The Karnak Archives

The Mummy's Ghost (Universal, 1944)

    The theme of reincarnation appears for the first time in the Kharis series with this somber film. The first two Kharis movies had been basically action-oriented thrillers which focused on the revenge which the priests of Karnak attempted to exact upon the film's protagonists for desecrating Ananka's tomb. But with The Mummy's Ghost, archetypal themes of fate, destiny, and inescapable doom smolder beneath the surface. There is a haunting, tragic quality about this film, enhanced by the performance of Ramsay Ames who portrays Amina Mansori, the reincarnation of Princess Ananka. Amina is presented as a girl who seems unable to completely connect with the present. Something haunts her, and she is subject to sudden mood swings and strange anxieties. As the movie progresses, we soon discover that Amina's destiny is bound up with that of Kharis. She is fated to live in the shadow of a past which constantly threatens to engulf her. The theme of being haunted by an old lover has a lot of psychological reverberations for anyone who has had a relationship end badly. 
    Today, with media-heightened awareness of the phenomenon of stalking, The Mummy's Ghost plays upon very contemporary fears. Although it adopts the same theme as the 1932 Boris Karloff film, this third Kharis installment elicits stalking anxieties more effectively, primarily because of Chaney's portrayal of Kharis as a violent, relentless pursuer. 



George Zucco returns as Andoheb the High Priest who initiates John Carradine into the Kharis cult and sends him to America to retrieve the mummies of Kharis and Ananka. The opening scenes of Youssef Bey's initiation fade into a lecture being given by Professor Norman to students at the local university at Mapleton, Mass. The subject of the lecture is Kharis, the mummified fiend who came to Mapleton years ago and murdered the surviving members of the Banning expedition. Some students are skeptical, but Norman insists that the Kharis story was not a hoax. After the lecture, one of the students, Tom Smith, leaves the classroom and meets his girlfriend, Amina Mansori, at the library. While describing Dr. Norman's lecture, Amina experiences a sudden odd anxiety. She explains to Tom that, in spite of her part-Egyptian ancestry, she always feels strangely whenever the subject of ancient Egypt comes up. Tom finally drops the subject, and the two arrange to see a movie together that evening. 



Meanwhile, now in the USA, Yousef Bey (John Carradine) summons the mummy from the burnt-out ruins on the old Banning house with the irresistible aroma of brewing tana leaves. He tells him his mission is to retrieve the mummy of the Princess Ananka from the Scripps Museum and help take it back to Egypt.







After strangling Professor Norman, Kharis helps himself
to a hot cup of tana fluid.








The unfortunate guard at the Scripps Museum discovers that
bullets can't stop the enraged mummy.







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The strangling hand of Kharis crushes the guard's throat.
Lon Chaney was reportedly cut while filming this scene,
which required him to smash the glass panes of the museum's
door. Note the broken glass behind the two actors. 




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Amina Mansori (Ramsay Ames) can't escape her fate.
Her destiny awaits her, trapped forever by the inescapable 
arms of her old lover, Kharis.








Kharis gets Ananka back "on track" according to the plan decreed for her 3,000 years ago by the gods of Egypt. He carries Amina up toward Yousef Bey's unusual hideout in a shack atop some kind of trestle tower.






Amina's new boyfriend tries to save her from the past.
His battle with the mummy proves to be futile.










Kharis places Amina on the sacrificial table to await mummification.
Yousef Bey, however, decides to make a slight alteration in the mummy's plans.




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Yousef Bey suddenly notices the beauty of the girl on the table before him. He succumbs to repressed sexual desires and (you guessed it!) decides to immortalize Amina Mansori with tana fluid. Afterwards, he will take her for his bride. Once more, we see a High Priest of Karnak/Arkham falling prey to his libido. Foolishly, Yousef Bey speaks his blasphemous thoughts out loud, unaware that Kharis is eavesdropping outside the door of the shack.....





Enraged by his master's betrayal, Kharis charges into the shack and hurls the traitorous Yousef Bey to his death from a window. Then, pursued by the mob from Mapleton, Kharis drags the now rapidly aging Amina into the swamp where they both sink beneath the surface.... In this photo, Lon Chaney projects a lot of intense emotions from beneath pounds of bandages and make-up--a real testimony to his ability as an actor.



Read more about
The Mummy's Ghost
at Universal Studios

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