DVD Review: The Monster of Phantom Lake
Posted by Barret
Famous Monsters of Filmland
In today's world, it is all too common for Hollywood to take an outdated movie and make a modern day remake, but few dare to come up with something new and put it into an outdated movie!
Don't quite follow me? That's understandable. I'm talking about writer/director Christopher R. Mihm and his great films, produced in the last few years, which are shot as a monochromatic tribute to the B-grade, drive-in movies of the 1950s. Mihm has come out with a movie a year starting almost four years ago with The Monster of Phantom Lake.
The Monster of Phantom Lake, Mihm's first film, was released in March of 2006 to make its mark on the world. Black and white and clocking in at 97 minutes long, the film is a true homage film, immersing the viewer into the blaring din of clichés as rubber monster suits and terrified teenagers run across the screen.
The film follows Professor Jackson, a proud and cocky scientist who is "rather fond of the rock and roll," and his graduate student Stephanie, as they spend a weekend camping by Phantom lake. Unfortunately some disgruntled workers empty several barrels of "Atomic Waste" into the lake and accidentally turn a homeless World War II veteran into a horrifying half-algae, half-human monster!
Five 'swell' teenagers are also out in the woods that night, rebelling against the world and dancing to the rock and roll. Out for a hike, they stumble upon a horrifying, oozing claw print on a tree (it is here that we start to get excited about seeing a wonderful 50s monster costume). When they tell their story to the prolific Professor Jackson, who has just spent the day observing mutated frogs (clearly constructed by gluing mismatched legs to the side of a plastic frog), he dismisses them at first, asking the kids if they had been eating some of the local mushrooms.
Unfortunately the kids are not tripping, there is a horrible monster on the loose! It takes out the disgruntled workers and two quirky Canoe Cops, and then turns on the teenagers and Professor Jackson himself!
Professor Jackson must use his phenomenal grasp of the scientific method and his high-tech equipment, like the Evolutiscopic Spectronilizer and the Hydrosysmometer, to find the creature's weakness before it makes its way to the sleepy town of Mukwonago, Wisconsin.
Through a series of overly dramatic shots, ridiculous background music, 1950s sexist dialogue ("Three women and none of you made the men breakfast?" "Don't worry I didn't hear anything. Besides, I don't have much interest in what women talk about") the movie documents the battle against the incredibly slow, yet unstoppably persistent Monster of Phantom Lake. I won't tell you how but eventually the plot brings us to the point where Professor Jackson proclaims "The human race is safe!" But is it really??
The DVD cover urges you to watch the film by claiming it contains "Unbridled Terror" "Unquenced Romance" "Unbelievable Science" and "The Unstoppable Power of the Rock and Roll!" and boy does it.
The Monster of Phantom Lake is a faithful tribute to the Col War-era, B-movies of the 1950s which Duane L. Martin from Rogue Cinema raves is "…one of the best homage films ever created."
The film features music by EchoDriver and stars Josh Craig as the prolific Professor Jackson, Leigha Horton as Miss Stephanie Yates, Deanne McDonald as Elizabeth and Mike Cook and M. Scott Taulman as the delightful Canoe Cops, Gustav and Sven. Other actors include Brad Tracy, Lindsey Holmes, Justen Overlander, Rachel Grubb, Dustin Booth, Michael Kaiser and Mike Mason.
The Monster of Phantom Lake has won the Director's Choice Award at the 2006 ShockerFest International Film Festival., Cinematic Excellence Award from Rogue Cinema, and the Best of Fest Award at the Big Damn Film Festival, proving its masterful portrayal of those good ol' cheesy 50s flicks.
For more information, or to buy merchandise and download the great song A-Rockin', A-Rollin', All The Way A-Ramblin' head over to The Monster of Phantom Lake Website.