The Phantom Creeps

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Dr. Alex Zorka (Bela Lugosi) knows how to create some incredible items, most of which garner the attention of many people. Among those his work entices are criminals, foreign governments, and even the U.S. officials want a piece of Zorka’s inventions. But Zorka is never too quick to allow his methods to be known, and even creates some inventions to keep people away from his abode. Zorka has crafted weapons such robotic spiders, special and lethal ray guns, and he even pioneered a device that turn someone invisible! How does he conjure up these amazing creations? Some say he gathers his power from a strange meteorite, while others claim he’s made a deal with the man downstairs! No matter he does it, he does and everyone wants to know how. Zorka could be a very wealthy man if he chose to sell his secrets, but he only wishes to punish those responsible for a tragedy in his life. With his ex-convict assistant at his side, Zorka will stop at nothing to gain his vengeance at last.

In the olden days, when you went to the theater you would be treated to a short before the actual movie started. If you came back the next week, that short would be continued in another. These were called serials and they were usually adventure pieces, but there were all types of them to be seen. One serial was The Phantom Creeps, which feel into the science-fiction genre and had audiences on the edge of their seats each week. This is a fun and interesting serial that draws upon science, magic, and perhaps a little of the supernatural. If you’re a fan of classic science-fiction, then you won’t want to miss this one. This disc from Whirlwind Media gives you the chance to view The Phantom Creeps, but you don’t have to wait to watch the next installment. This disc contains all twelve episodes and since the disc is dual layered, no loss in visual quality is present at all. You can choose to view a specific episode of the series, or you can opt to take in the whole series at once. Whirlwind has done a terrific treatment with this disc and while supplements are skim, the amount of data from the series limits that from the start. The price is right and the series is terrific, so I recommend this disc to those interested.

Video: How does it look?

The Phantom Creeps is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the original aspect ratio of the series. This is a serial from the ’30s and looks much like you’d expect, with some serious print damage and debris. But this looks more than adequate to watch and a restoration would be expensive and unrewarding in the end for the studio. So yes this isn’t the pristine transfer we all wish it could be, but Whirlwind has done a nice job with what they had. The debris and such are present, but unless you really focus on them, they don’t distract from the film much. The black & white image is balanced well and no detail seems obscured, so I am giving this a slightly below average rating, but due to the source materials and not the authoring process.

Audio: How does it sound?

A track this old just isn’t going to be perfect, but this one is decent enough and handles the elements well. Time has taken some effect on this mono track, but in the end it has pulled through in fine form. I did detect some distortion from time to time, but this to be expected and never detracts that much from the experience. So while the elements sometimes sound shaky or harsh, on the whole this is an adequate track. Not a good one mind you, but given the age and condition of the film, it does a fine turn.

Supplements: What are the extras?

In the insert booklet you’ll information on Bela Lugosi, but no other supplements have been included.

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