The Phantom Creeps (1939)

Approved  |   |  Sci-Fi  |  17 October 1939 (USA)
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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 »
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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


A BLAZE OF DYNAMITE ACTION! Crashing...smashing...dashing through 12 spine-shivering chapters! 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 explosion and avalanche footage from Universal's 1934 serial 'The Vanishing Shadow' (1934) is used in Chapter 11 of this serial as stock footage. 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!
See more »


Featured in Lugosi: Hollywood's Dracula (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

One of Lugosi's finest films
23 June 1999 | by (S. Bound Brook, NJ) – See all my reviews

As an avid serial fan, I have to say that this is one of my favorite serials of all time! Why? Many serials tend to be predictable, but this one contains a lot of interesting concepts -- giant robots, invisibility belts, "z-ray guns", "neometers", mechanical "death spiders" and other futuristic gadgets.

Plus, I'm a Bela Lugosi fan, and it is generally considered that he was at his peak in this film. He shows genuine sorrow when his Wife dies in the beginning of the film, and a madness to destroy those he blames for his death.

Many people on the East Coast saw this film on Officer Joe Bolton's TV show (circa 1960) and have never forgotten it.

Must see!

15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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