Sunday, October 28, 2018
Halloween Watch: The Mummy's Tomb (1942)
Well, this is a bit surprising. The Mummy's Tomb (1942) is a direct sequel to The Mummy's Hand (1940). The lack of continuity in the Wolfman and Dracula movies (and, honestly, the shoddy continuity in the Creature from the Black Lagoon flicks) provided me with some false expectations, and so I just wasn't expecting Universal to bother. But, yeah, it's a direct continuation, picking up supposedly 30 years later (placing the original tomb-raiding in 1910, I suppose) and with our stars from The Mummy's Hand in passable old-age make-up. And, as VCRs and TV didn't really exist, there's a whole flashback sequence at the beginnging where one of our leads from the first movie tells the story (with scenes from the film cut in) so we can all catch up.
The movie is more or less a kid's picture, or at least the horror and violence is pretty minimal, but is still there. Mummy's gonna mummy, I suppose.
The villain we believed killed at the end of The Mummy's Hand (which I have seen) has been biding his time and now sends a young apprentice and Kharis (the actual mummy) to America to seek out the party of people who ruined their plans for evil. He'll kill not just the heroes of the first movie, but all their relations as well.
Well, spoilers I guess, but the mummy finally does kill the lead chisel-chinned archaeologist Steve Banning from the first movie, which... patience is a virtue, I guess? And what's 30 years when you're already about 3000? But, yeah, it's always weird when a movie kills the characters from a prior movie like it's no big thing (ask me about Alien 3 sometime).
The rest is folks figuring out that the Mummy they thought they killed in Egypt 30 years ago is now in the U.S. and up to no good.
I'm not exactly a raging Long Chaney Jr. fan, so having him mute and trying to live up to dear-old-dad's legend by undergoing an intense make-up job as not just a mummy, but a burned and worse-for-wear mummy with a sort of bum arm is okay by me if he's only making the occasional grunting sound. And, unlike Karloff's monsters, Chaney Jr. isn't going to draw much sympathy for Kharis - dude's an undead killing machine without much in the way of a personality.
The "evil" Egyptian guy might actually have a case to make about grave robbing and cheese-headed Americans pillaging his country of its treasures. His American awakening and realization of sexual desires is treated with a sort of "fear of the East" and "not White dudes want our women", but it's kind of interesting to consider this guy breaking out from his cultural conditioning out on his own, even if that means he tries to use Kharis as his aggressive go-between for picking up (read: kidnapping) women.
What's weird is that this is a wartime movie - like, Japan and Germany were huge international threats, and someone decided what America needed was more mummies. Which, sure. There's some discussion of the war in the movie, including someone getting their orders to report for duty.
Anyway - a curious next chapter and I don't know why I've waited so long to watch more mummy movies.