In London in the 1970s, Scotland Yard police investigators think they have uncovered a case of vampirism. They call in an expert vampire researcher named Van Helsing (a descendant of the ... See full summary »
This movie has recently been released as a cult classic for $1. Yes, ONE dollar. Didn't come in a standard DVD case, but a thick card-stock 'envelope'. It's packaged as 'Phantom Ship'. I couldn't pass that up and quickly added it to my collection...
The movie was of surprisingly good quality. Usually movies from this era (mid 30's) suffer from static and there is difficulty understanding the dialog at times because of the bad sound quality. Visually, the sets were extremely realistic and detailed. You could tell when the occasional stock footage was used, but it fit well with the movie.
The story is based on an possible answer to the mystery of the Mary Celeste. The Mary Celeste was a sailing ship loaded with 1,700 barrels of alcohol that left New York on November 7, 1872 bound for Genoa, Italy. On board were the captain, his wife, their young daughter, and a crew of eight. The ship was later found drifting at sea - no one on board.
The movie seems to deviate from the story in that the captain is single and has his fiancée with him. There is no daughter. One by one, people start to disappear as the crew realizes there is a murderer aboard the ship. The writer tried to build up a cast suspects.
Was it the crew member sent by the captain of another ship who had also proposed to the captains fiancée? When he sent that crew member on board, he told him to do whatever he needed to do...and maybe he could be a second mate someday.
Was it the sadistic second mate on the Mary Celeste? He seemed to love beating and torturing people.
Maybe it was one of the shanghaied (kidnapped) members of the crew. One of which threatened to kill the second mate and made it clear he was going to get even.
Maybe Bela Lugosi's character. A man who had been shanghaied years before on the Mary Celeste and wanted revenge for the brutality he had suffered.
One by one, people were killed. Each time the remaining crew would grow more paranoid and suspicious. I must confess that I was never quite sure who exactly was guilty until the very end. There were just too many possibilities. This made the movie unpredictable and enjoyable. The acting was superb throughout. The interaction between crew members and the atmosphere were extremely well done.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys a scary mystery, any Bela Lugosi fan, or anyone who enjoys movies from the 30's.
17 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?