‘From the depths of the sea… horrifying terrifying!’
The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues is a 1955 science fiction horror feature film directed by Dan Milner (From Hell It Came), co-produced with editor Jack Milner, from a screenplay written by Lou Rusoff (Cat Girl; The She-Creature; It Conquered the World), based on a story by Dorys Lukather.
The movie was released December 1955 with Day the World Ended (also penned by Lou Rusoff), American Releasing Corporation’s first double feature. The company soon changed its name to American International Pictures (AIP). The film’s poster artwork was designed by Albert Kallis.
Kent Taylor (The Crawling Hand; The Mighty Gorga; Brain of Blood), Cathy Downs (The She-Creature; The Amazing Colossal Man; Missile to the Moon), Michael Whalen, Helene Stanton, Phillip Pine, Rodney Bell, Vivi Janiss, Michael Garth, Pierce Lyden.
A mysterious, man-sized monster kills a fisherman at sea. Two government agents later find the body on the beach. One agent, Ted Baxter (Kent Taylor), tries to get a sample of a radioactive rock in the sea, however, the same monster attacks him. Ted escapes and returns to the beach.
On a later trip with the other agent, William Grant (Rodney Bell), the monster nearly kills Ted, but Grant shoots it with a spear gun. Ted discovers that Doctor King (Michael Whalen), a marine biologist, created the monster and the radioactive rock. Ted tells Doctor King the monster is killing people and must be stopped…
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Reviews [click links to read more]:
” …the cast is sufficiently professional to work competently, and the little elements of roughness give the movie an offbeat tension that helps carry it across 80 minutes of screen time. The major deficiencies are the monster itself — one of the sillier looking rubber-suit jobs of the period, resembling an inflatable beach toy in distress — and the attempt at a montage to depict the creation of the monster.” AllMovie
” … vaguely humanoid, vaguely reptilian, clearly bipedal, mostly immobile, and altogether goofy-looking. And we get a clear view of all of this within forty-five seconds of the film’s opening shot. Clearly, we are in the hands of master film-makers.” And You Call Yourself a Scientist!
“The feature is powered by suspicion, but suspense isn’t nurtured by Milner, who seems to believe that viewers would rather watch banal conversations than experience heart-stopping encounters with an underwater monster.” Blu-ray.com
“The best reason for watching this movie has nothing to do with the plot, or with the monster. The most interesting thing about it is the hyper-Romantic score by Ronald Stein… a Warsaw Concerto with monsters.” Brain Eater
” …some bumbling spies, a nosy secretary, bad shoddy underwater photography, cheap sets, and the most barren beach imaginable, and you have Phantom from 10,000 Leagues. Well, actually, the title should be “Phantom from 20 Feet Below the Ocean,” but we won’t get too technical about it. Most likely inspired by the success of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, we only see the monster several times.
“Title Check: First of all, it’s no phantom. Second, since it can be found just a short ways off of the shore at a fairly shallow depth (and it’s too busy guarding a chunk of uranium to put in much in the way of travel mileage), I don’t know where they get the “10,000 Leagues”, either.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings
“It’s definitely a product of its time and fits in nicely with other similar movies from the decade. But for me, it feels way longer than its 80-minute runtime because the movie is so slow and full of exposition.” The Girl Who Loves Horror
“The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues is dull. The direction is dreary and uninspired. The title monster rarely appears. During the occasional times we do see the phantom, it proves to only be a cheap and unconvincing monster suit. Even then, it gets up to almost nothing.” Moria
” …a bottom of the barrel snooze-fest, although I like the monster, as silly as he is – and the opening attack sequence is actually pretty good.” Rivets on the Poster
“Science is a devouring mistress. She devours all who seek to fathom her mysteries and for every secret she reveals, she demands a price, a price that a scientist must be prepared to pay with his life and the life of those who stand in the way of his search.”
Cast and characters:
- Kent Taylor … Doctor Ted Stevens
- Cathy Downs … Lois King
- Michael Whalen … Professor King
- Helene Stanton … Wanda
- Phillip Pine … George Thomas (as Philip Pine)
- Rodney Bell … William S. ‘Bill’ Grant
- Vivi Janiss … Ethel Hall
- Michael Garth … Sheriff
- Pierce Lyden … Andy the Janitor
- Norma Hanson … The Phantom (uncredited)
Image thanks: Wrong Side of the Art!