The Mummy’s Tomb - Scripts from the Crypt collection No. 14 (ebook)
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The Mummy’s Tomb - Scripts from the Crypt collection No. 14 (ebook)

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The Mummy’s Tomb - Scripts from the Crypt collection No. 14

by Tom Weaver, Laura Wagner, Rich Scrivani, Fred Olen Ray, Gary L. Prange and Joe Dante

Edited by Tom Weaver



Is the root of all evil!

Monster Kids’ favorite movie mummy Kharis scream-iered in 1940’s The Mummy’s Hand and returned in a new chiller-diller two years later, dealing out more cruel and violent death. But the sequel’s title The Mummy’s Tomb is a misnomer, Kharis have left his Saharan resting place more than 5000 miles behind. Now the full moon, lighting his way from one midnight murder to the next, rides high in the sky over the U.S. of A.: Mapleton, Massachusetts, is the crumbling creeper’s new stalking ground!

The Mummy’s Tomb is set 30 years after Hand, but Egypt’s ancient gods are still in a royal huff that archaeologist Steve Banning (Dick Foran) plundered Princess Ananka’s tomb. With Banning, his family and his colleague Babe (Wallace Ford) on his hit list, a fanatic High Priest (Turhan Bey) transports Kharis to the States and unleashes the mad mummy upon them.

Lon Chaney, the Universal Horror Factory’s new go-to guy for monster roles, fills the cloth-wrapped shoes of Kharis, a one-mummy crime wave casting his sinister shadow across the New England village.

Tom Weaver’s Scripts from the Crypt book series is on a Mummy Roll this year — hot on the heels of his book analyzing Universal’s The Mummy’s Hand comes an all-inclusive tome on the second show in the wartime series, The Mummy’s Tomb.

Weaver is of course the compiler of informed interviews with actors and other creatives responsible for decades of classic horror and sci-fi pictures. Now that most everybody from that era has retired to the pearly gates, his Bear Manor ‘Scripts from the Crypt’ series has extended and improved upon older books that annotated reprints of classic screenplays. Weaver’s notes on Tomb benefit from a close examination of Universal records, Variety announcements and a microscopic comparison of script to finished film.

These books are for fans that can’t learn enough about these legendary pictures. The comprehensive look at Lon Chaney Jr. helps place the actor in Hollywood’s pecking order, striving for good roles. Also covered is the inside story on the creation of Chaney’s mummy — even while wearing a mask (instead of an hours’ long makeup job) Chaney still found the costume a pain. To help him heft the femme victime Elyse Knox, Chaney wore a rig similar to a telephone lineman’s harness sling. The book points out where the sling can be seen in production photos, as well as on the screen.

After reading Laura Wagner’s thorough bio on the appealing Elyse Knox, we’re disappointed that the movie restricted her to such a decorative role. Weaver’s fellow tomb desecrator Fred Olen Ray offers his personal remembrance of the gentlemanly matinee idol Turhan Bey. The actor performed in Ray’s video release Possessed by the Pickle Jar Night.

In addition to general production notes, Tom Weaver covers the unusual career story of George Zucco, delving into the details of a morals charge brought against the actor in New Zealand. Nobody’s perfect. The book’s 250 pages are packed with unusual photos, the full pressbook, arcane details, screwy conjectures, stabs at graveyard humor, fan homages and interesting newspaper articles. If you’re on a tight budget, it’ll set you back less than the cost of a week’s supply of Tana leaves.

-- by Glenn Erickson of the website "CineSavant"