The Mummy's Ghost (1944)

OCTOBER 13, 2009


The Mummy series isn’t as fondly loved as Dracula or Frankenstein, and with The Mummy’s Ghost, it’s easy to see why. Maybe because I am watching these movies more or less back to back (as opposed to ‘waiting’ two years in between, as their original audiences had to) it’s easier to see, but they are all pretty much the same movie, and Ghost is almost a COMPLETE copy of Tomb (right down to a subtitle that doesn’t make a lot of sense - he’s not a ghost, he’s just sort of fucked up from dying in the previous movie). It even looks like the same goddamn house (which I am also convinced is in the spot on the Uni lot that is now Wisteria Lane).

And I remain baffled why these movies are so opposed to developing the human villains. I figured since this one was played by John Carradine that he would get a little more screen time and/or meatier characterization, but no - like the two before him, he merely arrives from somewhere, walks up to George Zucco’s cave, learns about Tana leaves, and more or less sits on the sidelines for the rest of the movie. Instead, we spend lots of predictable time with our hero and his gal (Amina, a reincarnation of an Egyptian goddess or some such nonsense) and once again on the townsfolk who are looking to destroy the Monster. To be fair, they don’t use torches this time; the newspaper calls for a posse of “Able-bodied men” and they show up in droves, but they brandish traditional weapons and flashlights instead of traditional yet anachronistic items.

The similarities to earlier monster movies are again quite distracting. Chief among them is Amina’s hair, which takes on a very Elsa Lanchester look to it as the film progresses. Added to the Mummy’s increasing Frankenstein Monster-y appearance, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a film in that series (come to think of it - why didn’t they ever have the Mummy “VS.” or “Meet” any of the other monsters? Abbott doesn't count.). And the finale, most of which occurs on a rickety tower of some sort, certainly resembles King Kong at times. Also, the “bunch of old guys try to find a cure” type scenes reek of Dracula outtakes.

In the plus column, the film is once again only 61 minutes, which keeps the pace moving (and unlike the last movie, there isn’t a lengthy flashback to kick things off - the plot may be the same but the footage is all new, baby!). And the ending features a surprise death that makes this more of a bummer that the continually lighthearted previous film. And I know I am usually won over by downer endings, but the film as a whole is just too much of a retread of Tomb (with a much lower body count to boot) to really qualify as a win.

Good makeup on the Mummy though.

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