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The Phantom Creeps (1939)

Approved | | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi | 7 January 1939 (USA)
A military intelligence officer and a pretty reporter try to find a scientist whose inventions can destroy the world.

Writers:

George H. Plympton (screenplay) (as George Plympton), Basil Dickey (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bela Lugosi ... Dr. Alex Zorka
Robert Kent ... Capt. Bob West
Dorothy Arnold ... Jean Drew
Edwin Stanley Edwin Stanley ... Dr. Fred Mallory
Regis Toomey ... Jim Daly
Jack C. Smith Jack C. Smith ... Monk
Edward Van Sloan ... Jarvis [Chs. 2-12]
Dora Clement ... Ann Zorka [Chs. 1-2] (as Dora Clemant)
Anthony Averill ... Rankin - Henchman [Chs. 2-12]
Hugh Huntley Hugh Huntley ... Perkins - Mallory's Lab Assistant [Chs. 2-12]
Monte Vandergrift ... Al - Guard [Ch. 5]
Frank Mayo ... 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]
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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:

12 SPINE-SHIVERING ACTION THUNDERBOLTS! Sinister scientists...foreign spies...federal agents...and a pretty girl...crashing through amazing adventures! See more »

Genres:

Action | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 January 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Shadow Creeps See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(12 episodes) | (edited feature film)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At least one episode of this serial was shown (and mercilessly made fun of) by MST3K as a time-filler when their main feature was Jungle Goddess. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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 »

Alternate Versions

This serial was edited down to a feature film running 78 minutes and also titled "The Phantom Creeps." See more »

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User Reviews

 
Campy fun if you don't take it seriously
26 June 2008 | by dbborroughsSee all my reviews

Classic bad over the top mess that is pure camp and a joy to watch. Bela Lugosi plays a mad scientist who discovers a new element and uses it to make one of the most ridiculous looking robots ever to grace the screen, an invisibility belt and some explosives. It's the typical everyone thinks I'm mad (even though I really am) so I'll hide away and get my revenge on those who slighted me and at the same time I'll try to take over the world. It's a blast. Oh yea its awful, but at this point its good awful. No doubt they were playing to the kids who watched the serials only to have it change into something else. Its classic nonsense. If nothing else it's a film to watch with friends and pick apart (Mystery Science Theater 3000 did several of the chapters). The best way to know what your reaction to the film is going to be is look for a picture of the great hulking robot, if you are a mused by it then by all means watch this. If you're repulsed by it then you may want to reconsider this as a viewing option. Recommended for those who want a silly good time.

(Try not to see the feature version of the serial. While not horrible its really not that good and it lost a great deal of the charm of the serial in the removing large chunks of plot)


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