The Mummy's Tomb

The Mummy's Tomb ★★★½

With the exception of Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy, The Mummy's Tomb is probably my favorite of the original Universal Mummy series so far. Although the original has an absolutely superb opening, a great performance from Karloff and some cool cinematography energized by the director Karl Freund (who was the director of photography on my favorite Universal Monster movie, the 1931 Dracula), the rest I found a bit dull compared to the other iconic first entries in the Universal Monsters franchise. The Mummy's Hand I enjoyed a bit more since it embraced a cool classic adventure vibe, but The Mummy's Tomb, while unremarkable, is a film that gives me everything I want out of a Universal Monster movie. A monstrous performance from a great actor of the genre (in this case a Lon Chaney Jr. as Kharis the Mummy), some stellar cinematography of a creepily cool location (we get some Egyptian tombs and some graveyards), and a classic horror trope or two (angry mob!). Kharis is even wrapped up in linens and limps slowly to his prey, essentially what you dream of when you think of the iconic image of a mummy, something that surprised me was mostly absent from the past two entries. The plot itself, while executed in ways that for today's standards is campy as hell, was more interesting and gothic than most of the Universal Monster sequels usually have or deserve. There's a bunch of weaknesses of course, it's way too short, and the first fifteen minutes are dedicated to summing up the previous film, but there's a macabre charm to this installment that is great fun to me.