BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955) - Blu-ray Review

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The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1955) - Blu-ray Review

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1 Beers…in which the origins of American International Pictures are unearthed…

B-movies, quite literally, do not get any worse than with the events depicted inside The Beast of 10,000 Leagues.  Born from America’s post WWII fears, the quick look at the nuclear-made monster mutation roaming the sea is the one solid star this legitimate stinker deserves. Any other merits come from the bikinied babe on the beach and the cover art that includes a scene the movie does not.  The rest is cobbled-together malarkey that, I dare suggest, no one has ever made it through.

I tried, damn it.  I tried.  Twice. 

Screenwriter Lou Rusoff throws everything and the kitchen sink at the page and it’s all so maddeningly stupid – even for its 1955 paranoia.  Hell, it doesn’t even pass the muster from as a pop culture artifact.  From a clichéd romance between Kent Taylor and Cathy Downs to the elementary school design of the monster itself, The Beast from 10,000 Leagues is a certified endurance test that, yeah, I failed.  Completely.

The first time I approached The Beast from 10,000 Leagues I was not sober.   It was late at night and the party was over.  That was five years ago.  With the blu-ray release from Kino happening this week, I thought that checking the film out again to see if I could survive it this time might be worth it.  It’s not.   In fact, it led to one shot of whiskey after another and, yeah, I was pretty lit before I had to turn it off. 

This is easily the bottom of the fishy drive-in barrel when it comes to 50’s science fiction fare.

With stilted dialogue and extra padding everywhere, this B-movie is about an unusually radioactive rock that mutates the ocean life around it into a slow-moving sea monster.  Okay, so it’s not a phantom and it’s definitely not at the depth or the length the title suggests BUT it’s definitely a living and growing threat to fishermen everywhere, leaving them scarred to death with radiation burns.  Yeah, apparently that is its preferred method of attack. Hell, it might have teeth but it prefers to radiate its victims to death and allow them to drift to shore. 

The cover art is the best thing about this one, folks.  I kid you not.  But, hey, let’s make a drinking game out of viewing it.  How drunk do you have to be to stay awake throughout its running time?  Riddle me that one. 

Because I failed.  Twice.

The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1955) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated
Runtime:
80 mins
Director
: Dan Milner
Writer:
Lou Rusoff
Cast:
Kent Taylor, Cathy Downs, Michael Whalen
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Sheer horror as a living nightmare stalks the ocean floor!..
Memorable Movie Quote: "Well, I saw two strangers standing over a corpse. Not being the hero type, I decided this was no place for me."
Distributor:
American Releasing Corporation (ARC)
Official Site:
Release Date:
December 1955
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 5, 2016
Synopsis: An unusual radioactive rock on the sea bottom mutates the ocean life into a horrible monster. When charred, radioactive bodies begin to drift ashore a scientist and government agent investigate the phenomenon, and it's connection to a local marine biology professor.

The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1955) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 5, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Kino-Lorber presents The Beast from 10,000 Leagues on blu-ray and, honestly, it looks better than it deserves.  With decent grain textures throughout and some really tight close-ups (especially toward the end of the picture), the black and white film really pops with a contrast that is engaging and solid (albeit) surprising details.  The lack of texture is to be expected due to the age and care of this low budget flick.  My biggest beef is that the actual shots of the monster are cloudy and, unfortunately, rather scarce.  A DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track in the original English language supplies the sound.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is rather dry (but informative) commentary from by film historian Richard Harland Smith.  If you must buy this release, his work here is easily the best thing about the actual feature.  I learned a few things.

Special Features:

Joe Dante, with his challenge to actually make it through the film, is the winner of the supplemental items on this release.  There aren’t a lot of supplemental items but the Trailers from Hell bit is a definite must-see.

Trailers from Hell (with Joe Dante) (3 min)

The Monster that Challenged the World Trailer

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