|Graphic by Rachel Hood. Adapted from ROBOT MONSTER.|
- Buck Rogers serial was condensed into Planet Outlaws,
- Flash Gordon became two features: RocketShip and SpaceShip Into the Unknown.
- Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars was edited into Mars Attacks the World.
- Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe became Purple Death from Outer Space.
So did The Phantom Creeps.
It was this version I first saw in the early 1960s on Saturday afternoons on WNEW in New York.
BTW, the title refers to the giant robot, The Phantom, not a group of phantom people or beings called "Creeps" or a villain called "The Phantom"!
(His previous serial role was as the heroic Chandu the Magician in The Return of Chandu, which was also released as two features in the 1950s. Universal Pictures sure knew the meaning of "repurposing"!)
With both the US government and various "foreign powers" attempting to acquire his weaponry, it's literally "Zorka Against the World", with the mad scientist holding the advantage since the Americans both want to capture him alive and prevent both the scientist and his devices from ending up in enemy hands!
You'll note that some pics from this film have Lugosi clean-shaven, and others (left) show him with a beard.
There are two reasons for this..
1) Lugosi's character shaves his beard midway through the film.
2) It was done in order to match stock footage taken from Universal's feature The Invisible Ray, where Lugosi played another scientist, but with a beard.
Along with stock footage, the serial borrowed props, sets, costumes, and music from earlier genre features (A common practice to keep costs down).
Interestingly, when a comic adaptation of the serial was done, the artists (who were using a weird combination of photos and illustrations in a semi-fumetti,) kept the beard on him for the entire story!
C'mon, admit it, that was kool, although it is a severe abridgement of the serial script (and pretty close to the feature film version)!The design for The Phantom was so unique that, unlike most other robots of the era, he never appeared in another live-action movie, either in new or stock footage!
However, Rob Zombie loved the robot so much he built a duplicate, which has appeared on-stage during his concerts and in the video for his single, "Dragula"
Haunted World of El Superbeasto!
|He didn't have that gun in Phantom Creeps!|
Since it's PD, the source prints are pretty battered, but still watchable and very entertaining.
I hope you enjoyed my contribution to the Blogathon.
Bookmark this blog and visit often. I post several times a week.