or, “Diana Gets Kidnapped a Lot”
or, “A Pulp Romp that Just Didn’t Come Together”
Actual Ghost of Phantom’s Dead Father (Narrating) – Okay, let’s get this exposition and backstory over with. Four-hundred years ago the Sengh Brotherhood of pirates attacked a British ship and killed everyone but one little boy who washed ashore. The natives immediately rescued the boy, endowed with a skull-shaped ring, and made him their protector. I realize that may sound kind of racist, but please remember this is based on pulp comics from the 1930s. Each time a Phantom gets killed, his son steps up as the new Phantom. And here’s where we get to my kid…
Bengalla Jungle, 1938:
Quill – Where the hell are we going again?
Thug 1 – The kid we kidnapped says we’re going in the right direction but we’ll have to cross a rickety bridge that may not hold the weight of the truck.
Quill – Just to prove what a total douche-bag I am, we’ll cross the bridge on foot and make the kid drive the truck. Then we’ll tie the kid up so we’ve got him to drive back later. [[does so and they head into the jungle]]
Hidden Native – In theory, I could shoot some poison darts or something at these strangers to stop them from entering a haunted/sacred cave. Or, you know, not. I’ll go get help or something.
Thug 2 – So what are we looking for?
Quill – A skull.
Thug 3 – Dude, this whole place is covered in skulls! It’s like the freakin’ Catacombs of Paris in here. I am literally standing on skulls!
Quill – A silver skull, idiots, not a human skull.
Thug 4 – Oh, you mean this one by the upright skeleton? [[tosses it to Quill only to have the skeleton come to life and strangle him despite Quill’s attempts to shoot it]]
Thug 1 – What happened?!
Quill – This skeleton strangled him!
Thug 2 – That seems unlikely, boss. I mean, we heard shots and everything.
Thug 3 – And if that’s true, are you sure you should be taking that skull?
Quill – Shut up and let’s go.
[[A mysterious figure wearing purple spandex and riding a white horse being trailed by a wolf pursues the bad guys; please do not ask what the hell a horse and wolf and spandex are doing in a jungle]]
Thug 2 – Who the hell is the weird guy in purple?
Quill – A guy I already killed! Seriously, I totally killed him!
[[the Phantom manages to take out the unnamed thugs but Quill stabs the Phantom and escapes and the Phantom elects to save the kid tied up in the back instead of going after Quill; one nerve-wracking and slightly goofy rescue later (who knew that ropes strong enough to hold a truck upside-down aren’t strong enough to hold a whole bridge), the Phantom and the kid are safe but the bridge is a lost cause]]
Servant – Please stop getting yourself stabbed, Ghost-Who-Walks.
Christopher “Kit” Walker – Eh, it happens. Anyway, this provides a great excuse for me to walk around without a shirt. Also, allow me to provide some exposition about that stolen skull and how it pertains to the plot.
Actual Ghost (the Narrator) – Do you think you could have delivered that exposition any more woodenly?
Kit – What do you want? I had a bad day. I got stabbed.
Actual Ghost – Well, we all make mistakes, son.
Kit – I also lost one of the three magic skulls that when united would make the wielder powerful enough to rule the world.
Actual Ghost – You idiot! You better go get that back!
Servant – Sir, are you alright? You’re talking to no one again.
Kit – I’m having a really bad day.
Thug 2 – We were attacked! By a ghost! A ghost who walks!
Lt. – Do you think the rumors about the Phantom are true?
Captain – Of course not! How could they possibly be true? That’s crazy talk.
New York City, Swanky Party:
[[Diana Palmer returns from adventuring on a night her uncle is giving a charity fundraiser]]
Uncle Palmer – I’m so glad to see you, honey! Also, there’s a guy here who’s going to hit on you!
Diana – And my aunt here wonders why I spend all my time adventuring.
Aunt Palmer – Yes, well, you could bother to dress better when you show up. Oh, Xander Drax is here.
Uncle Palmer – And he can just get the hell out of here again.
Drax – What? Why? I don’t understand your hostility towards me, or all the reporters you have following me around. It’s as though you think my smarmy demeanor and overall sleeziness indicates I might be a bad guy or something.
Uncle Palmer – Yeah, or something.
New York City, Swanky Party, Later:
Uncle Palmer – So this is why Drax is a bad guy. He’s going to steal these magic skulls and take over the world. I need to get this important message to the Bengalla Jungle Patrol but I can’t leave now.
Diana – I’ll go! I should be perfectly safe as long as one of these two guys isn’t a stoolie for Drax.
Mayor – Um, yeah…that… [[he promptly tattles to Drax]]
The Ocean, Somewhere:
[[Diana’s plane has been forced down by sky pirates]]
Sala – Okay, we just want Diana Palmer. She steps forward or we kill everyone.
Diana – I’m Diana. And I’m going to pull off your mask so I can see who I’m dealing with.
Sala – And I’m going to let you so the audience can see I’m a sexy lady sky pirate captain. Then I’m going to knock you out. [[does so]]
Servant – Diana Palmer’s been kidnapped, Ghost-Who-Eavesdrops-On-Radio-Traffic!
Phantom – Really? I know her! Better go save her.
Servant – I hope this works out better than your last mission…
Quill – Okay, time for the threats, Diana. And I’m going to creepily hit on you.
Diana – Yay.
Sala – I’ll hit on you too.
Diana – I-I am confused by that.
[[Phantom sends Devil the wolf to scout ahead and apparently no one notices a wolf hanging around, then drops into rescue Diana]]
Phantom – I’m here to rescue you!
[[group of stunned and half naked ladies stare at him]]
Phantom – Sorry, wrong room. [[steps out and manages to interrupt Sala’s petty theft of Diana’s boots]] I’m here to rescue you! Hey, another lady pirate?
Sala – I hire only women to work for me.
Phantom – That’s-that’s totally hot, actually.
Diana – Hello, she’s got a gun!
Phanton – Yoink! [[takes gun]]
Sala – I like a man with good reflexes. [[kisses him]] Shall I show you around the ship?
Diana – [[now freed, she punches out sexy lady sky pirate captain]] Honestly, can we escape now?
Phantom – Oh, right, that, sure. Follow me. No, seriously, I get that you’re spunky and all, but please just stay back and follow me.
Diana – Whatever.
[[they promptly get captured]]
Quill – I totally killed you! I’ve got the scar on my face! How are you still alive?
Phantom – I’m a ghost?
Quill – Whatever, I’ll kill you again.
Devil – Rawrrr!! [[jumps on Quill, which somehow gives Phantom the strength to throw off the three guys that had been holding him; Diana breaks free and they escape in a seaplane that of course gets shot full of holes while the bad guys pursue in a jeep and with some guys on horses because why the hell not, I guess]]
Devil – <Master took off in a plane! We need to catch up to him! He’ll need us!>
Mr. Ed (I guess) – <How the hell am I supposed to catch up to a plane?!>
Devil – <It’s a movie! You’ll be fine!> [[the animals race off]]
Phantom – Uh-oh, we’re out of gas. I sure up my trusty horse shows up so we can jump off this plane and ride away to safety!
Diana – What? There is no way that’s going to happen!
[[Actually, it does but then the bad guys come bursting out of the jungle from a completely different direction the plane was flying in and chase Phantom on horseback, which works until some natives helpfully capture two of them]]
Phantom – Hey, I’ve got a present for you, woman I just met and have no prior relationship with in any way.
Diana – I find that touching and not creepy or suspicious at all.
Captain – Ah, the Ghost-Who-Stalks. So, you rescued the heiress? Good, good. Now, what was the message?
Diana – This piece of paper with a spiderweb thingy.
Captain – The Sengh Brotherhood! This is really bad!
Phantom – Yeah. Get Diana back to safety. I’ll follow up this lead.
New York City, Drax’s Office:
Drax – So, everyone, you can see from my fabulous slideshow that the real money can be made in plastics, and world domination.
Mayor – You really think we needed a marketing slideshow to be convinced to go along with your plan?
Mob Boss – It was lame. I’m out of here.
[[Drax kills him with a handy-dandy spear]]
Drax – Wow, that just makes my shoulder hurt. Anyone else unimpressed with my master plan?
Others – Nope, we’re good. That was awesome. Sign us up.
New York City, Uncle Palmer’s Newspaper:
Kit – Hey, Diana, long time no see. I’m in town because I, um, felt like it.
Diana – That’s convincing. You totally left me, you jerk.
Kit – I, er, had stuff to sort out. Anyway, we need to find that silver skull.
Annoying Suitor – There’s a green skull in the history museum. Is that close enough?
NYC, History Museum:
Diana – Well, my uncle knows the curator… [[Kit smashes the glass and grabs the skull]] Or you could just do that.
Drax – I’ll take that!
Kit – How the hell did you get in here? I mean, seriously, you were literally not here two seconds ago!
Drax – Yeah, weird, isn’t it. Okay, people, nothing to see here except for the crazy light show the two skulls put on as their laser eyes point out the location of the third skull.
Quill – Wow, it’s really handy that this place has a partial world map that happens to be of just the part of the world where the third skull is.
Drax – You are killing my buzz here. Go kill this guy I don’t even know and we’ll kidnap Diana again.
Diana – What? Why?
Sala – The Phantom rejected me, and I’m totally hot, therefore he must totally be into you. So we keep you as a human shield.
Diana – Feh. If you cared about someone, you wouldn’t be evil. Or something.
Sala – Your oddly worded and poorly delivered guilt trip makes me re-consider my life.
Quill – Boring! C’mon, sexy ladies, I want to see a cat fight!
Sala – I’m up for that.
Drax – We don’t have time for that right now! Just go kill this guy, what’s his name, whatever. Move it already.
[[naturally enough, Kit gives the bad guys the slip, changes clothes (where the hell was he keeping his Phantom outfit anyway unless he’s the Ghost-With-A-Pocket-Dimension) and manages to hitch a ride on the airplane with Drax and Co. as they head to the Devil’s Vortex, which sounds like the name of a tile in “Forbidden Island“]]
Drax – Wow, this uncharted island is great! It looks like an old-fashioned pirate lair complete with a moat of hungry sharks!
Sala – Someone is going to get eaten by sharks and I do not want it to be me. Diana, we should team up or else we’re not making it out of this alive.
Diana – Your inevitable betrayal of Drax works for me!
Sengh – Hey, dumb-ass, the pirate lair is full of pirates, and I’m the boss. Who the hell are you?
Drax – Xander Drax. Wow, that’s totally not having the awe-inspiring effect on you that I imagined. Here, let me spell it out for you. My names begin and end with ‘x’ and I am seriously awesome.
Sengh – I am physically incapable of looking any more disdainful of your ridiculous posturing. Kill them all.
Quill – Wait! I’m a member of the Sengh Brotherhood! See the tattoo! Also, I’ve killed the Phantom.
Sengh – Fine, fine, you live for now. And we’ve all killed the Phantom, except for Phil in accounting, and that’s because he doesn’t get out much. Why are you here?
Drax – I want that shiny gold skull you’ve got so I can unite the three magic skulls and rule the world. You can help, you know, on weekends and stuff.
Sengh – If it were that easy, we would have done it already. You need the fourth skull or the power will destroy you.
Drax – Whoa, there, what fourth skull? There’s been no mention of this anywhere in the movie. Surely you’ve heard of Chekhov’s Law?
Sengh – I am so not interested, but I’ll take the pretty blonde.
Diana – Ugh!
Phantom – I’ll save you! [[thus starts a fight with the pirates as Drax waits for his moment to get the skull, Diana and Sala team up in a sexy lady duo, and Phantom feeds Sengh to the sharks because someone was going to get fed to sharks, but in the end Drax gets the skull]] Okay, ladies, get in this mini-sub missile thing and I’ll stop Drax and Quill and follow you in a minute!
Sala – That doesn’t make any sense!
Diana – It’s better than staying here! Probably! [[they get launched]]
Quill – I killed one Phantom and I’m going to kill me another!
Phantom – That was my father!
Quill – Wait, that’s the secret? The Ghost-Who-Walks actually dies and his son takes over, over and over again? You’re really just Dude-Who-Inherits-Purple-Tights? Wow, that sure will take away from your reputation when I get back and tell everyone! Because I’m assuming I totally live through this!
Drax – These laser beams are awesome! [[Accidentally incinerates Quill]] That’s still pretty awesome! And now I’ll kill you!
Phantom – You know that thing the pirate said about the fourth skull?
Drax – I really wasn’t listening to him because it didn’t seem relevant at all.
Phantom – Oh, well, it is kind of relevant because it turns out I have this skull ring.
Drax – You’re going to fight me with that? That’s unbelieveable! [[unbelievable or not, that’s exactly what happens and Phantom manages to push the laser beams right back at Drax, who explodes]]
Phantom – Man, I love me these deus ex machinas. Oh, hey, better catch that sub thingy! [[does so and is pulled to safety as the island explodes, taking the three magic skulls and a bunch of pirates with it]]
Sala – So we’re out in the middle of nowhere near the remains of an uncharted island in an area of the ocean specifically known for downing ships. How are we getting out of here again?
Phantom – Hey, next scene!
Sala – What? Hey, a seaplane. Okay, well, whatever, I guess.
Diana – So, Kit, when are you going to tell me your identity?
Phantom – Er, so you guessed. If I take my mask off, we have to get married.
Diana – Okay. [[he takes his mask off and they kiss]]
Phantom – Right, and now you go back to New York with the sexy lady sky pirate captain and I’ll stay here and be superhero-y and stuff.
Diana – What about getting married?
[[Diana and Sala fly off as Phantom rides through the forest/jungle looking manly]]
Actual Ghost (Narrating) – For those that came in late, my idiot son managed to let two totally awesome women get away from him, but luckily Diana had the sense to eventually come back and make him settle down and have little Phantoms. Also, it was nice he avenged my death. So I guess he did okay after all, except for, well, acting.