Friday, 13 June 2014

The Phantom Empire (4 Stars)


I'm a strange person. Okay, anyone who's known me a few years will heartily agree with that statement, but why am I saying it now? Let me tell you a bit about myself and my strange habits.

As my friends and blog readers already know, I have a lot of DVDs and Blu-rays. I buy most of them online. I place my unwatched films in a pile next to my computer. Since I sometimes order a few films at a time, especially when I order films from Germany (in bulk to save money), the pile can grow as high as 20 films, but usually it's between 5 and 10. You might think that when I want to watch a film I pull a disc out of that pile first, but that's not always the case. Sometimes I'm in the mood to re-watch old films. Even when I do pull a disc out of the pile it's not from the top or bottom of the pile, it's just whatever film I'm in the mood for. Sometimes a film remains in the pile for a long time. For instance, I waited 18 months before I watched "X-Men Origins: Wolverine". That might seem like a long time. But listen.....

Today I decided to pull "Phantom Empire" out of my pile. I knew I'd had it for a while, but I wasn't sure how long. So I checked. And it turns out that I bought it on March 22nd 2006. The film has been lying in my unwatched pile for eight years, while newer films have been coming and going. That's all the more amazing when I consider that I moved house in May 2008. The DVD was physically lifted and carried from the pile in my old house to the new pile in my new house.

Looking at my unwatched pile now, it contains 12 DVDs, none of which have been in it for more than a few months. I could easily empty the pile within a week, if I wanted to. If I give those films priority. If I don't buy any more. Let's see. The pile hasn't been empty since I've lived here. Maybe I should make it a goal.

As for the film... if I'd known it would be so good I might have watched it years ago. It's an expedition to a lost world that has everything: ugly cannibals, beautiful cave women, dinosaurs, killer robots, and Sybil Danning dressed as if she's on her way to a fetish convention. This was Fred Olen Ray's first self-financed film, and he made it in 10 days from November 21st to December 1st 1986, saving money by using the props from a film that he had just finished working on. One day he will receive the appreciation he deserves.

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