The Monster of Phantom Lake by Ambush Bug
Originally posted at Ain't It Cool News
Another goofy effort by Christopher R. Mihm, king of the modern monster homage. "The Monster of Phantom Lake" takes pages from to goofy creature features of old—mainly "Creature from the Black Lagoon," but also the more hokey ones like "She-Creature."
A group of campers out for a darn good time and a pair of researchers meet at a secluded lake only to find it haunted by a muck monster! That's basically all the plot Mihm gives us here and really, it's all the plot we need as he fills every minute with moments that feel as if Mihm owns a cinematic time machine and able to capture the goofy essence of those old B-movies. There's dancing and necking and singing. There's a monster costume that barely hides the zipper. All of the hokiness people criticize those monster movies for and all of the things those who love those films love.
A back-story of sorts allows us to feel a bit about this monster and a moral is to be learned in this one; that being, even if you're a nerdy schoolgirl, there is a guy (or in this case, a monster) out there for you. More so than in other films from Mihm, this one seems to have quite a few moments where innocent conversations and happenings have a bit more of a risqué tone, but the film retains it's corny sweetness throughout.
The film has an especially fantastic musical number as our hero scientist picks up a guitar and starts strummin' a tune. The obvious lip synching and whistle syncing is ingeniously played here to full comic effect.
While "House of Ghosts" felt more genuine in its scares, "The Monster of Phantom Lake" is firmly in the comedic homage category "The Giant Spider" and "Attack of the Moon Zombies" occupy and is rather light on scares. Still the only thing you'll find more genuinely 50's monster movie-esque is a monster movie made in the actual 50's, which is just a testament to writer/director Mihm's skills at making these types of films.