Thursday, 6 August 2015
The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955)
It's always a good feeling to finish one of these 50-pack box sets. I mean sure, given Mill Creek's propensity to duplicate films between boxes it generally works out to be more like 40 movies, but that's still quite a lot of time in front of the TV. And this box set has even been a good one: it would have been worth the twenty-odd bucks I paid just for an unbutchered copy of Night of the Living Dead, but it also included a half-dozen other films where I found something to recommend them, plus a couple of silent era films that I wouldn't tout to others, but were of interest to a cinema geek like me. Even a couple of the stinkers had the decency to be so bad they were good (yes, Beast of Yucca Flats, I am looking at you).
The fact that I have spent the first paragraph of this review talking about the other films in the box set might clue you into the fact that I don't have much positive to say about this one. In fact, I think I can sum up the things I like about this movie in one sentence: "It's the last one in the pack".
The movie begins with a fisherman hauling up a net and apparently being completely oblivious to the really obvious monster rising up right beneath him. This gets him horribly mauled. Or so we are told when his body washes up on shore. We don't get shown it, of course.
The source of the monster is going to turn out to be a "radioactive beam of light" beneath the waves. Who placed this "death ray" (no really, that's what they call it) there and created its guardian is what two government investigators hope to find out.
I've seen one review of this movie which complains that it has too many characters to keep track of. I don't agree with this claim. There are only seven notable characters - that's no more than say Aliens (Ripley, Newt, Hicks, Hudson, Burke, Gorman, Vasquez) or the 90s version of The Parent Trap (Hallie, Annie, Mum, Dad, Chessy, Martin, Meredith).
The problem with this movie's characters is not how many of them there are. It's that they are all unremittingly dull. Like the rest of the film, in other words.