A couple of comical, out-of-work archaeologists (Dick Foran and Wallace Ford) in Egypt discover evidence of the burial place of the ancient Egyptian princess Ananka. After receiving funding from an eccentric magician (Cecil Kellaway) and his beautiful daughter (Peggy Moran), they set out into the desert only to be terrorized by a sinister high priest (George Zucco) and the living mummy Kharis (Tom Tyler) who are the guardians of Ananka^Òs tomb.Written by
Jeremy Lunt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Not a sequel to Boris Karloff's THE MUMMY (1932), but the start of an entirely different series of unrelated films featuring a new mummified prince called Kharis. A group of amateur but likable treasure seekers search for the tomb of an ancient princess, but they encounter the still-living mummy instead, bent on destroying anyone who would dare defile the ancient Egyptian gods.
While not a great Universal horror movie by any means (one critique would be the re-usage of the same exact shot again and again of Kharis shambling about in the wilderness) this was the first and best of four Universal films featuring the mummy Kharis. At this stage of the game the formula was still fresh and not at all clichéd or monotonous, so that already places HAND at a distinct advantage over its other sequels and spin-off's. Tom Tyler makes one very creepy mummy, all arthritic and twisted, with weird eyes that are optically blackened out for full effect in chilling closeups (albeit the same repeated closeup). George Zucco takes top honors as the deliciously mad High Priest who keeps the mummy alive and killing via the sacred brew of nine ancient tana leaves. Dick Foran, Wallace Ford, Cecil Kellaway and the perky Peggy Moran are all very pleasant as the awkward explorers who stumble upon Kharis' cursed tomb. Comic relief is well used throughout, but never becomes intrusive, as the action always remains dead serious whenever the mummy takes center stage.
*** out of ****
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