The Mummy’s Curse – USA, 1944 – reviews

 
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Mummy's-Curse

Buried fury! Stalking to life from the depths of doom!’

The Mummy’s Curse is the 1944 American supernatural horror feature film directed by Leslie Goodwins from a screenplay by Leon Abrams and Dwight V. Babcock.

The film is the follow-up to The Mummy’s Ghost and marks Lon Chaney Jr.’s final appearance as Kharis, the Egyptian mummy. It also stars Peter Coe, Kay Harding, Martin Kosleck (House of Horrors; The Frozen Ghost; The Flesh Eaters), Virginia Christine and Kurt Katch.

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The original title was The Mummy’s Return. Footage from two of Universal’s previous mummy films, The Mummy (1932) and The Mummy’s Hand (1940) is re-used.

Although the previous two films in the series take place in Massachusetts, with no explanation being given for the change, The Mummy’s Curse moves the action to Louisiana.

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Plot:

The Southern Engineering Company is trying to drain the swamp of Cajun Country for the public good. However, the efforts are being hampered by the superstitions of the workers, who believe the area to be haunted by the mummy and his bride.

Two representatives of the Scripps Museum, Doctor James Halsey (Dennis Moore) and Doctor Ilzor Zandaab (Peter Coe), arrive on the scene and present their credentials to the head of the project, Pat Walsh (Addison Richards). They have come to search for the missing mummies, buried in the swamp years earlier. Their conversation is interrupted by the news that a workman has been murdered in the swamps. Evidence at the scene convinces Halsey that the murderer has found the mummy of Kharis.

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Later that evening, Zandaab sneaks into the swamp and meets Ragheb (Martin Kosleck). Ragheb is a disciple of the Arkam sect, and Zandaab is secretly a High Priest. The follower killed the worker that unearthed Kharis, and has taken the immobile monster to a deserted monastery.

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Zandaab explains the legend of Kharis and Ananka to Ragheb as he brews the tana leaves, giving instructions on their use. The old sacristan of the monastery (William Farnum) intrudes on their ritual, and is promptly executed by a risen Kharis…

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“… A wretched little shocker… It is all very juvenile and silly and except for a few hollow laughs, is as dull as Uncle Henry’s old jack-knife. It’s time to tell that Mummy he’s a bore.” The New York Times

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“While The Mummy’s Curse doesn’t break any new ground in regards to plot, it does offer a few pleasant surprises – a welcome change in locale, a strong performance by Virginia Christine, the most beautifully executed sequence in the entire series, plus lots of eagerly anticipated Mummy murders (in fact, more than any of the other series entries).” Universal Horrors: The Studio’s Classic Films, 1931 – 1946

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“Not only is the script a complete mess, not only are all the characters unidimensional stereotypes, not only is it clear from every second of his screen time that Lon Chaney Jr. was sick to death of playing Kharis, The Mummy’s Curse somehow manages to be dull even with a running time that just barely makes it to the one-hour mark! The amazing thing is that this is true even though the pacing is by no means slow.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“The most striking moment of the movie is the resurrection of Princess Ananka as she emerges from the freshly drained swamp mud. Looking ever inch a living mummy, the mud covered Princess lurches eerily out of the sediment and into a fresh pool of water. Ananka, this time played by the beautiful Virginia Christine, is now washed clean of the mud of the swamp and is revealed to be very much alive.” Burg Castlestein

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“There is one really fantastic scene where Virgina Christine playing the ancient princess, would rise from the earth after being exposed, covered from head to toe in mud and would shamble towards the lake where she might wash off, almost as if she were about to break in two. It is a very eerie moment; one that elicits horror more than almost any other in the movie is one that you would not forget anytime soon.”

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Cast and characters:

  • Lon Chaney, Jr. as Kharis, The Mummy
  • Peter Coe as Doctor Ilzor Zandaab
  • Virginia Christine as Princess Ananka
  • Kay Harding as Betty Walsh
  • Dennis Moore as Doctor James Halsey
  • Martin Kosleck as Ragheb
  • Kurt Katch as Cajun Joe
  • Addison Richards as Pat Walsh
  • Holmes Herbert as Doctor Cooper
  • Charles Stevens as Achilles
  • William Farnum as Michael
  • Napoleon Simpson as Goobie

Image thanks: Burg Castlestein

Related:

The Shuffling Saga of The Mummy on Screen – article

 

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2 Comments on “The Mummy’s Curse – USA, 1944 – reviews”

  1. One bit of weirdness with this film (the preceding movies). If you add up the amount of time that has passed between films, assuming The Mummy took place when it was released (1932), The Mummy’s Curse takes place in the mid-1990s. Might make for an interesting parallel universe, where technological and social development is halted (since the ‘1995’ of this film looks a lot like the ‘1944’ of its release) due to all these monsters running around.

    1. Yes, I noticed that the Wikipedia entry made this observation too. But as with Friday the 13th films, there’s no time logic and I thought why mention it? Scriptwriters don’t care and neither should we, is my view. The Mummy’s Curse is bollocks yet enjoyable bollocks, much like the Universal Sherlock Holmes films that pay no attention to time/logic. Having just watched the animated (and also very good) Batman: Year One with my son we pondered why it’s set in the early 80s but what the hell… Ta for pondering and commenting tho

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