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The Phantom Creeps (1939)

Approved | | Sci-Fi | 17 October 1939 (USA)
A military intelligence officer and a pretty reporter try to find a scientist whose inventions can destroy the world.

Writers:

(story) (as Willis Cooper), (screenplay) (as George Plympton) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

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]
...
Signalman [Ch. 10]
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Storyline

"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 <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A BLAZE OF DYNAMITE ACTION! Crashing...smashing...dashing through 12 spine-shivering chapters! See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Shadow Creeps  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(12 episodes) | (edited feature film)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fun For Lugosi Fans
25 January 2004 | by (Denver, Colorado) – See all my reviews

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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