The Mummy's Curse

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The Mummy's Curse
Themummyscurse.png
Directed by Leslie Goodwins
Produced by Oliver Drake
Ben Pivar
Written by Leon Abrams
Dwight V. Babcock
Starring Lon Chaney, Jr.
Peter Coe
Virginia Christine
Music by William Lava
Paul Sawtell
Cinematography Virgil Miller
Edited by Fred R. Feitshans Jr.
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s)
  • December 22, 1944 (1944-12-22)
Running time 62 min
Language English

The Mummy's Curse is the 1944 horror film follow-up to The Mummy's Ghost. This film marks Lon Chaney, Jr.'s final appearance as Kharis, the Egyptian mummy. The Universal Mummy series boasts of a parallel-earth kind of timeline. The Mummy's Hand was made and set in 1940; The Mummy's Tomb takes place 30 years later in 1970; The Mummy's Ghost is also set in 1970, and The Mummy's Curse twenty-five years after "Ghost." That means if the timeline is taken seriously, this film is set in 1995. Although the previous two films in the series take place in Massachusetts, with no explanation being given for the change, The Mummy's Curse moves the action to Louisiana.

Plot[edit]

The Southern Engineering Company is trying to drain the swamp of Cajun Country for the public good. However, the efforts are being hampered by the superstitions of the workers, who believe the area to be haunted by the mummy and his bride.

Two representatives of the Scripps Museum, Dr. James Halsey (Dennis Moore) and Dr. Ilzor Zandaab (Peter Coe), arrive on the scene and present their credentials to the head of the project, Pat Walsh (Addison Richards). They have come to search for the missing mummies, buried in the swamp years earlier. Their conversation is interrupted by the news that a workman has been murdered in the swamps. Evidence at the scene convinces Halsey that the murderer has found the mummy of Kharis.

Later that evening, Zandaab sneaks into the swamp and meets Ragheb (Martin Kosleck). Ragheb is a disciple of the Arkam sect, and Zandaab is secretly a High Priest. The follower killed the worker that unearthed Kharis, and has taken the immobile monster to a deserted monastery.

Zandaab explains the legend of Kharis and Ananka to Ragheb as he brews the tana leaves, giving instructions on their use. The old sacristan of the monastery (William Farnum) intrudes on their ritual, and is promptly executed by a risen Kharis.

Meanwhile, in a breathtaking sequence, the mummy of Ananka (Virginia Christine) rises from the swamp after being partially uncovered by a bulldozer during the excavation. She immerses herself in a pond and the mud is washed away, revealing an attractive young woman.

Cajun Joe (Kurt Katch) finds the girl wandering listlessly in the swamps, calling out the name "Kharis." He takes her to Tante Berthe (Ann Codee), the owner of the local pub, who aids the girl. Later, Kharis finds her there and murders Berthe, as Ananka flees into the night.

Ananka is soon found lying unconscious beside the road by Halsey and Betty Walsh (Kay Harding), the niece of Pat Walsh. While in their care, and although apparently suffering from amnesia, the girl displays an incredible knowledge of ancient Egypt. Her stay at Halsey's camp is again interrupted by the appearance of Kharis, and the kindly physician, Dr. Cooper (Holmes Herbert), is killed. She again takes flight, and Halsey and the others go in search of her.

Fleeing the monster after he attacks and kills Cajun Joe, she comes to Betty's tent seeking refuge. Certainly, Kharis can't be far behind. He enters the tent and whisks away his Princess, leaving the horrified Betty unhurt.

Betty asks Ragheb for his help in finding Dr. Halsey. The treacherous disciple has other ideas, and takes her to the monastery instead. Zandaab, having already administered the tana fluid to the young Ananka, is angered to find Ragheb making advances on Betty. He orders her death, but Ragheb kills him instead. Halsey arrives, tracking them from the camp after finding Betty's tent destroyed. A struggle ensues between Ragheb and Halsey, until Kharis intervenes. The creature, sensing Ragheb's betrayal, advances on his former ally.

Locking himself inside a cell like room, Ragheb is powerless to do anything but watch as Kharis literally brings down the walls on the two of them. Halsey, Betty and the rest find the mummified remains of Ananka in the adjoining room.

Cast[edit]

Virginia Christine

Themes[edit]

This film follows after the events at the end of final film where Ananka and Kharis perish in the swamp.[1] The original working title for this film—the fifth in Universal's mummy series—was The Mummy's Return.[1]

Production[edit]

The Mummy's Curse made use of footage from two of Universal's previous mummy films, The Mummy from 1932 and The Mummy's Hand from 1940.[1]

Release[edit]

The Mummy's Curse was released to theaters on February 16, 1945.[1]

Home media[edit]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The Mummy's Curse generally received moderate to poor reviews with criticism aimed at the use of stock footage and the unexplained change of location in the story from New England to Louisiana. It holds a 57% fresh rating at the movie review site, Rotten Tomatoes.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d AFI staff (2013). "The Mummy's Curse". AFI Catalog of Feature Films (Los Angeles, California, USA: American Film Institute). OCLC 772904208. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ RT staff (2013). "The Mummy's Curse - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 

Bibliography[edit]

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