The Mummy’s Curse (1944)

The Mummy's Curse (1944) movie poster

director Leslie Goodwins
viewed: 11/13/2018

The final installment of the original Universal Studio’s mummy series, The Mummy’s Curse deserves a little more love than the average critic throws its way. True, it has the perplexing relocation from Massachusetts swamps to the Louisiana bayou, but that flavoring adds character as well as disjointedness.

They are literally draining the swamp when they unearth the mummy (Lon Chaney, Jr. again). But more impressive, nay pretty sublime, is Princess Ananka’s rise from the mud. This sequence alone is worth the price of admission. It might even be one of the most amazing in the Universal canon.

Princess Ananka has morphed from Ramsay Ames into Virginia Christine (Rrroowwr!!!) It’s a little weird to realize that Christine would also be the Mrs. Olson from the Folger’s Coffee commercials that I grew up with.

There is also a nice matte painting of the ruined abbey quite (I have a serious penchant for cool matte paintings), though it seems rather incongruous with the Louisiana milieu. Maybe it’s somewhere between Massachusetts and Louisiana.

A slow ambling mummy gathers no babes to strangle.

At least Chaney didn’t have to don the mummy garb again. He apparently hated it.

The Mummy’s Ghost (1944)

The Mummy's Ghost (1944) movie poster

director  Reginald Le Borg
viewed: 10/11/2018

If The Mummy’s Tomb could have been titled The Mummy Goes America, The Mummy’s Ghost could be called The Bride of the Mummy. Because this is the first mummy flick to give the mummy the love interest motive, the rest of the time it’s been those high priests chasing the ladies. Ramsey Ames, the girl in question, even developes a white streak in hair like the Bride of Frankenstein.

For “Ghost,” our high priest is John Carradine (weird to see John Carradine so youthful) sent to America to return the mummy and the princess now to Egypt. The California hills pass for Massachusetts yet again.

One thing, when Lon Chaney, Jr. is the mummy, he gets up and about much earlier. It’s gotta be said, that mummy get-up is pretty form-fitting and none too forgiving.

The pessimistic ending, though planned with a sequel in mind, still adds an air of darkness to this episode, a very uncommon non-Hollywood ending.

“It sounds like a lot of applesauce to me.”

The Mummy’s Tomb (1942)

The Mummy's Tomb (1942) movie poster

director  Harold Young
viewed: 10/11/2018

It’s called The Mummy’s Tomb, but if you’re really trying to tell one mummy movie from the next, think of this one as The Mummy Comes to America.

Because Universal’s mummy pictures can easily run together.

Tomb” gets shambling along via stock footage and flashbacks, consolidating The Mummy’s Hand in 10 minutes. Maybe the only justice it needs.

Turhan Bey is the mummy’s director here, the only dude remotely descended from people of the Middle East to play such a character in the series. The film tints a very Asiatic quality to Bey.

On the plus side, much earlier and more mummy action due no doubt to Lon Chaney, Jr. picking up the shroud. He’s certainly a less svelte mummy.

Great lighting and good cinematography also highlight this picture. It’s quite beautifully shot.

It all goes well for Bey until he decides to take the girl for himself.

Still, this gets the mummy to Mapleton, Massachusetts, where he’ll stay for the next flick.

The Mummy’s Hand (1940)

The Mummy's Hand (1940) movie poster

director Christy Cabanne
viewed: 10/09/2018

Franchise reboots are at least as old as The Mummy’s Hand. Nobody is back from the 1932 Boris Karloff/Karl Freund/Zita Yohann Universal original. It’s also not the A-lister that the original was, The Mummy’s Hand is seriously a B picture.

The California hills pose as a poor stand-in for Egypt. But hey, this is Hollywood 1940, just put a fez on a dude and he’s a North African. A lot of low grade comedy and unnecessary plot developments round this one out. Also oodles of implicit racism “silly native superstition” run par for the course.

Interestingly the bad guys are native folk fighting to protect their historical artifacts, and the mummy kills the colonialists and treasure hunters. Though this doesn’t stop them from being the bad guys.

The mummy himself (Tom Tyler) looks super cool thanks to the uncredited Jack Pierce. But he doesn’t get shambling until pretty late in the picture and doesn’t have a ton to do. Still, this would inspire three more sequels.

Devil Story (1985)

Devil Story (1985) movie poster

director Bernard Launois
viewed: 03/04/2018

For those who traffic in the weird and odd, obscure and awful, bizarre and sublime of dreck cinema, Devil Story is a dream come true. Or at least a dream somehow assembled into movie form.

It is indeed as if a Jean Rollin movie crash landed and all the mangled elements that survived somehow reconstituted itself in the least coherent manner.

I say this lovingly.

It can be described. As it has by many and well so. But it must be experienced to be comprehended, if comprehension is even possible.

It’s the most disorienting movie I’ve ever seen. Which way did that horse go? Bang! And bang again.

Highly recommended to weird lovers everywhere.

Voodoo Black Exorcist (1974)

Voodoo Black Exorcist (1974) movie poster

director Manuel Caño
viewed: 09/15/2017

“In infinite time, what happens happens.”

Just last week, I watched American Mummy (2014) which was a bit of a misnomer since there was no re-animated mummy in it. And now Voodoo Black Exorcist, which despite its title, is actually a mummy movie! Go figure. Marketing moves in mysterious ways.

Voodoo Black Exorcist is indeed stupefying, as the poster suggests, though terrifying, not so much. It’s a Spanish production that starts out with some seriously chocolaty black-face before we get our Caribbean mummy story. Why is it every mummy story hews to the trope of awakening and looking for a doppelganger or reborn version of a lost love? Don’t mummies have other motivations?

The camerawork is kinda bizarro, in a good way, but this is cheap, bad cinema, which you have to like in order to appreciate. It’s terrible but terribly fun too if you like trash like I do.

Some of the action takes place in some really cool caves.

And the quote that kept resounding: “The best hamburgers in the world.”