The Mummy’s Curse (1944)

It’s time for another Mummy Monday review! Released the same year as The Mummy’s Ghost, this movie takes place 25 years later in a (the?) bayou. Didn’t the last movie have Kharis walk into a Massachusetts swamp? Doesn’t a 25 year time jump a few movies after a 30 year jump mean this movie takes place around the year 1999? It’s best not to ask too many questions, you’ll only get your hopes up.

We actually shake things up this time around! Instead of Kharis searching for a dead Princess Ananka, this time she’s an actual character! With dialogue! Played by Mrs. Virginia Christine, she survived being mummified in the last movie and after washing off two decades of mud she’s very alive looking, but has fragmented memories of who she is. It’s a bit of a nice touch, but it’s played inconsistently: she’s terrified of the shambling Mummy coming after her, but sometimes in a fugue state she calls out to him. In the end she might as well have been just another reincarnation of Ananka (which she technically is since last we saw that’s Amina’s body), terrified of the monster coming after her. In the end she gets re-mummified, killing her once again, so moot point I guess.

We also ditched the plot point of the High Priest of Arkam/Karnak falling for the beauty! Our fez wearing Egyptian, Dr. Ilzor Zandaab, is steadfast in his duties of reuniting the two mummies and bringing them back to Egypt. Unfortunately, his assistant Ragheb is the one who falls for Ananka and ends up killing the High Priest. Ragheb has a nice fight sequence with bland protagonist Dr. James Halsey, but ultimately Kharis turns on him and the two are buried under falling rocks. After that, the surviving heroes plan on taking the two mummies back to the museum from the last movie (which I guess is also now near a bayou).

There are a large number of characters in this movie, so it’s no surprise that Halsey is a cardboard cutout of a protagonist. When he gets the (non-mummy) girl at the end we the audience are left to wonder where any of that romance came from. The real hero of this movie is Cajun Joe, played by Mr. Kurt Katch, doing what sure sounded like an exaggerated Italian accent. Too bad he was one of the victims choked out by the Mummy. Rest in peace, Joe…

And that’s it! This ends the Kharis tetralogy and is the last half-way serious Universal Classic Monsters The Mummy movie. Oh yes, that means next time it’s Abbott and Costello.

MUMMY FUN FACT! According to Virginia Christine, Lon Chaney Jr. was drunk “pretty much throughout the picture!” He was reportedly noticeably intoxicated in the scene where Kharis carries Ananka up a flight of stairs, causing Christine to fear for her life if he fell as the two were attached via a harness. The scene was finished with a stand-in, much to her relief.


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