Watch The Mummy's Tomb
- 1 hr 1 min
In 1942's The Mummy's Tomb, a group of New England archaeologists sets out to explore the ruins of an ancient Egyptian city. Things take a terrifying turn when they encounter the mummy of Kharis, a priest who was entombed alive for attempting to resurrect his beloved Princess Ananka through sacrifice. Kharis is awakened when the team breaks into his tomb and he sets his sights on avenging the desecration of his resting place.
The film is a direct sequel to Universal's 1940 hit The Mummy's Hand, and once again features Lon Chaney Jr. as the lumbering, bandaged Kharis. While not as famous as the original Boris Karloff-starring Mummy from 1932, the movie's status as a classic Universal horror film is secure.
One of the most notable aspects of The Mummy's Tomb is its tone. While The Mummy's Hand had contained elements of humor and adventure, the sequel is a much darker affair. The film begins with the ominous sight of Kharis being resurrected via an Egyptian ritual, and from there the mood only gets bleaker. The archaeologists, who are presented as the hero figures, are entirely outmatched by Kharis and his supernatural powers, leading to a feeling of hopelessness that pervades the latter half of the film.
One of the most effective sequences in the movie is a nighttime attack on an unsuspecting victim in the middle of a quiet town. The suspense is effectively built as Kharis slowly, methodically makes his way towards his prey, eventually crashing through a window in a scene that must have been quite startling for audiences in 1942.
Another highlight is Chaney's performance as Kharis. While he is obviously hindered by the bandages and makeup, Chaney manages to convey a surprising amount of emotion through his body language and eyes. There's a real sense of tragedy to the character, as he is driven by his love for Ananka and his desire for vengeance against those who have disturbed her tomb.
The human characters, on the other hand, are somewhat less memorable. Dick Foran stars as Steve Banning, the hero from The Mummy's Hand, but he's given little to do outside of reacting to Kharis' attacks. John Hubbard plays the more central role of John Bray, a young man who is in love with the daughter of one of the archaeologists. While he has a bit more to do than Foran, he's still a fairly bland and forgettable protagonist.
The female characters fare slightly better. Elyse Knox plays Isobel Evans, who is involved in a love triangle with Bray and the daughter of the lead archaeologist. While her character is somewhat underdeveloped, Knox has a strong screen presence and is easily one of the most engaging members of the cast. Turhan Bey plays Mehemet Bey, a sinister Egyptian who seems to be in league with Kharis. While he is somewhat hammy in his delivery, Bey is an entertaining presence and manages to inject a bit of energy into his scenes.
The Mummy's Tomb is directed by Harold Young, who had previously directed The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) and The Invisible Man Returns (1940). While he does well with the film's suspenseful set pieces, the pacing can sometimes feel slow and plodding. Additionally, the special effects and set design are somewhat underwhelming compared to the more ambitious productions that would follow in the years to come.
Overall, The Mummy's Tomb is a solid entry in the Universal horror canon, even if it lacks the iconic status of its predecessors. Lon Chaney Jr. gives a strong performance as Kharis, and the film's darker tone and suspenseful moments make it a worthwhile watch for fans of classic horror.
The Mummy's Tomb is a 1942 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 1 minute. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.5.