27 May 2005 | drmality-1
More fun than frightening
This movie wisely decides to proceed on a different track entirely than the masterful Karloff "The Mummy". Very few horror films could match the earlier entry for sheer atmosphere and dreamy menace.
Instead, "The Mummy's Hand" opts more for adventure, with a generous helping of laughs thrown in. We follow the trail of two American treasure hunters as they seek the lost tomb of Ananka. Little do they know that the tomb is protected not only by a fanatical cult, but also the living mummy Kharis, who has become the guardian of the woman he once loved. Dick Foran is extremely likable as Steve Banning and seems like a regular guy. As wise-cracking sidekick Babe, Wallace Ford sometimes annoys but not to the point where you actually want to see him get killed. Peggy Moran is fiery and most attractive as Marta. Naturally she winds up butting heads with Steve and naturally they are attracted to each other.
Two grand old actors really liven things up. Cecil Kellaway is delightful as the scatterbrained magician the Great Solvani who bankrolls the expedition. And George Zucco has a signature role as Andoheb, sinister high priest of the cult of Karnak who controls Kharis. Much time is devoted to the workings of the Karnak cult and the mechanisms that animate Kharis. The lore of the tanna leaves starts here. Nine are needed to fully animate Kharis, but if he ever drinks the brew of 10 tanna leaves, "he will become a monster the likes of which the world has never seen". Sadly, we never really see what Kharis would be like with an overdose of tanna leaves.
Cowboy star Tom Tyler makes for a creepy mummy in his few scenes. Totally lacking the charismatic presence of Karloff, he instead opts for the familiar crawling lurch that would later become a parody. His blacked out eyes are particularly unnerving.
A little bit too much comedy and not quite enough Kharis keep this from being really top notch, but it's still quite an enjoyable programmer.