The Mummy’s Curse Blu-ray Review

Accursed Mummy

Monster rises, monster falls. So it goes with the fifth predictable run through The Mummy series, as it has for each sequel prior. Dodging continuity, Mummy’s Curse swaps the locale to the Louisiana bayou from the small New York suburb of Mapleton. The switch means an introduction of fringe racial stereotypes and little else.

Set 25 years after The Mummy’s Ghost (if making no attempt to look the part), Mummy’s Curse binds again to the idea of dormant romance and the bandage-wrapped killer who won’t accept a different woman. Were it considering mutual romance (as it was in Karloff’s Mummy), then Chaney’s spin on the character may show complexity and empathy points. Instead, he’s a marauding serial killer, choking out random people and forcibly kidnapping an unwilling, confused princess to make her his own. At least her rise from the swamp is expertly done, a rare splash of imagination from any of the four sequels.

There’s a throwaway concept – Kharis rises by moonlight, his supposed princess rising by sunlight. Opposites by nature, yet Mummy’s Curse isn’t adept enough to handle this with any sharpness. It’s jettisoned without consequence. Being of the ’40s, man dominates woman, and woman is offered no alternative.

Short of location, Mummy’s Curse isn’t forward-thinking in terms of formula or further potential for the monster

Lines between good & evil strike so cleanly, Mummy’s Curse has no potential for surprise. Mummy Kharis resurrects by the will of Peter Coe, offering no twist on the recurring High Priest role. The goal? Returning Kharis and Ananka to Egypt, if without any eagerness to do so, even in a movie barely breaking the one hour mark.

In the heroism role, Dennis Moore. The workmanlike performance (one of 236 on his resume) trudges through a dreary archetype, solving murder mysteries and apparently romancing short time actress Kay Harding. Good luck finding the beginning of their relationship however – or any relationship until the closing moments create one.

Mummy’s Curse exists for those who, after four rounds, still see value in Chaney reaching toward the camera for a kill. Or, those who find solace in his stumbling (reportedly drunken) walk routine. Short of location, Mummy’s Curse isn’t forward-thinking in terms of formula or further potential for the monster – Universal was willing to milk the resurrected pile of bandages routine unchanged until profits fell. As it turns out, that fall off was Mummy’s Curse.

Video

Closing off the Kharis series is a generally fine transfer from Universal. The Louisiana setting means abundant plant life. In terms of catalog releases this vintage, few can compete in resolving such thick overgrowth so well. Fidelity pours from what is clearly a high resolution scan.

Detail elsewhere is strong too. Jack Pierce put a mask (instead of make-up) on Chaney for this final outing and the lackluster results come courtesy of this transfer. Rather rudimentary production design keeps sets minimal and staging dull, limiting the chance to show off outside of the exteriors.

Still, Universal’s compression routine processes the light grain structure without trouble. The print itself shows no damage despite the age.

Issues that do pop up relate to gray scale shadows. Kharis spends a chunk of the film chasing Virginia Christine through a swamp at night. There, shadows lack enough density, exposing noise in those areas. It’s frequent. Gray scale otherwise establishes depth and clean gradients.

Audio

Opening with an overdubbed musical number, the DTS-HD mono track keeps the lyrics pure without distortion. The same goes for the stock score in place elsewhere throughout Mummy’s Curse.

Audibly refined dialog carries a pleasant analog quality, free of skips or hiss. The careful restoration doesn’t lose any organic quality inherent to the audio track.

Extras

Paired on a disc with Mummy’s Ghost, the lone bonus is the theatrical trailer.

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