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  Mummy's Curse, The Princess Problems
Year: 1944
Director: Leslie Goodwins
Stars: Lon Chaney Jr, Peter Coe, Virginia Christine, Kay Harding, Dennis Moore, Martin Kosleck, Kurt Katch, Addison Richards, Holmes Herbert, Charles Stevens, William Farnum, Napoleon Simpson
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The local swamp is being drained, but the nearby Cajuns are suspicious about the curse of the Mummy Kharis (Lon Chaney Jr) who is supposed to have been buried there years ago with his the reincarnation of his bride Ananka (Virginia Christine). The foreman, Pat Walsh (Addison Richards) is extremely sceptical that there ever were such people wandering the swamps, but his workmen are not so convinced, especially as one of their number is missing. However, Walsh may be convinced when two representatives of the museum, Dr Ilzor Zandaab (Peter Coe) and Dr James Halsey (Dennis Moore) appear wishing to investigate the mystery. And when one of Walsh's men turns up dead...

This was the last of Universal's Mummy series, at least until Bud Abbott and Lou Costello met him a few years later, and after the ignominy of being relegated to last place in the cast list in the previous entry, Lon Chaney Jr had his name top-billed this time around. Not that he had much more to do, of course - how many times could he carry a white-nightgown-clad young woman into that swamp? But this time there was the novelty of a female counterpart in Ananka who didn't have the monster's irascible demeanour and in fact didn't know who she really was.

We have to have a high priest, and this time it was that fez-sporting doctor Sandaab who was undercover as a museum official. Coe is the least of the Universal high priests and noticeably uncharismatic (couldn't they have asked George Zucco back?), which is a pity as he possibly has more screen time than his predecessors. He has a henchman in the shape of Ragheb (Martin Kosleck, still with his German accent) who does his dirty work for him, muscling in on Kharis' act by killing off anyone unlucky enough to get in the way. What this unlovely lot want is to track down Princess Ananka and stick her in a coffin so she can have eternal rest with ex-boyfriend Kharis.

The Princess is buried in that swamp, and there's a pretty good sequence of her resurrection where Christine emerges from the mud and jerkily makes her way to the nearest pond where she can clean off. Sadly, she has amnesia but the workers and Cajuns take her under their wing, with Dr Halsey surprised at her knowledge of Ancient Egypt if nothing else. However, this plot innovation doesn't disguise the fact that The Mummy's Curse is business as usual, with Chaney shuffling his way towards a selection of cast members and getting to strangle a few of them. Any note of pathos that Kharis and his unfortunate love life could have sounded are largely ignored, as he's simply a threat to be trundled on whenever the story needs another thrill. This isn't terrible, but it does look like it came off a production line.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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