First of Lon Chaney's three MUMMY features, begun June 1, 1942, and released October 23, on a double bill with "Night Monster. " See more »
George Zucco confirms that while it didn't kill him (being set afire at the end of The Mummy's Hand), it "maimed and distorted" the mummy, which neatly explains why Lon Chaney Jr. looks nothing like Tom Tyler, it does not explain why the wrappings on Chaney's mummy are not even singed. See more »
The moon rides high in the sky again, Kharis; there's death in the night air. Your work begins.
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THE MUMMY'S TOMB (Universal, 1942), directed by Harold Young, the third installment in the Mummy series, the second to feature Kharis and the first starring Lon Chaney Jr. as the living creature under wraps. A sequel to THE MUMMY'S HAND (1940) released two years earlier, this legend of Kharis continues, set thirty years later, with Dick Foran, Wallace Ford and George Zucco reprising their original characters sporting middle-age makeup consisting of gray hairs, glasses and wrinkles.
The story opens in a town of Mapleton in Massachusetts, with the middle-aged widow named Steve Banning (Dick Foran) relating his scientific expedition to his sister, Jane (Mary Gordon), son, John (John Hubbard) and Isobel (Elyse Knox), John's fiancé, on how he, his now deceased wife, Marta (played earlier by Peggy Moran) and his friend, Babe Hanson (Wallace Ford) encountered the ancient burial ground of Kharis, the mummy. The next scene shifts over to Egypt where High Priest Andoheb (George Zucco), who amazingly survived three bullet wounds shot into him by Hansen and his long plunge down the temple steps (told via flashback), assigns Mehemet (Turhan Bey), to guide Kharis (Lon Chaney Jr.) to America where his next assignment is to avenge the surviving members of the expedition, doing away with the Banning family and finally Babe Hansen, whose character arrives later in the story.
Taking a new direction from its previous successors by shifting Kharis from Egypt to the United States, with similarities to Dracula (1931) where Kharis on board the ship, resting inside his tomb, bound for his destination with Mehemet as his guide in the similar fashion to Dracula's Mr. Renfield. Once in Massachusetts, Mehemet takes up residence as a cemetery caretaker with Kharis feeling right at home surrounded by tomb sweet tombs of buried beings. Like Dracula, Kharis stalks his victims at night and rests by day.
While THE MUMMY'S TOMB tends to be original, it mostly borrows from other horror stories, including its predecessor where Mehemet captures Isobel to make her his bride as his predecessor Andoheb tried to do with Marta in THE MUMMY'S HAND. Besides resurrections and revisions, the film delivers towards its final half with chills and thrills, and Kharis meeting the same fate as the Frankenstein monster, who doesn't appear here.
Supporting players include Frank Reicher (Professor Matthew Norman); Cliff Clark (The Sheriff); Virginia Brissac (Ella Evans); and Otto Hoffman (The Cemetery Caretaker).
Strictly "B" material for the juvenile crowd, THE MUMMY'S TOMB is a fast-paced if not entirely incredible 62 minutes. Without the flashback and stock material from the previous film, this movie would have been ten minutes shorter. Minus the over abundance of comedy relief stressed out from THE MUMMY'S HAND, TOMB has all the familiarities from other Universal horror films from the 1940s, especially the stock musical score by Hans J. Salter. Although THE MUMMY'S TOMB did not become a top of the line Mummy show, it did lead the way to the next installment of THE MUMMY'S GHOST (1944), considered by many to be the best of all the "Kharis" thrillers.
Footnote: For anyone paying close attention to detail, it should be noted that since the first Kharis film installment obviously takes place in 1940, then this sequel, which looks very much like modern-day 1942, is set thirty years into the future, namely 1970. Otherwise if this is 1942, then the earlier film should have taken place in 1912 with actors in futuristic 1940s attire.
Other than local television presentations prior to 1985s Fright Night/Chiller theaters, and availability on video cassette and later DVD format, it's cable broadcast history consists of the Sci-Fi Channel (1990s) and American Movie Classics (2000-2002).(**)
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