The Phantom Creeps (1939)

Approved  |   |  Sci-Fi  |  17 October 1939 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 4.5/10 from 617 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 14 critic

A military intelligence officer and a pretty reporter try to find a scientist whose inventions can destroy the world.


(story) (as Willis Cooper) , (screenplay) (as George Plympton) , 2 more credits »
0Check in

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Golem (1920)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 16th-century Prague, a rabbi creates a giant creature from clay, called the Golem, and using sorcery, brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution.

Directors: Carl Boese, Paul Wegener
Stars: Paul Wegener, Albert Steinrück, Ernst Deutsch
The Devil Bat (1940)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A mad scientist develops an aftershave lotion that causes his gigantic bats to kill anyone who wears it.

Director: Jean Yarbrough
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Suzanne Kaaren, Dave O'Brien
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

When delusional madman Roxor kidnaps a scientist in hopes of using his death ray to achieve world dominance, he is opposed by Chandu, a powerful hypnotist and yogi.

Directors: William Cameron Menzies, Marcel Varnel
Stars: Edmund Lowe, Irene Ware, Bela Lugosi
Bloodlust! (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3/10 X  

A crazed hunter kidnaps people and turns them loose on his private estate, where he hunts them for sport.

Director: Ralph Brooke
Stars: Wilton Graff, June Kenney, Walter Brooke
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Insurance agent-physician collects on policies of men murdered by a disfigured resident of the home for the blind where he acts as doctor-on-call.

Director: Walter Summers
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Hugh Williams, Greta Gynt
White Zombie (1932)
Certificate: Passed Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiance, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.

Director: Victor Halperin
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A scientist becomes murderous after discovering, and being exposed to the radiation of, a powerful new element called Radium X.

Director: Lambert Hillyer
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Frances Drake
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.

Director: John S. Robertson
Stars: John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield, Brandon Hurst
The Black Cat (1941)
Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Elderly Henrietta Winslow lives in an isolated mansion with her housekeeper and beloved cats. As her health fails, her greedy relatives gather in anticipation of her death.

Director: Albert S. Rogell
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Hugh Herbert, Broderick Crawford
Voodoo Man (1944)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Dr. Richard Marlowe uses a combination of voodoo rite and hypnotic suggestion to attempt to revivify his beautiful, but long-dead wife, by transferring the life essences of several hapless ... See full summary »

Director: William Beaudine
Stars: Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, George Zucco
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

A mad doctor attempts to create atomic supermen.

Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson, Tony McCoy
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

A cosmetics queen develops a youth formula from jelly taken from queen wasps. She fails to anticipate the typical hoary side- effects.

Directors: Roger Corman, Jack Hill
Stars: Susan Cabot, Anthony Eisley, Barboura Morris


Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Kent ...
Dorothy Arnold ...
Edwin Stanley ...
Jack C. Smith ...
Edward Van Sloan ...
Dora Clement ...
Ann Zorka [Chs. 1-2] (as Dora Clemant)
Anthony Averill ...
Hugh Huntley ...
Monte Vandergrift ...
Al - Guard [Ch. 5]
Train Engineer [Ch. 6]
Jim Farley ...
Skipper [Ch. 9] (as James Farley)
Eddie Acuff ...
Mac - AMI Agent [Chs. 2-12]
Reed Howes ...
Signalman [Ch. 10]


"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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


CRASHING...SMASHING...DASHING DYNAMITE! 12 spine-shivering chapters of thunderbolt action and amazing adventure! See more »








Release Date:

17 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Shadow Creeps  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(12 episodes) | (edited feature film)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


During the car chase the reporter is shown driving on the right side of the car, although before and after the chase plus in overhead shots she is shown correctly on the left side. 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!
See more »


Edited into A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Wild, goofy sci-fi action serial!
20 March 2007 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

This is a serial, like the classic Radar Men on the Moon, and Buck Rogers. Unlike it's compressed TV movie version (1949), this more protracted version of Phantom Creeps wanders all over the map at a frenetic pace.

The Phantom Creeps is everything an old classic B sci-fi serial is supposed to be. It features Bela Lugosi (as Dr. Zorka), a mad megalomaniac genius with a utility belt and a sack of gadgets that would make Batman and James Bond blush, against a team of CIA-types, a reporter, and local law enforcement. Lugosi hams up a storm and really seems to enjoy himself in this immensely silly role. His somewhat untrustworthy and dull side-kick, played by Jack Smith is a great foil to his overbearing stage presence, and he makes a truly great sadist! The film is replete with clever and creative (for its time) special effects (plane crashes, all sorts of random electrical currents, cloaking technology) and a lot of technobabble reminiscent of some of the less palatable Star Trek series. For an added bonus, the creators threw in a plot, and a cast of well developed, if stereotyped, characters.

Ultimately, it's mindless, kinda trashy entertainment, but it's also a damn good time.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Better print out there? coppington
Discuss The Phantom Creeps (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: