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Film / The Monster of Phantom Lake

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The Monster of Phantom Lake is the first film by Christopher R. Mihm and the first film in the Mihmiverse Shared Universe. It is notable for having established the series' primary setting in southeast Wisconsin and for introducing some of the franchise's biggest running gags, such as the concept of the Phantom Lake Canoe Cops.

The film takes place sometime in the 1950s, near Phantom Lake in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. The movie's opening scene reveals the lake has long been the site of illegal toxic waste dumping. One weekend, Michael "Lobo" Kaiser - a former soldier and local kook - falls into the deadly waters and is transformed into a Muck Monster with a deadly touch. This coincides with two different groups camping by the lake on that same weekend. One is a group of teenagers celebrating their recent graduation from high school. The other is local college science instructor Professor Jackson and his research assistant, Stephanie Yates, who are examining the local animals and discovering some truly frightening mutations.

This film provides examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: The two toxic waste dumpers.
  • Beat Cop: The Canoe Cops - a special division of the Phantom Lake Police Department, who patrol the lake in a canoe instead of a patrol car.
  • Body Horror: Lobo is transformed into a Muck Monster.
  • Botanical Abomination: The Monster.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Officer Sven, who randomly notes that his uncle thought eating frogs could make you psychic.
  • Creator Cameo: Christopher R. Mihm plays the "Gruff Man" who is dumping the toxic waste into Phantom Lake.
  • Credits Gag: The person and events in this motion picture are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons (living, dead and/or horribly mutated by Atomic Waste) or events is unintentional.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Professor Jackson is never to be found without one.
  • Dramatic Pause: Professor Jackson takes quite a few of... these.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: It seems like Officers Gustav and Sven are killed off in this movie, only for them to show up in the sequel!
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Professor Jackson.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The title says it all.
  • Final Girl: Elizabeth. She's the only one of the teens who survives the movie.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Elizabeth.
  • Green Aesop: Granted, "Don't dump toxic waste into the lake because it might turn people into monsters." isn't much of a message, but it's fits the 1950s's idea of environmentalism.
  • Muck Monster
  • Mutant: Lobo is changed into one after being exposed to the toxic waters of Phantom Lake.
    • Also, the "Spider-Frogs" that Stephanie discovers.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Professor Jackson
  • The Professor: Professor Jackson, naturally.
  • Science Hero: Professor Jackson
  • Screen-to-Stage Adaptation: This movie was later adapted into a stage musical, with the same title.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Michael "Lobo" Kaiser. It is said that he went crazy because of what he saw during World War II and he wound up killing his wife and going to live in the woods.
  • Shout-Out: Michael Kaiser is the name of the actor who wore The Monster of Phantom Lake costume, as well as the name of the soldier who becomes the title monster. (A different actor, Mike Mason, plays Kaiser pre-transformation.)
  • The End... Or Is It?: The movie ends with a "The End?" as it is revealed that another Monster has emerged from Phantom Lake.
  • The 'Verse
    • Establishes the setting of Phantom Lake, Wisconsin.
    • Introduces the Canoe Cops.
    • Introduces the character of Professor Jackson.
  • Those Two Guys: The Canoe Cops.
  • Toxic Waste Can Do Anything: The toxic waste is responsible for accelerating mutation among the local amphibians and transforms Michael "Lobo" Kaiser into The Monster of Phantom Lake.

Alternative Title(s): Monster Of Phantom Lake