A cabal of American industrialists, all fifth-columnists intent on sabotaging the war effort, are methodically murdered by the malevolent Monsieur Colomb. It is only until detective Dick ... See full summary »
"The Phantom Creeps" was Universal's 44th sound-era serial (between "The Oregon Trail" and "The Green Hornet") and was re-issued to theaters in 1949 by Commonwealth Pictures Corporation, a distribution set-up handling primarily Universal re-issues. Commonwealth had no hand at all in the production of this serial (as incorrectly shown on site) as they were a distribution company only. Some sources mistakenly identify them as the serial producer because all of the 1949 re-issue prints (and the 16mm prints sold to television circa 1952) show "Commonwealth Pictures Corp. Presents" above the title.There is a whole lot of difference between "presenting" and "producing", a fact that some sources appear to not know or don't care. The serial is of interest to some collectors as it re-unites Bela Lugosi and Edwin Stanley from 1931's "Dracula", and the crater-discovery of the meteorite fragment by Zorka in the serial is stock footage from Universal's 1936 "The Invisible Ray." The stock footage ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The scene in which Professor Zorka is lowered into a pit while wearing a protective suit is taken from the film _The Invisible Ray (1936)_ and it is actually Boris Karloff inside of the costume, not Bela Lugosi. See more »
Anthony Averill and his two co-henchmen wear heavy mustaches that appear and disappear from one chapter to another, and even from one scene to another in the same chapter, #7, for example. See more »
[after surviving a car crash, Zorka notices the hitch hiker they picked up, who looks like him, is dead.]
Dr. Alex Zorka:
How fortunate, this will simplify everything!
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To me, this 12 part serial seemed a touch cliche, but it was still quite enjoyable. If you are not a fan of the classic horror genre or of Bela Lugosi, you may wish to pass on this one, but if you like corny old Bela films, you are in for a REAL treat.
One point of interest to me was that I can't help but think George Lucas had watched this serial in particular when he was preparing for Star Wars. The title of the series is "The Phantom Creeps" with the first Episode being titled "The Menacing Power" (Phantom Menace anyone?) Additionally, the scrolling text of Star Wars seems to owe a lot to this serial right down to the usage of capitalization. You'll have to wait for Chapter 2 to get your first glimpse of how it's used- Chapter 1 has no foreward.
This is the first serial I've seen, though, so it's possible that the scrolling text is common with most serials.
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