The Phantom Creeps (serial, 1939) Reviewed

Bela Lugosi in "The Phantom Creeps" (1939)

Bela Lugosi in "The Phantom Creeps" (1939)

This 12-episode serial stars Bela Lugosi (doing low-rent stuff for Universal who had brought him stardom) as the mad Dr. Zorka who has discovered a new element capable of…well, freezing plants and creating tiny explosions, evidently. But it takes a mechanical spider to get the job done. What?! Your typical circular serial storytelling lays it all out. The Feds are the heroes trying to get this important discovery for the security of America. There’s a nosy, Lois Lane-style reporter and a lumbering mechanical monster whose face has become sort of iconic — Rob Zombie used it on an album cover. A good example of the genre, but pretty flat and lacking the style of Flash Gordon. Lugosi never fails to give it his all though. All 12 (poorly-restored) episodes are available together on one DVD. The abridged feature-length cut of the story that aired for years on television is available on a gazillion public domain collections.

~ by Number5ive on July 20, 2009.

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