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The Mummy's Tomb (1942)
Poor by Universal's standards
Like The Mummy's Hand before it, this is poor by the high standards of Universal. Lon Chaney, Jr, has virtually no acting to do as the Mummy/Kharis; it seems he was employed simply for the marketability of his name in a role that any stuntman could do. The plot is threadbare, and the first ten minutes (one fifth) of the movie is clips from the previous film.
However, at least the emphasis is firmly on the antics of the Mummy, rather than on the comic routines that brought down The Mummy's Hand. It's fun at times, and doubtless Universal horror fans will enjoy it in a kitschy sort of way.
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
Hammer's first Gothic horror, a classic
It is easy to underestimate how revolutionary this film was on its 1957 release. It was the first time a Frankenstein film had been seen in colour, and the amount of blood and gore - while extremely tame by today's standards - was unprecedented.
Hammer were forbidden, under threat of legal action, from copying any elements from the classic Universal series of films, and so created an entirely original vision of the Frankenstein legend. Baron Frankenstein (played by the brilliant Peter Cushing) became the main villain, where he was a basically good, but misunderstood man in the 1931 film. Christopher Lee plays the Creature as a child-like puppet, to be pitied more than reviled.
Excellent production values, setting the high standard for Hammer's other Gothic adaptations, which were later to include Dracula, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Mummy and The Curse of the Werewolf.
The Phantom of the Opera (1962)
A valiant attempt, but does it work?
Director Terence Fisher was temporarily out of favour with Hammer Studios after Phantom of the Opera flopped at the box-office. This represents a valiant effort at retelling Leroux's legend, but despite flashes of Fisher's genius, it emerges as one of his most uneven works.
The way the Phantom slaps around and manhandles the heroine is incongruous with the sympathetic Phantom one gets the feeling the director wanted to portray. He comes across as a brute, and it is difficult to pity him.
This particular adaptation also suffers from the same plight that plagued the 1943 Universal version: The opera sequences are far too lengthy, and rather banal; this gets in the way of -- in fact diffuses -- the suspense that Fisher actually quite successfully creates at key points in the film.