The Mummy’s Ghost (1944)

1 star out of 4.

Kharis rises again to wreak havoc in New England and return his Ananka and her relics to Egypt. This is merely an exercise in rehashing the elements of The Mummy’s Hand and The Mummy’s Tomb. Nothing really new is presented at least on the surface. Other than the role of another new Egyptian priest being filled by the scenery chewing John Carradine, only the oddly dark ending gives one reason to watch this increasingly monotonous entry in the ever awful Kharis cycle.

The problems are too numerous to really mention. The film roughly takes place in the year 1974 if the laughable continuity of these films is ever to be taken seriously. Yet again, we start a mummy film by wasting time with a recap of the original films’ stories all badly snipped together and only hinting at the greatness of the Karloff original.  This retelling is simultaneously told by the Egyptian priest Andoheb (who is somehow miraculously still alive after dying twice! First shot dead at point blank range in Mummy’s Hand, and then dying of extreme old age in Mummy’s Tomb-scientists must have a lot to learn from this crazy loon.) to new underling Yousef Bey (John Carradine) and the same tale is being told by American Professor Norman at a University in the same small village where Kharis terrorized in The Mummy’s Tomb. Coincidence? Unfortunately no.

Yousef Bey is challenged with traveling to America with Kharis, reclaiming the mummy and possessions of Princess Ananka, and destroying all those who would invoke their wrath. Really? Couldn’t we have changed the general plan up a bit? It isn’t as if you haven’t tried that one before. Back at the University, a student leaves the lecture and visits his girlfriend working in a nearby office. Amina becomes reticent and distant whenever Egypt is mentioned and demands they never speak of it.

That night, Professor Norman finally discovers how many tana leaves must be brewed to complete the ritual he has been attempting to crack. He brews the nine leaves and Kharis begins to stir to find the mystical brew. As he passes Amina’s house she begins to sleepwalk towards the Professor’s home as well. Kharis kills the Professor and drinks the fluid. Amina loses consciousness at the sight of the Mummy. She is found the next morning on the grounds by the police who want to hold her as a potential suspect. No one seems to notice the large white streak in her hair…

The mold left on the Professor’s throat alerts authorities that the Mummy is on the loose again. (Not that they seem to really care all too much. Wouldn’t you?) Some time passes until Yousef Bey arrives and obtains Kharis. What happens in the interim is unexplained. Oh, there’s just an undead Mummy running around. They break into the Scripps museum where Ananka is housed. As Kharis moves to retrieve the mummy, it collapses into dust at his undead hands. Stupified, Kharis looks to Yousef who realizes that her soul has passed on into another body. In one of the only moments of acting in any of these Kharis films, the Mummy destroys the room in rage. A hapless guard is attracted by the noise and quickly dispatched by the monstrous Egyptian.

The police find the dead guard and destroyed museum the next morning. They determine it is also the work of the mummy and devise a trap for him. Amina is strained by the Professor’s death and her possible implication. Her boyfriend Tom persuades her to elope with him to New York. Now Yousef prays to the gods to show Kharis the way to Ananka’s reincarnated form. A shaft of light appears and Kharis is hot on the trail. (Well, as fast as an undead shuffling mummy can be following a non-existent light beam.)

The police have dug a pit outside the Professor’s home and brew tana leaves to lure the mummy. Unfortunately, this also once again awakens Amina into sleepwalking. She has the further misfortune of running into Kharis who recognizes Ananka’s reincarnation. Kharis returns her to Yousef at an abandoned mill. Tom is told of this by the helpless landlady and sets off in pursuit with the police far behind. Yousef tells Amina that she is the reincarnated spirit of Ananka. He then decides that he must have her for himself, and like every single other Egyptian priest suddenly realizes his primal manly urges by trying to make both himself and the female victim immortal.

In the only other bit of acting, Kharis realizes Yousef’s intention and kills him. This is almost as if Kharis come to this realization and declares: “Hell, no! Not this stinking crap again! Bitch, I am not being set on fire!” He then carries Amina off into the swamps with Tom and the police at his heels. The pursuers refrain from shooting the monster in fears of hitting the girl…who is getting a rather quick hair bleaching. The Mummy sinks into the swamps with her withered old corpse.

This ending is a curveball when considering everything else that has transpired up to this point. There is no indication that the ending will be dark, and thus it doesn’t fit the film whatsoever. It is a completely unnecessary moment that despite its shock does not have the power to redeem this schlock. The performances are forgettable save for Carradine’s mad Egyptian. He chews scenery as if it was his mandate, and gives a slightly more interesting face to look at then yet another bland young fez-wearing Egyptian.

Lon Chaney Jr. famously hated playing the Mummy. His disdain is obvious for he shuffles along doing absolutely nothing. Although, he wasn’t really ever made to do much of anything else. Chaney does show some emotion in a few scenes as I’ve mentioned, but it just isn’t enough. Christopher Lee was able to do so much with only his eyes in the Hammer 1959 Mummy film that it seems like a Mummy acting masterclass after watching all of these Universal Kharis films.

Save for a few choice moments with Carradine and the ill-fitting ending, The Mummy’s Ghost is an absolutely forgettable piece of double bill filler.

Like all the other Kharis films, Mummy’s Ghost is packaged in the Mummy Legacy Collection in a well presented single-layer transfer. Sound is standard Dolby 2.0 mono and the print source is very clean.

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Filed under 1 star, Film, Uncategorized, Universal Horror

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