The Phantom Creeps (1939, Ford Beebe and Saul A. Goodkind), Chapter 9: Speeding Doom

Speeding Doom once again has the good guys, bad guys, and Bela Lugosi trying to get Lugosi’s box. In the box is a powerful meteorite, which allows for all of Lugosi’s inventions. But the good guys and bad guys don’t know about it yet. They still aren’t sure Lugosi’s alive.

Until the bad guys chase Lugosi’s car, which leads to a sequence where he’s a complete fool and lets the box get away, but also has footage reused from the first or second chapter. At least there’s some humor when he makes a captured henchman change his flat tire. Creeps doesn’t acknowledge the humor of it, which would definitely be too much to ask.

Most of the action has the bad guys trying to get the box out of the country. Via schooner. Dastardly foreign agents and their schooners.

Dorothy Arnold comes in–she sees the bad guys drive past, as there’s only one or two major roads in Phantom Creeps–and ends up in the final action sequence. Her presence is only notable because it’s some of the worst direction in Phantom Creeps so far.

In the (as always) lackluster cliffhanger resolution at the beginning, there is at least the humor (and humility) of Regis Toomey’s very unattractive balding getting a showcase thanks to wet hair.

I can’t remember what this serial was about before it was everyone trying to get this box. With three chapters left, it’s clearly not going to be about much else.

CREDITS

Directed by Ford Beebe and Saul A. Goodkind; screenplay by George H. Plympton, Basil Dickey, and Mildred Barish, based on a story by Wyllis Cooper; directors of photography, Jerome Ash and William A. Sickner; edited by Irving Birnbaum, Joseph Gluck, and Alvin Todd; music by Charles Previn; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Bela Lugosi (Dr. Alex Zorka), Robert Kent (Capt. Bob West), Dorothy Arnold (Jean Drew), Jack C. Smith (Monk), Regis Toomey (Jim Daly), Edwin Stanley (Dr. Fred Mallory), Anthony Averill (Rankin), Dora Clement (Ann Zorka), Hugh Huntley (Perkins), and Edward Van Sloan (Jarvis).


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