Yes this movie is reaped in formula and shuffles along a predicable path to its mortal conclusion, and yet it boasts some strong choices for a third instalment. Namely it’s decision to kill off its lead protagonists from the previous film, The Mummy’s Hand.
Bold in that it’s something you may not necessarily identify with a film from the 1940s, and in doing so, Universal Pictures once more indicates how readily it is to move away from the old and make way for the new despite only a two year gap between both movies.
The film like it’s predecessor delivers an exposition in the form of a flashback so that audiences can be brought up to speed with the franchise narrative. This tale is told from the perspective of Steve Banning (Dick Foran), the hero from The Mummy’s Hand, albeit now an elderly Gent who speaks to his sister, his son John (John Hubbard) and his son’s long term girlfriend Isobel (Elysse Knox). Essentially potential victims in the mix. At the same time we see another passing of the baton with Andoheb (George Zucco) guiding his protege Mehemet Bey (Turhan Bey) to reek revenge by restoring Kharis to destroy Banning and his family.
Stepping into the bandaged shoes that were once worn by horror legend Boris Karloff and Tom Tyler comes another legend in horror, Lon Chaney Jr, who had made a name for himself playing the tragic character Larry Talbot in The Wolf Man.
From here on in the film plays with a paint by numbers tale as Kharis is sent to enact revenge and killing off people one by one, starting with the first shock death of Steve Banning. Director Harold Young does a great job of amping up the tension as we the audience can see that Banning’s time is up and fate slowly wields it’s deathly hands around his throat.
In addition the demise of Babe Hanson (Wallace Ford) returns to add to the mythology and serves as a spanner in Bey’s plan and so has to be dispatched in, by the forties standards, gruesome fashion.
The storyline does try to throw in an added element with Bey falling for Isobel and his stunting his trajectory but for the most part it trudges along and delivers an all too predictable ending and underusing Chaney Jr serving as the prototype monster which is a shame.
– Saul Muerte