Beware… The Mummy’s Curse (1944)

Universal, who after making four movies with this one being the fifth, decided to retire Kharis and their mummy franchise in favour of other things as it seemed that people perhaps, were not as enamoured with mummies as much as they were at an earlier time. Whatever the case, last film or not, The Mummy’s Curse would go out on a high note as a solidly produced horror film.  It was not the best of the bunch, but at least the series ended with a bit of finality and did not leave its fans thinking that there could be more, though the door was certainly open to do so.  In reality, if you look back at all of them, they all ended with our monster getting destroyed, or at least seemingly to have been, yet as with all Universal monster  movies, if they could make money by doing another film, then you knew that no matter what fate the creature might have met, he was bound to come back.

The Mummy's Curse21In his final outing, Kharis has survived his ordeal in the swamp and is revived to do the bidding of Zandaab and his cohort Ragheb and it is hopeful that without too much trouble, Kharis and Ananka can return home to Egypt.  The problem remains in finding Ananka and luckily, she rises from the dead after being unearthed by a bulldozer with little to no memory of who she is or who she was.  That soon comes back to her though, as does Kharis and not everything goes exactly as planned.  It all comes down to treachery in the end and one final act before Kharis lives no more.

The Mummy's Curse38Though most might see Kharis as the villain of the picture, once more played by Lon Chaney, Jr., the big bad is actually portrayed by Martin Kosleck as Ragheb.  Kosleck was a fantastic actor who always played a perfect villain and in this film, his talents were used to full effect.  Chaney for his part had little to do much like in the previous two films, but somebody had to wear the bandages, stumble about and strangle people.  What was nice to see as well was that Chaney’s makeup was as effective as ever and while he was somewhat creepy to look at, Kosleck needed no makeup to make you dislike him intensely.  Peter Coe, Kay Harding and Dennis Moore would also star as the good guys of the picture with Virginia Christine as Ananka and while they all did a fine job, Christine especially, your attention was more solidly upon the mute Kharis than anyone else and is the reason most would choose to watch this movie in the first place.

Directing this final picture would be Leslie Goodwins and it would turn out to be a fairly suspenseful little film with a lot of great moments and a spectacular finale.  There is one really fantastic scene where Virigina Christine playing the ancient princess, would rise from the earth after being exposed, covered from head to toe in mud and would shamble towards the lake where she might wash off, almost as if she were about to break in two.  It is a very eerie moment; one that elicits horror more than almost any other in the movie is one that you would not forget anytime soon.  It is in fact one of the most memorable scenes from any of Universal’s Mummy films and if they had featured more such as that, perhaps they could have squeezed a couple of more sequels out.  As it is, The Mummy’s Curse was an enjoyable and effective bookend to the series and would be the last mummy film until fifty-some years after this, when Universal would resurrect their Mummy series to great success until finally putting it too to rest after it wound its eventual course.   Of course, there would be Hammer Films in the meantime for those needing a mummy fix.

3.5 out of 5

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