31 Weeks to Halloween: The Mummy's Curse (1944)
Resurrected in horror! Rising out of death! Egypt's ancient lovers live again in evil to fulfill the Mummy's Curse!
For the last few weeks, as part of our countdown to Halloween series, we've seen quite a few Mummy films - this weeks film being the fifth of the franchise. The original Mummy film debuted in 1932, however the last three of these films were all sequels (and part of a continuing story) of the 1940 film, The Mummy's Hand. But this week, that storyline comes to a close as THE MUMMY'S CURSE closes out the Mummy storyline and finally lays to rest the ongoing terrifying tale of Kharis and his Princess Ananka. The Mummy's Hand, quite honestly, doesn't really tell a story we haven't seen before or leave anything surprising or unpredictable, but don't write it off too quickly; the film is actually a decent little story filled with some very likable characters, plenty of Mummy on-screen time, plenty of Princess Ananka on-screen time, and some really wicked action shots! While the film has gotten some criticism for the usage of footage from the previous films The Mummy and The Mummy's Hand, honestly for me, I totally understand why it was included and it does a great job at setting up the storyline for the rest of the film; however, chances are audiences who are watching this movie have seen the previous movies, but in case they didn't, the quick recap brings the storyline up to speed and lays out what's about to unfold. While not the best, but far from the worst, The Mummy's Curse is a surprisingly great, short little film that is satisfying enough to justify a rental and your time, as I think the presence of so much actual Mummy footage makes the movie totally worth it.
Directed by Leslie Goodwins, The Mummy's Curse brings Lon Chaney Jr. back from the dead as Kharis, the Mummy who is eternally seeking out his Princess Ananka so they can, once again, be together forever. Long story short, there's a swamp being drained and there's museum representatives who show up to the location convinced that the workers will find the missing bodies of the two mummies. Turns out they were right, and the mummies have both risen from their graves and roam the Earth. Kharis is in the hands of the Arkam sect, who once again use tana leaves to bring Kharis to life and urge him to seek out and return the Princess to their tomb. But Ananka, after awakening, is found by townsfolk and brought to the town for medical attention - only problem is she has no idea who she is or how she got there. Occasionally she'll fall into a trance calling out to Kharis, but she snaps out of it and has no idea what she's doing. The rest of the film essentially follows Kharis roaming the town seeking out his missing Princess with hopes to return with her so they can rest eternally together, as Ananka battles with her own identity crisis and figuring out why she knows the name Kharis in the first place, as a bunch of outsiders fight for their attention and protection. Will Kharis ever be able to fully reunite with his love, or will Princess Ananka assimilate into the rest of society?! Find out in... THE MUMMY'S CURSE!
Like I said before, there's a decent amount of footage from the previous films included in this movie which help set up the story that follows, and it's during these flashbacks that you'll realize that in all five of these movies, you never really see a ton of Princess Ananka on screen time. She finally gets her time to shine as the gorgeous Virginia Christine brings the character to life, both in mummy wraps and out out of them. She is such a sweetheart of a character, and she keeps managing to escape the terrifying grasp of Kharis. While she almost steals the show, obviously the main attraction to these movies is, and always has been, Lon Chaney Jr. as The Mummy himself, and this film has so many phenomenal shots (including many closeups) of Kharis; if you like the way Chaney looks as The Mummy, you're gonna be in for a treat as he looks absolutely fucking terrifying in this film and you'll get plenty of chances to see him in all of his horrifying glory. No lie, this might be the best he's ever looked and this film might have some of the best shots of him in the whole franchise. The film is worth it for that alone!
If you've seen the previous Mummy films and weren't a fan, this one's not going to do much for you, to be honest. All of these movies, regardless of writers and directors, play out pretty much the same way and if you didn't like the others, this one won't change your opinion either. However, if you are a fan of the Mummy series, you're in for a treat because The Mummy's Curse is both a satisfying standalone film and a satisfying end to the series. The Mummy has become a beloved character and all of the sick wandering, grabbing and passion he has for Ananka makes for yet another hell of a movie. I thought the story was pretty creative, though basic, and the tie-ins to the previous films make the movie just a little extra special. All in all, however, The Mummy's Curse makes for a fantastic monster movie and for only being an hour long, it's worth your time. Check it out!!!