Monday, October 13, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Day 13 - Movie 1

I'm probably one of the few people who ranks the Kharis series of Mummy movies as among their favorite Universal horror films, but for some reason, possibly having to do with the Aurora model kit being my favorite as a child, I've always had a soft spot for Kharis.

The Mummy's Hand (1940) begins a four movie series separate from the Boris Karloff film, The Mummy (1932). In it, a down on his luck archeologist and his comic relief sidekick join forces with a stage magician and his daughter to search for the tomb of Princess Ananka. What they find is trouble in the form of the living mummy, Kharis and the high priest who controls him and instructs him to commit murder. The movie is just a bit over an hour long but moves along at a brisk pace mixing action, humor, and chills into it's short running time. The movie is clearly low budget and looks more like a serial than a feature film, but does a good job with what it has. Tom Tyler, who typically played heros, is great as Kharis, really bringing the living dead aspect of the mummy to his performance. A cheap visual effect amplifies his creepiness when his eyes were blacked out one frame at a time. I'm guessing this effect was touched up for the DVD release, because I recall in earlier prints, the inking wasn't consistent in size or shape giving a real strange crawling effect to his orbs. My biggest quibble with this film is that no one in the cast could pronounce the name Ali.

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