“The vultures will pick the flesh off your bones! When Kharis learns of your treachery!”
THE MUMMYS CURSE.
Directed by Leslie Goodwin.
1944's "The Mummy's Curse" was the fourth and last of the Kharis series, third to star Lon Chaney in the title role, and the only one not included in Universal's popular SHOCK! television package, having to wait for 1958's SON Of SHOCK, the same fate that befell beloved classics like "Bride of Frankenstein," "The Ghost of Frankenstein," and "House of Dracula." Going from a Massachusetts swamp to the Louisiana bayou is certainly a stretch, but not as much as setting the date an incredible 25 years later. The unexceptional Peter Coe ("House of Frankenstein") is this film's bland High Priest of Arkham, Ilzor Zandaab (his screen time quite limited), his recent disciple, the lascivious Ragheb (Martin Kosleck), providing all the knife wielding villainy to spice up the proceedings. An excavation of the swamp leaves one man dead, the knife still in his back, and a space just large enough for a mummy; shortly afterwards, another finds a hand emerging from its burial place, revealing the now revived Princess Ananka (Virginia Christine), who had gone down with Kharis at the conclusion of "The Mummy's Ghost." Making her way to a nearby lake, the Princess emerges perfectly coiffured (every hair in place!), if a bit wet and amnesiac, spelling death for all those who take her in. There are solid roles for veterans Addison Richards, Holmes Herbert, Kurt Katch, Charles Stevens, William Farnum, and Ann Codee, criminally unbilled as Tante Berthe. Popular years later playing Mrs. Olsen in the Folgers commercials, Virginia Christine scores impressively as Ananka (her natural blonde locks hidden under a jet black wig), light years better than the insipid Ramsay Ames in "The Mummy's Ghost" (her other Universal horror was the doomed prostitute who encounters Rondo Hatton's Creeper in 1946's "House of Horrors"). This marked the end of Kay Harding's brief stardom at Universal ("Weird Woman," "The Scarlet Claw"), while Martin Kosleck, previously seen in the still unissued "The Frozen Ghost," continued his scene stealing ways in "Pursuit to Algiers," "House of Horrors," and "She-Wolf of London." For a role he so fervently despised, Lon Chaney's Mummy again fares well, his frustration palpable, continuously (even comically) one step behind his beloved Princess (the climax finds them both headed permanently to Manhattan's Scripps Museum). This appears to have been the most popular of his three outings, reprising the role in 1959's Mexican "La Casa del Terror" and on television's ROUTE 66 (the 1962 Halloween broadcast "Lizard's Leg and Owlet's Wing," opposite Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre). "The Mummy's Curse" made a total of six appearances on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater- Sept 25 1965 (following 1963's "Battle Beyond the Sun"), Feb 10 1968 (following 1933's "The Invisible Man"), Sept 30 1972 (following 1944's "House of Frankenstein"), Jan 25 1975 (following 1960's "The Lost World"), Sept 20 1975 (following 1969's "Godzilla's Revenge"), and Apr 23 1977 (following 1935's "Bride of Frankenstein").