Good Serial, Bad DVD
rhofan | Los Angeles, CA USA | 01/26/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Phantom Creeps, Bela Lugosi's final movie serial, holds a special place in my memories for being the first complete chapterplay I had seen. I had seen portions of others but never a complete one before this. Lugosi steals the serial as Doctor Alex Zorka, a brilliant scientist who has made a series of inventions from a meteorite he found in Africa--via footage from "The Invisible Ray" for the Africa sequence. He wants to sell his secrets to the highest bidder, but the US Government wants to stop him. What is unusual for this serial is that I feel that Zorka was initially the good guy of the story before the US and a spyring start looking for his secrets and thus hounding him into insanity. The DVD for this is painful. The print used retains the Commonwealth (TV?) logo instead of the normal Filmcraft or Universal logo. Sound is muddy at quite a few places. Picture will be dark in a few places--sometimes in a daytime scene. They use only one set of opening credits for the 12 chapters. Normally, Universal would use a opening which showed the main cast for its first 3 episodes while the remaining episodes would use an opening that merely lists who the actors were. It is this second opening that is on the DVD and is only used once for all 12 chapters. There are no extras on this disc, such as a trailer, although you can choose to play it all at once or select an individual chapter. There is an insert with information on Lugosi. There are better VHS copies out there and in my own collection at one time I had an actual film print which had the Universal logo. I can't really recommend this DVD unless you don't have a copy of this serial at all. I wouldn't buy another disc from Whirlwind Media, the releasers of the disc, unless it was an extremely rare serial that probably would not be released any other way. Now if only Universal would get off its duff and start releasing their own serials instead of letting people with Public Domain prints do it, I might be a little bit more happy."
Beware of annoying trademark watermark
David J. Wicks | Central Coast, Australia | 07/30/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"What a load of old cobblers. No, I'm not complaining about the storyline and quality of The Phantom Creeps (after all, what do you expect for under $7?) What I'm irate about, and what every DVD purchaser around the world should also be concerned, is the way the distributor - Vintage Home Entertainment - has superimposed its logo watermark in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Not just once to establish the copyright ownership, but ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE SERIAL. I don't want my attention distracted with a logo emblazoned across the picture... and if I had known I wouldn't have spent my money on it. I hope this is not a sign of things to come with DVD releases - 'cause if it is, I ain't gonna buy anymore. The quality of the print, by the way, is woeful. Shocking quality and constant jumps where the film has been joined after breaking. I'll never buy another DVD from this mob again... this is possibly the worse DVD I've ever purchased... and I'm a big Bela Lugosi fan!!!
From David Wicks - Australia
Fun Serial with Lugosi. Typical early Alpha Quality
Michael W. Miller | Franklin, VA | 05/10/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Fun Serial with Bela Lugosi at his evil best as Dr Zorka. Alpha has broken this 12 chapter serial into 2 separate DVD's for sale. This disk contains chapters 1-6. When I first starting watching this disk, I cringed during Chapter 1 as the quality was quite poor with lots of scrathes and some splicing. I thought, "Here we go again with a substandard Alpha release!" Then, to my surprise, chapters 2-5 were quite good. Still nothing like you would get from the Roan Group, but on par with Sinister Cinema or Retro Media. Chapter 6 falls in closer to the poor quality of chapter 1, however.If you are a Lugosi fan and want a low cost version of this series, then take a chance on the Alpha release. If you are a Lugosi fan who wants to collect the best possible prints of his films, then skip this Alpha release. The disk contains no extras, but does have a chapter stops for each serial chapter."
Ned | Eldersburg, Maryland United States | 05/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Phantom Creeps was Bela Lugosi's last serial. Lugosi is Dr. Zorka another mad scientist looking to take over and control the world. He tries to achieve this World domination with a number of gadgets. He has built an 8-foot robot, a belt that makes him invisible, and a gas that suspends animation, which he delivers with mechanical spiders. Through the 12 episodes an Army intelligence officer and a newspaperwoman chase him.The 12 episodes are:1) The menacing Power
2) Death Stalks the Highway
3) Crashing Timbers
4) Invisible Terror
5) Thundering Rails
6) The Iron Monster
7) The Menacing Mist
8) Trapped in the Flames
9) Speeding Doom
10) Phantom Footprints
11) The Blast
12) To Destroy the WorldI purchased this DVD because Bela Lugosi was in it. I was not disappointed - I have really enjoyed it. The quality is not bad. There are options to play each episode or play all 12 continuously."