The Mummy;s Tomb (1942) poster

The Mummy’s Tomb (1942)


USA. 1942.


Director – Harold Young, Screenplay – Griffin Jay & Henry Sucher, Story – Neil P. Varnick, Photography (b&w) – George Robinson, Music Director – H.J. Salter, Makeup – Jack Pierce, Art Direction – Jack Ottersen. Production Company – Universal.


Lon Chaney [Jr] (Kharis), John Hubbard (Dr John Banning), Turhan Bey (Mehemet Bey), Elyse Knox (Isobel Evans), Dick Foran (Stephen Banning), Wallace Ford (Babe Hanson), George Zucco (Andoheb)


It is thirty years after the Banning expedition to Egypt to find the tomb of Princess Ananka. Mehemet Bey, a disciple of the cult of Akran, travels to the town of Mapleton with the mummy of Kharis to exact revenge on the aging Stephen Banning and his family. While there, Bey becomes obsessed with Isobel Evans, the fiancee of Banning’s son John, and determines that she will be his immortal bride.

The Mummy’s Tomb was the third of Universal’s Mummy films. Like all the films that would follow it (see below), it is a direct sequel to The Mummy’s Hand (1940) rather than the original The Mummy (1932). It also introduces Lon Chaney Jr in the part of the mummy Kharis, a role he would also play in the two subsequent films.

Every Universal Mummy films from The Mummy’s Hand onwards was thoroughly routine, but The Mummy’s Tomb is the dreariest of them all. The plot is the most routine and least standout of the series. Sadly, the most exciting the film ever gets is during the footage that has been taken direct from The Mummy’s Hand. There is a good 10-15 minutes of this material – although in a film like this, which is only 71 minutes long, this amounts to nearly a quarter of the total running time.

The darkly handsome Turhan Bey has a certain presence as the high priest – the one feature of this entry is that it has no reincarnations of Princess Ananka, rather Bey just gets horny and decides to make heroine Elyse Knox into his immortal bride. Lon Chaney Jr’s Kharis is a dull shuffler without threat.

Kharis (Lon Chaney Jr) and Mehemet Bey (Turhan Bey) in The Mummy's Tomb (1942)
(l to r) Kharis (Lon Chaney Jr) and Mehemet Bey (Turhan Bey)

The film becomes moderately exciting at the climax with Kharis is pursued through a graveyard and into an antebellum mansion where the villagers then burn the whole house down. The film was made during World War II and amusingly has the hero deciding to do his patriotic duty and go off to enlist for the War effort and marry the heroine before he leaves.

The other Universal Mummy films are:– The Mummy’s Ghost (1944), The Mummy’s Curse (1944) and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955).

Harold Young worked as a director between the 1930s and 1950s. His other genre works include the wax museum horror The Frozen Ghost (1945) also starring Lon Chaney Jr, another Universal horror sequel with Jungle Captive (1945) and the live-action segments of Disney’s The Three Caballeros (1945)

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