The Phantom Empire
Fred Olen Ray for American Independent
directed by Fred Olen Ray
starring Ross Hagen, Jeffrey Combs, Sybil Danning, Dawn Wildsmith, Robert Quarry, Susan Stokey, Michelle Bauer, Russ Tamblyn, Michael Sonye, Victoria Alexander, Tony Lorea, Gary J.Levinson, John Gonzales, Jon Edmunds, Dan Malloy, Jerry Shull, Bob Ivy, Tricia Brown, Nicole Morgan, Julie Crow, Angela Post, Liat Mathias, Corey Kaplan, Maggie Martin, William Smith
writen by Terrill Lee Lankford, Fred Olen Ray, music by Robert Garrett, cinematography by Gary Graver, special effects by Wizard Works
Robby the Robot
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Rich Danae Chambers (Susan Stokey) hires explorer Cort (Ross Hagen) and
his tough-as-nails chick sidekick Eddy (Dawn Wildsmith) to find a fables
underground realm ... and before you know it, the three of them are off
into the next cave with the young-and-old-scientist-team of young Andrews
(Jeffrey Combs) and old Doc (Robert Quarry), where they find all kinds of
people and creatures like mutant cannibals, Robby the Robot, cavegirls -
including Bunny (Michelle Bauer), who before long gets very firendly with
Andrews -, and an alien queen (Sybil Danning), who does her best to take
our heroes captives. However, somehow our quintet of explorers flee
through a valley full of dinosaurs and manage to steal the alien queen's
extraterrestrial landrover, and get out of the underground realm alive ...
and they blow up the landrover to create a landslide and cut off the
underground kingdom from our world for good.
Of course, The Phantom Empire is trash, I would even go so far
and call it trash as trash can, it pretty much does not leave out a
single cliché you would expect from a movie of this kind, and it's
entirely silly in premise, concept and story ... but this is actually only
half the truth, because co-writer/director Fred Olen Ray actually knows
what he is doing, and so does his cast, and neither of them takes the
whole film seriously for a single minute. - making the whole thing into a
genre parody. Truth to be told, Fred Olen Ray is not the funniest, not the
most subtle comedy-writer/director, and neither are his actors comedians
per se, but the film still has a good natured madness to go for it, a sort
of anything-goes/make-it-up-as-we-go-along feeling - as if
they were thinking "Why don't we let them meet Robby the Robot
?" - "Why don't we have some mutants in that scene ?" -
"Why don'w we have some scantily clad cavegirls in that scene ?"
- "Why doesn't the lead cavegirl (Michelle Bauer) lose her top
?" - "How about some dinosaurs (allegedly lifted from the 1978
film Planet of the Dinosaurs [James K.Shea]) ?" - "How
about Sybil Danning in a campy and revealing outfit ?" - and so on
and so forth ... and somehow all those over-the-top elements made it into
So please, to enjoy this movie don't expect serious genre
entertainment, nor great comedy, just some good natured over-the-top genre
mockery - and this way you (like me) might actually come to like the film.