The Mummy’s Curse (1944)

*. The initial run of Universal Mummy movies, of which this is the last, weren’t very good individually and made for an incoherent serial. The Mummy’s Curse appears to be set in Louisiana, which is the only bayou Cajun country I know. However the previous films had been set in the New England town of Mapleton, which is where Kharis had last been seen walking into the swamp with his decaying bride. A bride who was also played by a different actress.
*. Even Ananka seems confused by all this. I guess it’s her split personality, but I was wondering why she was running away from Kharis at the start, since I thought her transformation had been complete. She’s really mixed up. But she does look good strolling through the swamp in her brilliant white-silk nightgown.
*. The worst thing about the bayou setting is it seasons the script with all kinds of grotesque accents and people speaking pidgin English. I really can’t stand listening to that. I mean, I could be offended by it for playing to racist stereotypes (like the black worker named “Goobie” who says things like how the lady is “done gone!”), but mainly I just think it sounds stupid. The creole here is awful.
*. The only time the series went for broad comedy was with the introduction of the character of Babe in The Mummy’s Hand, and it’s telling that when Babe reappears in The Mummy’s Tomb he’s not a comic figure at all. In this film, however there are a couple of scenes that seemed to me rather funny, whether that was intentional or not. The way Betty, totally oblivious to Kharis’s lumbering presence, keeps Ananka out of his reach before escaping in her car is worthy of Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. And the way the tent collapses on top of Kharis when he finally does get Ananka is almost as good.
*. Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy would in fact be the next Universal offering. Otherwise the Mummy (at least this mummy) was going to be allowed to rest for a while. A good thing too. The four sequels to the 1932 original were saddled with some really stupid monster mythology (like the tana leaves and the priests of Karnak/Arkam) that they couldn’t escape or work around. This left each of these movies basically playing out the same script in ways that managed to be both obscure and awkwardly contrived. The genre needed a new mummy free of this tired back story. And they’d get one, but it would take a while.

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