Horror

More Real Than You Think – The Mummy’s Ghost (1944)

The Mummy's Ghost1
The Mummy’s Ghost begins like the two previous films with the old priest passing on the responsibilities of looking after Kharis, who is indeed still alive, and the Princess Ananka to a new caretaker. Yousef Bey is then tasked with bringing the two home so that they might rest in peace as the previous mission, to eliminate everyone from the expedition who unearthed them, is complete. The story is somewhat familiar, at least for those that might have seen the previous movies, yet thankfully writers Griffin Jay and Henry Sucher introduce some new characters and situations to keep things a little fresh and a little different to what had been seen before. As The Mummy’s Tomb was quite similar to The Mummy’s Hand and even this film when it began, it was nice to see it veer off into territory that was a little more original.

The Mummy's Ghost44A staple of all the Mummy films has been the idea of reincarnation, they all feature one said mummy walking around at the very least, yet this is the first one where it really deals with that of the eternal soul, namely Ananka’s. There is a moment in the movie that makes little sense, but then when it comes to monster movies they really do not have to be the most logical of things, where Kharis goes to pick up the body of his dearly departed princess and she simply turns to dust. It is said to have done that because her soul has fled and it now inhabits a new body, that of Amina played by Ramsay Ames. While it is great to see the film explore a little bit more of this mystic phenomenon, especially as it really adds to the mythos of the series, the fact that Ananka’s body was simply held together over the years by her soul is a little silly. Out of everything in the entire film, this was the only weak spot. It was not a big one nor was it even one that lasted for more than a moment, but it was kind of illogical.

The Mummy's Ghost16Directed by Reginald Le Borg, this picture would continue the Mummy’s foray back into straight horror, forgoing all of the comedy that had come before it. It looked great with an ample use of light and dark and good cinematography, with a decent soundtrack and a slow-building tension that would continue until the eventual final showdown with Kharis come the end of the film. One of the best things about the whole picture was the ending in fact, as it was something quite different than what had come before. It also proved that either Kharis was indeed a monster or that he truly loved his princess as their final fates were entwined. It was in fact the best ending to have been seen out of them all, excluding the Karloff original, and if they were to have ended the series at this point, it would have been perfect. As it is, there was still one more film to come before Universal would put Kharis to rest, so to speak.

Lon Chaney Jr. would return in his second outing as the Mummy and he would be joined by George Zucco once again as the high priest, Robert Lowery, Barton MacLane, the aforementioned Ramsay Ames and John Carradine as Yousef Bey, a strange role for him to take if ever there were one. You factor in this talented cast to the mix and The Mummy’s Ghost turned out to be a pretty captivating horror film that was not only enjoyable, but quite exciting by the time it reached its conclusion.

3.5 out of 5

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