Phantom Creeps #12: “Now Let The World Beware My Vengeance!”

Welcome all to the final chapter of the exciting 1939 movie serial The Phantom Creeps! Begun over a year ago in October, 2011, SBBN has recapped this cinematic classic with witty banter and stunning detail, to the delight of thousands. Others would say that SBBN has bitched incessantly about this craptastic serial while a few people came along for the ride, laughing when we realized actress Dorothy Arnold was daydreaming about skullfucking her co-workers. Witty banter, skullfucking, either way is good. Before we begin the final chapter of something that should have ended many, many months ago, I want to thank you all for sticking with me. A new movie serial endeavor will be beginning shortly, my goal with that one to stick to a tighter schedule. I hope you’ll join me for the next series! Tonight’s thrilling conclusion is a Creeps classic, featuring terrible writing, horrible acting, stock footage of questionable taste, and some very sad actors who never worked in Hollywood again. The Phantom Creeps Chapter 12: To Destroy the World When we last left our intrepid heroes Plucky Girl Reporter and G-Man Bob, they were lounging by the catering table while stolen footage from The Vanishing Shadow starring Ada Ince and Onslow Stevens was doing all the work for them. Ada and Onslow, unwitting (and probably unwilling) stand-ins for PGR and Bob, are seen careening through a construction site in a British car — and by British I mean “the dinks in editing flipped the Shadow footage … Continue reading

The Phantom Creeps #11: “I Wish I Hadn’t Let That Guy Get Away.”

After two months of accidental hiatus, we’re back on track to finishing the greatest artistic achievement known to mankind: The Phantom Creeps (1939). Our story thus far: Dr. Crazypants Evildude Zorka (Bela Lugosi) has harnessed the awesome power of a meteorite harvested from the depths of the 1936 film The Invisible Ray, and plans on using elements from the meteorite to conquer the world. With this element he invents six-legged fuzzy fake spiders that blow up under certain complicated and silly conditions, the enormous and sexually attractive robot known as The Iron Man, and a device that turns him invisible — that is, into The Phantom, who then Creeps around doing things. The Feds are after him, mostly G-Man Bob (Robert West) and his unkillable but confused sidekick Jim Daly, played by SBBN hero Regis Toomey. SBBN calls him Toomster, Reeg and various other pet names, because SBBN loves Regis Toomey, and also makes it a policy to be very, very nice to immortals who are prone to sulking and naps. Edwin Stanley plays Dr. Mallory, a scientist who is supposed to be helping the Feds but pretty much does the exact opposite. Plucky girl reporter Jean Drew (Dorothy Arnold) tags along with the Feds, while spies — incredibly stupid spies — try to get the meteor for themselves. The spy leader Jarvis (Edward Van Sloan, looking as much like “Gov” from Blazing Saddles as possible without actually being Mel Brooks) is mostly ineffective, but he’s supposed to be clever … Continue reading

The Phantom Creeps #10: “The Meteorite Is More Dangerous To You Than Useful!”

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This is Day (looks at the calendar, does math, cries a little, asks for help) Seven of the Camp & Cult Blogathon! Because of the weekend and a little bit of distraction with some online shenanigans, I decided to hold off tweeting or posting any new submissions I’ve received this weekend until early Monday morning. They’ll get more publicity that way, at least I hope so. If you have some ‘thon links that you don’t see on the master list by 9:00 AM Monday morning, please either comment here or drop me a note! Twitter has been wonky and I am almost certain I missed a couple submissions sent to me over there. And now, today’s campy culty post: The Phantom Creeps. That may seem like a bit of a cheat, but really, if Creeps doesn’t count for the ‘thon then nothing does. NOTH. ING. *** Chapter 10: Phantom Footprints When we last left our heroes (for want of a better word), they had just wrecked their boat into a buoy because they were too busy punching each other and/or lying face-down in laps, while G-Man Bob once again decided to solve a problem by flying an airplane. And I know what you’re thinking: He’s going to crash that damn plane again. This is a man who has destroyed three cars, three airplanes and one train over the course of nine episodes, so he is due to create more unnecessary chaos. That’s why when Bob starts spinning, twirling, flying sideways … Continue reading

The Phantom Creeps #9: “I Got Conked On The Head, That’s All I Know.”

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Chapter 9: Speeding Doom The Phantom Creeps was filmed more than three decades before I was born, yet I feel somehow responsible for the frank, unabashed boredom in the slower episodes of the serial. There’s some guilt for subjecting you fine people to these terrible things, is what I’m saying, yet not enough guilt to make me stop. I will not stop. I can not stop. It is a disease, a virus with no known cure, a fever that must run its delirious course. But we are at last in the final stages, my friends, and for that we can all be thankful. When we last left our heroes and villains, they were languishing in some stock footage of a burning building, at once spectacular in scope as well as hilarious due to being so dated and overused. In re-watching this episode I discovered that the spies’ security guard locked in a closet by G-Man Bob and Toomey in the last episode was never let out, so apparently he dies a horrible death, thanks to our heroes. Nice work, guys.   Just look at this, wouldya? The blocking here is completely unacceptable. Everyone is in a single-file conga line while watching the action off screen, which is the exact thing we were told not to do in high school theater class, where I set the acting world aflame as Viney, the maid in “The Miracle Worker.” My dipshit Kansas high school teacher with a mental illness and predilection for banging … Continue reading

The Phantom Creeps #8: Hey, Bob!

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The Phantom Creeps Chapter 8: Trapped in the Flames   When we last left G-Man Bob, he was about to crash yet another airplane, leading us to several inevitable questions: How large is the FAA file on this guy?  Has he ever actually landed a plane? What are the gross annual earnings of the half-dozen scrap metal businesses that thrive on the broken, mangled airplane wreckage Bob leaves in his wake? The crash heralds a few minutes of what I refer to as Mostly Dark Theatre; it’s impossible to see what is going on, and while it might be the terrible print that exhibits a plethora of deep scratches and murky greys, the lack of light also conveniently concealed poor special effects. The bad guys and their hired sailors gloat about taking down G-Man Bob, which you’ll notice they did with a couple of department store rifles they picked up as an impulse buy at K-Mart while grabbing some snacks and a couple of folding chairs. The thing is, the spies didn’t really succeed at anything. G-Man Bob is contractually obligated to destroy all planes whether he’s being shot at or not .   Note the extra on the left: That’s character great Al Bridge, known mostly for his roles in Preston Sturges flicks. He does pretty much nothing in chapters 7 and 8 except say “Yes, sir” and stand around. By the time he was in Creeps he had been in over 100 films, mostly small roles, though usually … Continue reading

The Phantom Creeps #7: We’re On Our Way to Big Money and World Conquest!

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The Phantom Creeps Chapter 7: The Menacing Mist Our story so far: Formerly bearded mad scientist Dr. Zorka (Bela Lugosi) has a lot of super spiff inventions that he wants to sell to unspecified enemies of the United States. His former scientific partner Dr. Mallory  (Edwin Stanley) discovered this and narked on him to the FBI, causing G-Men Bob West (Robert Kent) and his suspiciously able sidekick Jim Daly (Regis Toomey) to pursue the mad scientist. Zorka outwits them (not hard) by faking his death and using his belt of invisibility; when he is invisible, he calls himself The Phantom, sorta, when he remembers to do so, which isn’t as often as one would expect given the title of this serial. The title The Phantom Creeps, by the way, is supposed to mean Dr. Zorka Creeps Around While Invisible, not There Are Creeps Who Are Also Phantoms In This Serial.  I tell you this because it took me two full viewings to comprehend the title; I didn’t read “creeps” as a verb, I read it as a noun, and I suspect some of you did, too. Meanwhile, spies working for a different set of unspecified enemies of the United States want to steal Zorka’s inventions, primarily by obtaining a meteorite Zorka used to create all of his neat toys. Plucky girl reporter Jean Drew (Dorothy Arnold) smells a hot story and follows the FBI and/or spies around to uncover the news, irritating pretty much everyone ’cause dames are nothin’ but … Continue reading

The Phantom Creeps #6: In the Scientific World, Nothing is Impossible!

This is the final repost of The Phantom Creeps recaps from the old She Blogged By Night. The posts are the same, though I have occasionally added new photos or corrected mistakes.  Starting with the next episode, Chapter #7, the recaps will be brand spankin’ new. They won’t be posted at the rate of three a week like these reposts were, but they will be relatively frequent. *** The Phantom Creeps Chapter 6: The Iron Monster It’s been a while since we spent time with The Phantom Creeps, the 1939 movie serial and cinematic blunder brought to the screen by schlockmeister Ford Beebe and his semi-acceptable co-director Saul A. Goodkind. While I’m sure most of you memorized every word I wrote about the previous five chapters, a few of you need a little refresher course. That’s okay; nobody’s perfect. Here’s what’s gone down in Creepville so far: Dr. Zorka (Bela Lugosi), bearded evil scientist, has possession of a really neat meteorite that does all sorts of cool x-ray spex types of things. Whatever the plot demands, the meteorite delivers! Dr. Mallory (Edwin Stanley), former partner to Dr. Zorka, snitches to the Feds about Zorka’s plan to sell evil meteorite-based technology to an unspecified foreign enemy. Zorka fakes his own death to escape the Feds, and becomes a non-bearded evil scientist who stays really super-duper hidden in the basement of his own home, where both spies and Federales come looking for him every five minutes or so. Zorka is assisted by … Continue reading

The Phantom Creeps #5: Somebody Left the Door Open and Stole the Meteorite at the Same Time!

This is the recap for the fifth episode of The Phantom Creeps. Originally published on the old She Blogged By Night, I am reposting them here as a lead-up to the final episodes. Enjoy, won’t you?   ***   The Phantom Creeps Chapter 5: Thundering Rails When we last left our least favorite characters in The Phantom Creeps, they were languishing in an unmanned plane flying through fog at low altitude, yet we all knew damn well that there was no reason to get our hopes up. No explosion leading to a fiery, comet-like decent ending only with a satisfying slam into the cold hard earth was forthcoming, at least not this early in our 12-part serial. And indeed, PGR shakes G-Man Bob awake — a sure cure for any cracked skull — just in time for him to take control of the plane and thwart all our hopes and dreams. Er, I mean thwart disaster. Whatever, they’re alive and I’m disappointed, that’s all I know. Meanwhile on the ground below, this is still going on. Damn hipsters, stinkin’ up the place with their goggles and fake moustaches and tweedy three-piece suits. The plot quickly gets back on track once a couple of spy goons toss Toomey into a car and drive away from the airfield. G-Man Bob remembers he can fly an airplane. PGR has nothing to do now that she’s done shaking him, so Bob suggests she make herself useful and look around for the briefcase full of … Continue reading

The Phantom Creeps #4: You Have Sold the Source of My Power to My Enemies!

Welcome to the fourth repost of The Phantom Creeps recaps, brought over from the old She Blogged By Night blog. If good things happen — and it won’t; listen to Louis CK, kids, because he’s right about everything — once the reposts are all moved over, I’ll finish the recaps, giving me time to move on to the next poorly thought out project of mine. *** The Phantom Creeps Chapter 4: Invisible Terror By all rights, this should have been called Chapter 4: Officially Out of Both Sanity and Ideas. Watching this chapter was one of the most pointless 20 minutes I have ever spent and was only redeemed — slightly redeemed — in that it captured on film the emotional and physical pain Regis Toomey had to endure to make a living in Hollywood. Chapter 4 starts out well enough by not completely cheating on the cliffhanger. While the crashing antenna missed the car, Regis’ expert defensive driving technique does cause the vehicle to careen off the road and down a mild hill. Pretend this cute little model is an actual car.   The prisoner Monk escapes during the chaos. G-Man Bob is unscathed as always (I hold out hope that around Chapter 10, it will be revealed he is a robot made of Teflon and fiberglass), but the Toomster gets knocked out again. By all rights he should have experienced enough head trauma to be entertainingly off-kilter at this point; alas, he is no Zaroff or Uncle Charlie. … Continue reading

The Phantom Creeps #3: Power Enough to Seize or Destroy the World!

Our third repost of recaps of the 1939 serial The Phantom Creeps, previously published on the old She Blogged By Night and moved over here to get us all ready for the tremendous finale that awaits. This one is going up a little earlier than planned so I can move on to finishing my entry for The Best Hitchcock Film (Hitchcock Never Made) Blogathon. *** The Phantom Creeps Chapter 3: Crashing Towers When we last left G-Man Bob, he was in the midst of careening his late-model Nash off a sharp curve and flying to his inevitable fiery death below. These scenes were filmed without even the light from a cardboard match so screen shots are almost useless, but I was amused by this frame of Bob in a tangle of weeds falling ass over tit after jumping out of the car. But wait a minute… he got out in time! Even though he was unconscious when the car was headed over the cliff! Movie serial, I am beginning to think you do not play fair. G-Man Bob dusts himself off and, with the help of Plucky Girl Reporter, pursues one of the mad doctor’s ArachnoBlams that’s still lurking about, but it blows up when they get near. Still, these two fucking geniuses continue to look for the ArachnoBlam even after it detonates because they do not understand that explodiated means destroyed. Well, not destroyed destroyed but turned into a different shape of matter, probably tiny little dust particles and … Continue reading