Monday, October 27, 2014

Mummy Monday | The Mummy's Curse (1944)

Who's In It: Lon Chaney Jr (The Mummy's Tomb), Peter Coe (House of Frankenstein), and Virginia Christine (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?).

What It's About: The final high priest of Arkham (Coe) makes a last ditch effort to recover the mummies of Kharis (Chaney) and Princess Ananka (Christine).

How It Is: So much for the Mummy series getting better with each movie. Looks like Ghost was the pinnacle.

Not that Curse is horrible. From a pure plot standpoint, I like how it continues the saga. The swamp where Kharis disappeared with Ananka in Ghost is being drained, which means that both mummies are able to move again, but they've gotten separated and Kharis has to track down Ananka. Sadly for him, she's got amnesia and he freaks her out. Various people from the swamp community try to protect her, but meet their doom one by one.

There's a different actor playing Ananka this time and the movie doesn't try to explain how she turns beautiful after becoming a withered hag at the end of Ghost. She emerges from the swamp mud in pretty rough shape, but a dip in clean water does wonders not only for her skin, but also her hair and clothing. My No Prize answer for how she becomes gorgeous is that the hag look may have simply been a cocoon effect as Ananka transformed from her reincarnated body (played by Ramsay Ames in Ghost) to her resurrected, original body (played by this movie's Virginia Christine).

One last thing I especially like about Curse is how the high priest doesn't fall in love with anyone this time. He's committed to his mission. Not that that's going to make him any more successful at it. And since this is the last in the series, it sounds like George Zucco doesn't have any more high priests in line after this one.

But even though I like the general story of Curse, everything else about it is a total mess. The continuity is the worst: jumping ahead another 25 years (there was also supposed to be a 30-year gap between Hand and Tomb) so that if The Mummy's Hand takes place in the year it was released, Curse has to take place in 1995! The setting has also inexplicably moved from Massachusetts to Louisiana, where a guy named Cajun Joe has a stereotypical Italian accent for some reason. And finally, it's tough to take the mummy seriously when his shambling has unintentionally comical consequences. There are a couple of goofy moments where he's trying really hard to get someone, but not only do people easily get away, they don't even see the mummy sneaking up behind them as they're leaving. He might as well be snapping his fingers in disappointment at losing them.

Rating: Three out of five promenading, preserved princesses.

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