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Phantom Empire, The

Phantom Empire, The (1988) Movie Poster
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  •  USA  •    •  83m  •    •  Directed by: Fred Olen Ray.  •  Starring: Ross Hagen, Jeffrey Combs, Dawn Wildsmith, Robert Quarry, Suzy Stokey, Russ Tamblyn, Sybil Danning, Michelle Bauer, Michael Sonye, Victoria Alexander, Duffy, Tony Lorea, Robby the Robot.  •  Music by: Robert Garrett.
       When a man-eating cave creature appears with a fortune in uncut diamonds around his neck, Dr. Chambers' daughter Denae hires adventurers C & C Salvage to find the underground source of the gems. Accompanied by archeaological intern Andrew Paris, mineralogist Prof. Strock, and C&C's scruffy owners Cort Eastman and Eddy Colchilde, Denea's hopes of emerging from her famous father's shadow become as remote as getting out of the caves alive!


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Image from: Phantom Empire, The (1988)
Image from: Phantom Empire, The (1988)
Image from: Phantom Empire, The (1988)
Image from: Phantom Empire, The (1988)
The title for this knowingly silly straight-to-video crap-fest from Fred Olen Ray sounds like one of George Lucas's dreadful Star Wars prequels. The fact is that the entire budget for Olen Ray's film wouldn't cover the cost of one of R2-D2's diodes. The Phantom Empire is so impoverished that it borrows the naff silver vehicle from the Logan's Run TV series, steals shoddy stop-motion dinosaurs from some long forgotten film from the '60s, and recycles Robby the Robot of Forbidden Planet fame, swapping his original head for one with a laser-firing green 'eye'.

The plot is little more than a predictable lost-world tale of the type we have seen many times before (but rarely as lousy): Denae Chambers (Suzy Stokey) hires adventurers Cort Eastman (Ross Hagen) and Eddy Colchilde (Dawn Wildsmith) to lead an expedition to a subterranean land inhabited by cannibalistic troglodytes, sexy cavewomen, and a leather clad alien in silver boots (played by busty B-movie babe Sybil Danning); there they hope to find a fortune in precious gemstones. Also along for the ride are mineralogist Professor Strock (Robert Quarry) and archeologist Andrew Paris (Jeffrey Combs).

The weak set-up leads to lots of wandering around the same couple of caves, the characters occasionally attacked by the monsters (men in plastic masks and joke shop wigs). I guess that all one can really hope for with this kind of z-grade nonsense is that what little budget there is will allow for some cheapo gore, and that at least one or two of the aspiring actresses will take off their clothes. As far as the splatter is concerned, the opening minutes prove promising, with a hokey decapitation, but the rest of the film is completely devoid of blood and guts. As far as T&A is concerned, Stokey fails to do the honours, and Danning disappoints with one of her rare non-nude roles, leaving it up to scream queen Michelle Bauer as a sexy 'Cave Bunny' to tick the T&A box, baring her chest with only ten minutes to go.

Review by BA_Harrison from the Internet Movie Database.