The Mummy's Tomb (1942)

DVD Cover (Universal)
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Overall Rating 55%
Overall Rating
Ranked #5,979
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Connections: The Mummy

A high priest travels to America with a living mummy to kill those who had desecrated the tomb of an Egyptian princess thirty years earlier. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: April 19, 2017
Unlike the jump between the first two Mummy movies, The Mummy's Tomb continues the story told by the preceding chapter, The Mummy's Hand. It sure didn't do it any favors though.

We catch up with archaeologist Steve Banning thirty years after his encounter with Kharis as he's telling the amazing tale of the discovery of Princess Ananka's tomb and its deadly guardian to his son, John, and his fiance, Isobel. His young audience is captivated by the chilling story, but as it turns out, they're soon going to be a part of it. The priest who controlled the mummy has survived the gun shots from three decades ago and has finally chosen a successor named Mehemet Bey to protect their holy lands. It's a promotion that comes with a very personal mission; he is tasked with bringing Kharis across the seas to seek revenge on the men who desecrated the princess' tomb by not only killing them, but by wiping out their entire bloodlines.

This movie was released two years after the preceding movie, and I can promise you that the time was not spent brainstorming how to make this a successful sequel. Let me put it into perspective; the movie not only has a total run time of a whopping sixty-one minutes, but the first ten minutes or so was recapping Hand. As you can tell, this doesn't leave much time to tell a story; all we get is a padded framework full of stories of people reporting "shadows" to the police and some nonsense about the town being overrun with reporters. And that final climax? Oof, was that a brain dead route to take. It's a shame too, because the concept of that Egyptian Sect sending Kharis on a revenge mission against Banning's party is loaded with potential.

Making matters even worse, Kharis does not look nearly as good as he did in the last movie. The original man behind the wrapping, Tom Tyler, has handed off the role to Lon Chaney Jr. best known for playing the Wolf Man. While I wasn't a fan of the way Chaney humanized the character, the true blame can be laid at the feet of the make-up department. Much like the script writers, they obviously phoned it in and Kharis didn't look nearly as withered as he did last time. Plus I can't overstate how much of a blow it was that they didn't black out his eyes again. Not only was it a striking image, but it gave Kharis a small unique trait to set him on his own.

In the same vein, the rest of the actors didn't put in any effort above the bare minimum. Dick Foran and Wallace Ford return as Stephen Banning and Babe Jenson (accidentally renamed Hanson here; the filmmakers seriously didn't care when they spit this out). As before, while neither of them were bad, there was nothing special brought to the table either. Ford was especially disappointing here, as the affable charm is completely missing. Sure, you can write it off due to the dire circumstances of Kharis' return and the result of being thirty years older, but it's still a shame to see such a great character reduced like that. No one had as much collateral damage to the film as Turhan Bey as Mehement Bey. You see, George Zucco played his predecessor in The Mummy's Hand with an authority and ruthlessness that made you believe he was an absolute threat with Kharis at his disposal. Bey played Bey like a petulant child, and that's before you factor in the monotone. Speaking of monotones, fellow newcomers John Hubbard and Elyse Knox did little more than go through the motions as Banning Jr. and his betrothed. They couldn't even be bothered to bring it up a few notches after Kharis begins his rampage and loved ones are lost.

I will say that, for all my complaints, this wasn't a terrible movie. It was just a flat uninspired one that surely would have earned a more damning review if not for its short run time. Overall, I can't really recommend this; while you probably wouldn't hate it, there's nothing there to merit the effort it takes to put in the DVD. 3.5/10.
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