falls for the fiancee of the first victim’s son. He has Kharis abduct her (in the scene where he orders Kharis to do this, Chaney initially refuses his Master giving the only real emotion from the Mummy in any of these B-quickies.) and then reveals his plan to make her and himself immortal using the tana leaves that give Kharis life. This is exactly what the other priest did randomly at the end of Hand, and here again it feels added only to pad the runtime to just over an hour. This goes without mentioning that this tacked on subplot makes no feasible sense.

Everyone goes after the girl of course, and the Mummy is then trapped in a burning house. The house is burned to the ground and everyone lives happily ever after. Even though killing it with fire didn’t work last time! Some idiots never learn.

Available in The Mummy Legacy Collection along with the masterpiece 1932 film, the acceptable first sequel, the terrible Mummy’s Ghost and the putrid Mummy’s Curse. The DVD is 1.33:1 with standard Dolby 2.0 mono. Taken from a relatively clean print source.

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Filed under 1.5 stars, Film, Universal Horror

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