Rewatching the Universal Monsters! The ones on the Blu-ray box, at least. Good ol’ Kharis is back in The Mummy’s Tomb.
Here’s what happens: Taking place 30 years (!) after The Mummy’s Hand, we catch up with those characters as they come up with more magical Tana leaves with another plot to revive Kharis the Mummy. This time, one Kharis’ cult followers takes the mummy to the USA, to the small town of Mapleton, to enact revenge on the previous movie’s archeologists and their families.
Monster!: After playing the Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s monster, Lon Cheney Jr. continues his tour through the monster roles by playing Kharis. You wouldn’t know it’s him though, as the filmmakers decided to have him wear a Kharis mask instead of makeup. The good news is that Kharis gets a lot of screentime in this one, sneaking around in the dark and strangling his victims one-by-one.
Also a monster!: Actor Turhan Bey plays Mehemet Bey, the cultist who serves as Kharis’ master. His revenge plot takes a creepy turn when he becomes obsessed with the hero’s fiancé, but it does set up the big third-act confrontation.
Our hero: John, the son of the first movie’s hero, eventually emerges as the protagonist this time. He’s not too shaken up about all the deaths around him, romancing his fiancé and happy to be offered a new job in Washington DC.
Hapless humans: There’s a bunch of folks around John’s household who serve as victim fodder for Kharis. We’ve also got an odd “cops vs. the press” subplot about the town being overrun by crime reporters trying to solve the murders.
Thrills: There’s a real slasher movie vibe to this one, with Kharis sneaking around at night, killing folks one by one. The conclusion is especially great, where a torch-wielding mob (in present times?) chases Kharis to a mansion which then catches on fire. Kharis then fights John and the cops on the mansion balcony as it burns all around them. Awesome.
Laughs: Babe, who was the comic relief in Hand, is back for more, only less wacky and more haunted by his previous adventures. He manages to show some of his quirky self when chatting with the crime reporters, though.
Thoughts upon this viewing: The Universal Monster sequels are often criticized for being diminished returns, and I can see it with this one. It feels cheap, and it relies way too much on stock footage. That big finale at the mansion turns things around, however, and makes the movie worth seeing.
Next: They did the mash.
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