Lory R. (melikedvd) from RICHMOND, CA Reviewed on 6/8/2016...
My review is for the MGM Midnight Movies release only. This is the only copy to buy. They mastered it from 35MM film and it's presented in the original widescreen format. The contrast is good and so is the sound. Since it fell into the public domain, several distributors have put out copies as well. I understand some are even mastered off of an old VHS tape.
I won't go into my feelings about the artistic values of this next-to-no budget 50's epic. I'll let the other reviewers do that.
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Movie not so hot to start with; DVD finishes it off
Surfink | Racine, WI | 10/19/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Phantom from 10,000 Leagues is not a great movie. It's not even a great bad movie. It's really for cheesy 50s ARC/AIP SF completists only. The movie is below-average low-budget 50s dreck; talky and slow-moving, with few laughs, and very little 'face time' for the monster. The human drama is only slightly compelling and the infrequently spotted "phantom" looks like a big paper milk carton with teeth and claws. Or something. Buy the cool-looking poster instead. Makes Monster from the Ocean Floor seem breezy and action-packed in comparison. The only good thing you can say about this flick is that apparently the Milner brothers made enough cash off of it to finance their magnum opus, From Hell It Came. I wish THAT movie would come out on DVD!
Of course if the disc transfer and extras were good enough, 50s trashcore fans like us would have to get this for the library anyway, right? Unfortunately, this DVD is definitely subpar. To start off, the transfer is fair to mediocre at best. It really looks like it was mastered from an EP mode VHS tape, or recorded off-air from a UHF station, using a loop antenna. Very flat, very grainy/fuzzy; not as bad as a Madacy disc, but close. It's actually hard to tell if it's the print or the transfer that's to blame 'cause it's just so bad overall. And in a really tacky move, to say the least, the otherwise presumably G-rated disc includes several trailers featuring frontal nudity and softcore sex scenes. Not that junior is pestering you to see this movie or anything, but questionable nonetheless. But you're not going to buy this disc anyway; I guarantee you will be disappointed for the money. I would advise waiting for Image or Rhino to get around to putting this out unless you absolutely have to see it. (When I realized that Fred Olen Ray was involved in this DVD, it all started to make sense.)"
Death rays, sea monsters, and murder by spear gun...
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 04/27/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, I certainly had no illusions of grandeur when I popped this one into the DVD player, and neither should you. The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues? A more apt title would be the Guy in the Cheap Monster Suit From 20 Feet (or 0.00109730 Leagues, if you want to get technical)...The film, directed by Dan Milner and presented by Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson (hence the incredibly cheapness of the entire affair) stars Kent Taylor, who also starred as Boston Blackie in the television series of the same name along with various cinematic wonders as The Crawling Hand (1963), Brides of Blood (1968), Satan's Sadists (1969), The Mighty Gorga (1969), and Brain of Blood (1972). The film also stars Cathy Downs, who later appeared in films like The She Creature (1956), The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), and Missile to the Moon (1958), Michael Whalen (who also appeared with Ms. Downs in Missile to the Moon, Rodney Bell, Phillip Pine, Vivi Janess, and Pierce Lyden as Andy, the janitor.The film opens with a fisherman casting a net off a small dingy, I guess, to catch some fish. Underneath the boat we see a man in a somewhat elaborate, yet highly unresponsive, monster suit. He pushes some on the bottom of the boat, and this causes the man to let out a feeble yell and fall into the water. The creature then proceeds to...the best way I could describe this is to say the creature began having relationship with the man in the water. I suppose it was meant to look like it was attacking the fisherman, but it surely didn't...anyway, the next scene shows the fisherman's corpse and his dingy on the beach, and we meet out main character, Dr. Ted Stevens (Taylor), or, as he's calling himself Ted Baxter, for reasons of his own for now, discovers the body. As the good doctor is looking over the body, government man William Grant (Bell), or Mr. Grant as he's known throughout the film, arrives and starts questioning Ted Baxter about what he's doing. Ted Baxter? Mr. Grant? I know, I know...if characters named Mary Richards and Murray Slaughter show up, we got us a full blown episode of The Mary Tyler Moore show...anyway, it appears the fisherman died of burns produced by exposure to radiation. So the pre-martial activities with the sea serpent were just salt in the wound? Bleeech...The story progresses, and we learn that a professor of a local university, Professor King (Whalen) is working on some secret project, one of great interest to his secretary Ethel Hall (Janiss) and the professor's opportunistic assistant George Thomas (Pine), both whom he doesn't trust, for good reason. We also meet the professor's daughter, Lois (Downs), who really has no other purpose in the movie other than looking good and being a romantic foil for Taylor's character. Apparently the fisherman who turned up charbroiled wasn't the first victim, and the locals have concocted a story about a phantom(?!) haunting the cove, taking people. What is this, a Scooby Doo mystery? And what's Dr. Stevens role in this story? Turns out, as an expert in atomics and `death ray' technology (I kid you not), he was assigned to investigate, but no one told Mr. Grant, who is also looking into the matter. Apparently Professor King has developed a way to mutate normal sea creatures into monsters, and now one is guarding and feeding off a fissure of uranium within the cove, and killing anyone who comes near it. Also, it seems the Professor's assistant George Thomas is working with some unknown group to steal the Professor's plans, whatever the heck they are, and get paid big time. As for the Professor's secretary Ethel, well, she's just nosey, and we all know what happens to nosey secretaries, right? They get shot with a spear gun in the back. Oops...I give too much away...oh man, this is too good...who's the killer running around shooting a spear gun at people? It's no big mystery, as the culprit is highly moronic...I mean, a spear gun? Anyway, this mess of a movie shambles along, some more people die, people commit acts of idiocy, and the whole thing gets resolved about twenty minutes later than it should have, filling out the 80 minute run time.The whole film is just so very cheap...the cardboard sets, clunky and unwieldy expository dialogue, utterly inane characters, and the complete predictability of the plot. It may seem like I've given things away in my review, but I really haven't, as you'll see most of what I talked about coming long before it does...The print here looks really shoddy, being washed out, grainy, and just all around generally poor. Is there a better source print out there? Perhaps, but who's going to bother finding it? Retromedia does provide a good amount of extras for its' release including Drive-In Antics featuring Fred Olen Ray and Miss Kim (there is a bit o' nudity here, so don't let the kiddies watch), intermission spots, the kind you used to see in theaters and drive ins spouting the virtues of the snack bar and removing the speaker from your car window before leaving the drive-in, a still gallery for the film, Drive-In Antics bloopers/outtakes, and a whole slew of trailers of highly dubious films like the one on this disc along with trailers for Beast of the Yellow Night (1971), Curse of the Vampires (1971), Invasion of the Blood Farmers (1972), Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988), Fatal Justice (1993), Evil Spawn (1987), and Scalps (1983). I guess if I take one thing away from this film it's if you're going to choose a weapon to murder someone, a spear gun probably shouldn't be your first choice. I mean, if you miss, it just takes too long to reload, and you completely lose the element of surprise. There are several releases of this film out there, so features subject to change.Cookieman108"
The Inside Scoop on the Phantom
S. Streutker | 06/18/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I am so amazed to see people spending so much time watching and reviewing this movie! I thought my family was the only group left on the earth to watch it! I am especially impressed by your fine observations about the unweildy monster suit! And I am equally amused by your observations about the poor man in the suit!
Here is the secret you have all been dying to know--it wasn't a man in that suit, but a woman! In fact it was my grandmother, Norma Hanson. And the young teenage girl on the beach with the boy was my mother! So you can see my family has reason to sit around and watch this movie.
If you have no other interest in the movie (like your mom in a bathing suit), I really can't see watching it for free, let alone buying it!
Ted Baxter and Mr. Grant: the secret history revealed
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 02/20/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As a fan of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, I could not help but be amused by the coincidental facts that the main character initially uses the assumed name of Ted Baxter and ends up working with an investigator named Mr. Grant. Luckily, The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues has a little more going for it than this ironic coincidence. As the movie begins, a fisherman is pulled into the water by some monstrous sea creature. When his radioactive remains wash up on the beach, Ted Baxter is there to find him (though I'm not sure why he was walking along the beach in a suit). He seeks out the head of the oceanography college, and eventually he confesses that he is actually Ted Stevens, author of two important but controversial books on the use of heavy water for atomic purposes and radiation-induced mutation. He undertakes a diving expedition off the coast and comes across a huge source of dangerous uranium-induced radioactivity and a monstrous creature seemingly guarding it; from his own limited experimentation, he knows this dangerous, obviously man-made threat must be destroyed. The scientist is paranoid about his work, which brings him under suspicion. Also under suspicion are the scientist's secretary and assistant. As the movie progresses, we see the phantom kill a few more people, watch Stevens woo the daughter of the scientist he is investigating, watch in amazement as the scientist changes his jacket an inordinate number of times, and wait for something to happen - this effort is in vain, for the most part. There are a couple of good explosions near the end, but the conclusion holds no real surprises whatsoever.
The title implies that the phantom originally comes from some place 10,000 leagues under the sea; actually, all of the underwater action seems to take place a couple of hundred yards offshore. The divers we watch every so often exploring the ocean floor have the remarkable knack to come up to the surface exactly beside their boat, no matter how far away from it they have traveled. As for the phantom, I thought he was portrayed rather well; he certainly looks like something one would want to avoid beneath the ocean waters, and the moviemakers wisely show him standing still for the most part. This movie is your typical 1950s underwater monster adventure, offering little to delight but little to disappoint the audience. In other words, it's not bad - but it's not good, either."
Phantom is so bad it's almost good
Ned | Eldersburg, Maryland United States | 09/24/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Dr. Taylor arrives at a beach to investigate the death cause by a sea monster, the Phantom from 10,000 Leagues. This sea monster is protecting/guarding an underwater deposit of uranium ore. I think the sea monster is a mutation, created by Dr. Whalen, and is a cross between a number of different sea creatures - but what? Eventually, Dr. Whalen destroys the monster and himself in an explosion.The movie is not very good, there are no special effects, and sea monster is even less convincing. I have had the movie on VHS for a number of years and just recently purchase it on DVD. The quality on DVD is no different than that of the VHS version. There is something about movies like this that makes me pull it from the back of my library and watch it every 6 months or so."