The Mummy's Hand (Christy Cabanne, 1942, USA)

The Mummy's Hand is generally considered to be one of the better "B-pictures" in the Universal monster movie canon. The first sequel to the original The Mummy starring Boris Karloff, The Mummy's Hand was the first film to introduce the Mummy character as we commonly recognize him - bandaged from head to toe. In contrast to the dark, gothic, German expressionist-inspired Karl Freund film, The Mummy's Hand also set the stage for several action films to follow in its path. No doubt the film was an influence on Spielberg's Indiana Jones franchise, with its story of two adventuresome archaeologists searching for a sarcophagus and getting into more trouble than they bargained for. You can also see the DNA of The Mummy's Hand particularly in the 1999 reboot of The Mummy franchise directed by Stephen Sommers. These films, which fused monster thrills and adventure in equal measure, owe something to The Mummy's Hand

The film also saw the introduction of comedy into the Universal horror canon, something that would be later explored more with the Abbott and Costello monster movies. Steve Banning, one of the archaeologists, plays straight man to his sidekick Babe Jenson. They enlist a woman to help them, and the film starts to get the feel of a screwball comedy. One cannot help be charmed over by the overall goofiness of the plot. This film is even campier than the original film, and the performances accentuate the camp factor. The mummy makeup is also excellent and would go on to define how future generations remembered and still remember the mummy character. One of the film's weaknesses is perhaps that the mummy action takes a long time to start. We do not get the mummy action into 40 minutes into the film, but at least it arrives at some point.



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