Mummy’s Ghost, The (1944)
Cast: Lon Chaney, John Carradine, Robert Lowery, Ramsay Ames, Barton Maclane, George Zucco
Director: Reginald Le Borg
Nutshell: More Taana leaves, shuffling Mummies, ancient Curses and nasty foreigners spoiling the peace and calm of pristine Mapleton, Massachusetts.
The Mummy franchise sprouted a third sequel with the release of 1944’s The Mummy’s Ghost with Lon Chaney reprising his role as the marauding Mummy and George Zucco making a final appearance as the devilish Egyptian High Priest. The film starts with the ailing High Priest handing over the responsibility of continuing the mission to avenge the desecration of Princess Ananka’s Tomb to his most trusted disciple played by John Carradine.
There are the usual instructions about the Taana leaves and the movement of the moon and soon enough there are sightings of a deathly shadow moving through the sleepy town of Mapleton just as there had been a quarter of a century before. It doesn’t take long for the police to suspect that the Mummy has been resurrected somehow and is once again spreading terror through the community as it had done all those years ago.
Early suspicion falls on an unlikely research assistant at the local college who is of Egyptian origin and who has a difficult time explaining her whereabouts at the time of the murder. Each time there is a mere mention of the word Egypt the woman seems to feel woozy and feint and each time the Mummy strikes, she lapses into a dreamlike state, almost mesmerized. Clearly, she has some bond or tie to the Princess Ananka or indeed could she be the reincarnation of Ananka herself?
The Mummy continues its killing spree and then makes off with the Egyptian beauty (Ramsay Ames) and heads for the swamp. The climax arrives with the scenes reminiscent of the original Frankenstein film with villagers arriving with torches and cornering the monster into a final showdown. The question is will the lovely Amina be saved from the deathly clutches of Kharis in time or will she have to pay the price for her connection to the great Amon Ra?
This time around there is a satisfying amount of Mummy action as Lon Chaney staggers around menacingly and relentlessly, brushing off bullets as though he was swatting a fly. The townsfolk appear to have forgotten that bullets may not work against this monster but fire certainly ended his reign in the two previous movies rather swiftly. This time the thought that they might just throw a match in his direction doesn’t seemingly occur to them, or maybe Kharis has developed some immunity to fire.
The Mummy’s Ghost is pretty much more of the same with no new surprises or punches for the audience and by the third sequel one can imagine that audiences were beginning to feel a sense of déjà vu with exactly the same plot and scenario being repeated over and over again with diminishing box office results. The Mummy legend was beginning to feel more than a little repetitive by now and a shuffling Egyptian relic not quite so threatening in a world about to witness the detonation of Nuclear Bombs. Yet Universal Studios remained quite happy with the returns they were making off the Mummy series and a further sequel was in production almost as soon as this one was completed.
This installment is perfectly entertaining, clocking in at just 60 minutes but it contains nothing new to excite audiences with and is basically the same old wine in the same old bottle.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the film was that the deliciously named Acquanetta was to play the role of the Egyptian girl but fell on a rock which she mistakenly thought was Papier Mache and was injured and thus ruled out of the movie as the producers refused to wait until she recovered. Any film starring someone with a name as exotic as Acquanetta, AKA The Venezuelan Volcano has to be worth watching!