The "phantom" of Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1956) is not a phantom but a human-sized sea creature that resembles a Galapagos Island iguana hybridized with a man in a rubber suit. It does not & apparently never did live at 10,000 leagues, but is a misbegotten lab experiment that lives in the shallows of a little cove. The scientist responsible for its existence is back in his lab trying to make another one out of a turtle, for what purpose we're never informed.
The so-called phantom specializes in turning rowboats over & dragging its victims to a glowy spot on the ocean floor where they get radiation burns, then the corpses wash up on the shore. Since the victims are never eaten off of, I guess iguana-man, like the real Galapagos iguanas, eats seaweed.
The mini-poster reproduced above, with the same art as on the dvd box, curiously promises the addition of a "freezing horror" but I must've been in a stupified trance if any freezing horrors appeared at some point. Apparently the copywriter was not paying much attention & so mistook radiation burns for freezer burns.
The glowy spot is "explained" in a half-assed manner as some sort of death-ray created as part of an experiment at a nearby one-man oceanographic institute. The experiment got away from him though Professor King intended death-rays to help humanity.
The glowy spot/death ray causes marine life mutations, & the death-ray itself eventually sinks a passing ship via badly spliced-in stock footage. So the well-meaning but misguided Professor King rows out to the spot where the glowy-spot & the iguana man in diving suit hang out together -- & he dynamites them, himself dying with the secret of mutation-inducing glowy-spot death rays.
Though the scientist's daughter is sad her father blew himself up with his "mistake," she is consoled by her new boyfriend who reassures her it's a good ending because there are some things man is not meant to know, like who the hell thought this gibberishy script made enough sense to film it.
I swear to Great Ghu I'm not making it sound dumber than it actually is. The sheer incompetence is its chief charm. As a Z-horror attempt to ride the coat tails of the very successful Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) this cheezy imitation delivers as little as the production studio could get away with. As a "monster" the boat-tipping iguana is a bit spookier than a dolphin but nowhere near as spooky as a harmless manta ray as in the similarly cheapo Devil Monster (1946).
As if to prove that beach party movies hadn't already plumbed the worst depths of cinematic crappiness, some escapees from a loony-bin seem to have taken over the lab & recombinated the DNA of beach party films with that of horror cinema, to come up with The Horror of Party Beach (1964).
The film's best ingredients consists of fabulously bad rock numbers like "The Zombie Stomp" by an authentic early surf-rock band, the Bel-Airs. Find out from this film why their only hit song (1961's "Mr. Moto") was an instrumental!
Add to the Bel-Airs all that terrible dance choreography in the sand, & rented halloween costume versions of the Creature from the Black Lagoon with his entire family, products of illegal dumping of radioactive waste. Put it all together & this baby's ready to party.
It's got loads of laughs, very few of them intentional, as the science teacher & the teens fail to save hardly anyone from the rampaging beach monsters.
When it's about time to wind up the goofball death-fest, the science teacher at long last figures out the creatures can be destroyed with sodium (so one would think seawater already killed them).
Famously awful, it's a must-see with friends for a night of wise-cracks. It's somewhat less thrilling to watch all alone on a dateless Saturday night, glasses taped & inhaler held in ready position.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl