The Mummy's Tomb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Mummy's Tomb
The Mummy's Tomb.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHarold Young
Produced byBen Pivar
Screenplay by
  • Griffin Jay
  • Henry Sucher
Story byNeil P. Varnick
CinematographyGeorge Robinson
Edited byMilton Carruth
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • October 23, 1942 (1942-10-23)
Running time
61 minutes
CountryUnited States
Colored publicity shot featuring Lon Chaney Jr. as Kharis.

The Mummy's Tomb is a 1942 American horror film produced by Ben Pivar for Universal Pictures Co., directed by Harold Young, and starring Lon Chaney Jr. as Kharis the mummy. It is the first of three sequels to that company's The Mummy's Hand of 1940.


The Mummy's Tomb picks up the story of Kharis thirty years after the conclusion of The Mummy's Hand. One evening in the fictional town of his Mapleton, Massachusetts, Steve Banning (Dick Foran) recounts the story of Kharis to his family and evening guests in his home (flashback footage from The Mummy's Hand appears as Banning tells his tale). As he concludes his narrative of the successful destruction of the creature, the scene switches back to the tombs of Egypt. Surviving their supposed demise, Andoheb (George Zucco) explains the legend of Kharis (Lon Chaney, Jr.) to his follower, Mehemet Bey (Turhan Bey). After passing on the instructions for the use of the tana leaves, and assigning the task of terminating the remaining members of the Banning expedition and their descendants, Andoheb expires. Bey and Kharis leave Egypt for the journey to the United States.

Bey takes the caretaker's job at the Mapleton cemetery, sets up shop, and administers the tana brew to Kharis. The monster sets out to avenge the desecration of Ananka's tomb. His first victim is Stephen Banning, whom the creature kills as the aging archaeologist prepares for bed. As the sheriff (Cliff Clark) and coroner (Emmett Vogan) can't come up with a lead to the killer, newspapermen converge on Mapleton to learn more about the story. Babe Hanson (Wallace Ford) arrives on the scene after learning of his friend's death.

When Jane Banning (Mary Gordon), Steve's sister, is killed, Hanson is convinced it is the work of a mummy. Meeting with the sheriff and coroner, Hanson is unable to convince them of the identity of the culprit. He tells his story to a newspaperman at the local bar, but is himself dispatched by Kharis almost immediately afterwards. Dr John Banning (John Hubbard) enlists the help of Professor Norman (Frank Reicher) to solve the puzzle of the "grayish mark" found on the victims' throats. Norman's test results prove that Hanson was right: the substance was indeed mold from a mummy.

Meanwhile, Bey has plans of his own. Knowing that Banning and his girlfriend, Isobel Evans (Elyse Knox) are planning to marry, he sets out to disrupt their nuptials. Bey himself has become smitten with Isobel, and sends Kharis on a mission to bring her to him. Kharis initially balks, but finally adheres to Bey's command. In the dark of the night, the monster stealthily enters the Evans's home and abducts the fainting girl to the cemetery caretaker's hut. Bey unveils his plan to the reluctant Isobel, that she is to become his bride, as a "High Priest of Karnak", and bear him an heir to the royal line.

Banning and the rest of the townspeople have become convinced that their recent Egyptian immigrant may be involved in the crimes. Arriving in force, they confront Bey outside the hut. Kharis slips away with Isobel unbeknownst to the horde, and Bey attempts to shoot Banning, but is himself gunned down by the sheriff. The creature is observed heading toward the Banning estate, and the group begins pursuit, many bearing torches. Inside the home, Banning holds Kharis at bay with a torch while he rescues Isobel from the mummy's grasp, but inadvertently sets fire to some curtains. With the aid of the sheriff and coroner, John and Isobel escape via a trellis as Kharis pursues them out onto the upstairs balcony. The townspeople keep the mummy from similarly escaping by hurling additional torches at him, and the monster perishes in the flames of the thoroughly consumed house.

Banning and Isobel wed in short order, as he has received his draft notice and is due to report for his tour of duty in World War II.


Production and release[edit]

The Mummy's Tomb was the first of Lon Chaney, Jr.'s three appearances as Kharis the mummy and the first sequel to The Mummy's Hand (in which Tom Tyler played Kharis). Filming began June 1, 1942. Chaney disliked the role of Kharis the mummy. Make-up artist Jack Pierce spent up to eight hours each day wrapping Chaney in artificially-aged gauze. Instead of the painstaking, cotton-based makeup used on Boris Karloff and Tom Tyler in Universal's earlier Mummy films, Chaney wore a rubber mask. For unknown reasons, Wallace Ford's character's name is changed from Jenson from the previous film to Hanson in this film. The story was continued in the 1944 film, The Mummy's Ghost.

The film was released on October 23, 1942 by Universal Pictures on a double bill with Night Monster. It was re-released in February, 1948 by Universal through Realart Pictures [1] and went to television as part of the original Shock Theater package of 52 Universal titles syndicated in 1957.

Critical reaction[edit]

In recent times, Tim Janson of The SciFi Movie Page gave The Mummy's Tomb 3 1/4 stars. He writes, "Lon Chaney Jr., was a welcome addition as Kharis. He was physically more imposing than Tom Tyler or Boris Karloff".


  1. ^ Internet Movie Database Trivia

External links[edit]