Halloween Endurance Test: the Mummy’s Tomb (1942)
More dirt on the grave of the Mummy. The source film is completely forgotten here, with the introductory flashback referencing only (the superior) the Mummy’s Hand. Staged thirty years later, the former heartthrob tells his family his tale of how he came to international renown in the archeological community. (Fighting a real-life mummy will do that for you.) An early sign of greatness? Some of the man’s flashbacks are of scenes he wasn’t in! Memories in the third person!
It turns out the Egyptian high priest who keeps the Mummy running on magic oil wasn’t killed when he was shot three or four times at the end of The Mummy’s Hand. The bullets, fired at point blank range, only ruined his left arm. (Apparently the backwards fall down a mountain’s-worth of stairs didn’t break or hurt his neck either.)
Thirty years later, and the priest has recovered enough to enact his revenge. A revenge that sounds suspiciously similar to his original plan. I.e. waking up the Mummy, and set it loose on his enemies. The majority of whom had died in the three intervening decades! (All except the The Mummy’s Hand‘s protagonist, who doesn’t look or act thirty years older.)
You have to love the short transitory scene with a wolf howling at the full moon. Mid-howl, the wolf turns its head down, ruining the effect along with the syncing. Gotta love that “roll with it” attitude!
Then the mummy shambles past two teenagers necking at lover’s lane! It’s as if they took their horror character and just gave him free reign through Universal’s backlot! Now he’s slowly walking through a Western! This might be the most inspired Mummy movie yet!
Babe Hanson, the spry, wise-cracking, magic-practicing Brooklynite from the Mummy’s Hand shows up next. 30 years has done a job on the man’s brain though, as he seems to have trouble accepting the police’s less than favorable reaction to him telling them there’s a mummy running around town. I know that we are still 40-50 years from when Wes Craven broached the idea of character’s noting that they’re characters in New Nightmare and finalized it in Scream, but still. Couldn’t have at least have had Hanson admit to the police that he knows the truth sounds crazy.
Another Frankenstein theft! The mummy kidnaps the Mummy’s Hand‘s (now deceased) protagonist’s son’s fiance. In a scene stolen straight out of Frankenstein. Though I guess if you’re going to steal, you’d want to steal from the best; i.e. James Whale.
They even have the townspeople (read: villagers) chase him with torches! Leaving him trapped on the second floor of a burning mansion! Three movies in, and we have the finest Mummy death/immolation scene yet. Lon Chaney earns his reputation as an actor. I think I just fell in love with this film!