The Mummy's Tomb - 1942
The mummy Kharis terrorizes New England.
The Mummy's Tomb - Released October 23, 1942.
Directed by Harold Young.
Lon Chaney Jr. has very little to do except limp around in the uncomfortable-looking Mummy bandages for this third sequel to the series. He doesn't speak and it's pretty hard to tell that it even is Creighton* under the Jack Pierce makeup.
The Mummy sequels don't have a particularly stellar reputation, though they are required viewing for Universal Pictures monster movie aficionados all the same. Across the four sequels (not counting the Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummyof 1955), storylines, bits of dialogue, music and even raw footage get recycled from the original 1933 The Mummy (Boris Karloff) and other Universal films including: Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and Dracula. Universal executives had a money-making formula and they stuck with it a little too closely, as long sections of The Mummy's Hand fill up the first fifteen minutes of The Mummy's Tomb like an out of control prologue.
If you saw The Mummy's Hand (1940) you will have a hard time being surprised by anything happening in this repeat of the mayhem caused by tana leaves and the efforts of love-starved Egyptian occult-priest Mehemet Bey (he's fixated on local girl Isobel Evans, played by Elyse Knox). Though he pretends she doesn't exist whenever she is in his actual vicinity, that all changes once Isobel is carried off by the mummy and strapped down.
Shyness gone, Mehemet explains his affection and his plan for the two to share a happy eternal life via the effects of the tana leaves. Also, he adds, they'll have children. Isobel's reaction to this is about what you would expect, though Mehemet assures her that giving birth to the next high priest is usually considered an honor.
Perhaps the best thing about the film is Turhan Bey (yes, the actor does share the same last name with his film character) who seems to be having a lot of fun with his Austrian-accent being spoken by the insane Egyptian high priest Mehemet who has the same crazed plan of action that George Zucco had in the previous film (the tana leaves will make you immortal and all you need is a pretty girl for company). It will of course all go horribly wrong by the time the credits roll.
Though The Mummy's Tomb never swerves into deliberate camp (like James Whales' Bride of Frankenstein), there's not a lot of distance required to get there. The mummy takes up residence in a small Massachusetts town (for reasons having to do with the previous film) and once the mummy goes on a few night-time patrols scaring and kidnapping (he's under the leadership of the lonely Mehemet Bey), it takes very little for the townspeople to efficiently organize (this is Yankee New England after all) and grabbing torches they coalesce into roaming bands, ala'Frankenstein. In fact there are splices of 1931 Frankenstein footage with torch-wielding mobs inserted here and there to make The Mummy's Tomb mob look larger.
With the villagers riled, Mehemet Bey is doomed (he deserves it), but the bandage-wrapped-one returns in The Mummy's Ghost, 1944.
* Born Creighton Tull Chaney, 1906-1973
More Lon Chaney Jr.:
Original Page December 2014 | Updated April 2018
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