The Mummy's Curse (1944)

OCTOBER 22, 2009


Rebounding slightly from the last film, The Mummy’s Curse is still far too similar to the previous two entries, and despite numerous attempts to create its own identity, screenwriter Bernard Schubert unfortunately relied too often on scenes we’ve seen 3-4 times now. Old man explaining Tana leaves? Check. Frankenstein-esque finale? Check. Mummy bursting into a tent, killing someone and scaring away his intended target? Check! It’s all here; the 1940’s equivalent of someone in a Star Wars film saying “I have a bad feeling about this....”

But like I said, it’s a bit better than the last one, thanks to a different setting (New Orleans!) and a few new elements added to the mix. For starters, they wait a full FOURTEEN minutes to get to the standard Tana leaves segment, and there is also a better than usual explanation for how the Mummy was revived (perhaps to make up for the fact that he drowned in New England but resurfaced in New Orleans - a skill he apparently passed on to Jason Voorhees). They also add a horribly stereotypical black guy, who makes bug eyed faces whenever he can and generally runs around like a disabled person, scared out of his mind at every sight and sound. I consider this a benefit to the film only because it helps give it its own identity - I am still pretty put off by these type of characters as a rule. He’s not as bad as Mantan Moreland in King Of The Zombies, but it still makes me embarrassed to watch.

Also the human villain guy sounds a lot like Vincent Price, which is awesome. Whenever he had a particularly sneer-y line I just pretended it WAS Price and had a grand old time. I was also tickled by a particular line about halfway through the film, after our Mrs. Goldberg-esque bartender lady (who opens the film by singing a song to all the bar patrons) is found killed. Without a hint of irony, someone cries “I don’t know why someone would want to kill her, she’s always singing and trying to make people happy!” You just answered your own question dude. I would probably want to kill someone who kept singing when I was trying to talk to friends at a bar, too.

It was around this point that I realized the timeline of this series was particularly wonky, with each film taking place anywhere from 5-30 years after the one before it, despite the fact that they were all released in a 4 year span (ignoring the unrelated ‘original’ movie anyway). I double checked with IMDb, and indeed, if the timeline was followed correctly, the setting for this movie would be about 1997 (which coincidentally is around the time Universal began putting together the Sommers update).

The Dracula and Frankenstein series were pretty much consistent in their value, but Mummy was largely hit or miss, due to a more careless approach to continuity and inexplicable rushing of the films (both this and Ghost came out in 1944). I think depending on the same Mummy every time out (again, disregarding the Karloff original) crippled the series’ creativity; they should have just had new people in a new locale find a new Mummy and see what else they could do differently. Oh well. At any rate, now with all five films out of the way, I have finished off my Mummy collection, and will now try to get Invisible Man or Creature From The Black Lagoon’s similar sets and work on those franchises. All hail Universal!

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