Written by Bernard Schubert, Leon Abrams, and Dwight V. Babcock
Directed by Leslie Goodwins
“The devil’s alive and he’s dancing with the mummy.”
Universal’s mummy series plateaus with 1944’s The Mummy’s Curse. Set in the 1990s, men on an irrigation project working in the swamps of the Louisiana bayou help unearth mummy Kharis (Lon Chaney Jr) and his Princess Ananka (Virigina Christine). Knowing this, the film’s High Priest, Dr. Izor Zandaab (Peter Coe) follows his supposed boss Dr. Halsey (Dennis Moore) to retrieve the mummies. What ensues is mostly a chase film and blatant repetition of The Mummy, The Mummy’s Hand, and even The Mummy’s Ghost.
Part of the repetition comes when Zandaab tells Kharis and Ananka’s story. Stock footage from the previous films is used to explain how Kharis’s attempt to bring Ananka back to life resulted in his horrid death. The other half comes from the endless chase sequences that showcase Lon Chaney Jr’s weakest physical effort as Kharis.
So why is The Mummy’s Curse worth a watch? First off, this film is just another stop on the classic monster movie train. It’s a must-watch for classic horror fans, as a result. The other reason to watch is Ananka’s resurrection scene. If Lon Chaney Jr’s physical work is at its weakest in this film, Virginia Christine’s is at its best. Ananka rises from her swampy grave with the grace and hypnotic awe that can make any scene worth watching more than once.
— Karen Bacellar