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Phantasm (1979)

R | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 1 June 1979 (USA)
A teenage boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber known only as the Tall Man, who keeps a lethal arsenal of terrible weapons with him.

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Mike (as Michael Baldwin)
Bill Thornbury ...
...
Kathy Lester ...
Terrie Kalbus ...
...
Caretaker (as Ken Jones)
Susan Harper ...
Girlfriend
Lynn Eastman-Rossi ...
Sally (as Lynn Eastman)
David Arntzen ...
Toby
Ralph Richmond ...
Bartender
Bill Cone ...
Tommy
Laura Mann ...
Double Lavender
Mary Ellen Shaw ...
Myrtle Scotton ...
Maid
...
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Storyline

Mike, a young teenage boy who has just lost his parents, afraid to lose his brother follow him to a funeral, where Mike witnesses the Tall Man lifting a coffin on his own. Mike decides to investigate, and discovers that the Tall Man, protected by his flying spheres, is shrinking dead bodies down to half their normal size and reanimating them as slaves. It is then up to Mike, his brother, and Reggie the ice cream man to stop the Tall man.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If you're looking for horror that's got balls...IT'S FOUND YOU. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for nudity, violence, and intense scenes | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 June 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Morningside  »

Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$11,988,469 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Visurama)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Don Coscarelli rented all of the filming equipment used to make this movie, always on Fridays so he could use it all weekend and return it on Mondays, all the while only actually having to pay one day's rental on the equipment. See more »

Goofs

(at around 10 mins) Early in the movie after Jody and Michael return from joyriding, Jody's friend Toby pulls up outside the house and Jody asks him, what brings you to town? Just a couple of scenes earlier, Toby and Jody can both be seen lifting Tommy's casket from the hearse because they were both pallbearers at Tommy's funeral. However, this scene was a flashback showing how Mike found out that Jody was going to be leaving and could have taken place before the funeral. See more »

Quotes

Reggie: Hi guys. Heh heh, just thought I'd come over and see what was going on before the kids got out of summer school. Hey Mike, you want to ride along with me today? It's pretty warm outside and the ice cream's going to be flying fast and furious. Remember how good you were at crowd control last time? Hey, what's going on here?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The cable TV version has a extra text in the credits that reads "enter the Tall Man's Mausoleum if you dare at www.phantasm.com" See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Vampire Raiders (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Sittin' Here At Midnight
by Bill Thornbury
Thornbury Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
This gives new meaning to the word "BOOOYYY!"
21 March 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In 1980, Magnetic Video released the full length 90-minutes long version on video, with a difused glow throughout the entire film. In the latter part of the 1980s, the film was issued again on video, but one sequence (which takes place in near complete darkness in The Tall Man's glowing white room) was accidentally edited out by the people supervising the film to video transfer. This version of the film ran 87/ 88 minutes in length. When Phantasm was issued on DVD in the late 1990s the scene was restored, but the colour balance and the soft diffusion was corrected, which I think robbed the film of some of its atmospheric effect. My review is based on Magnetic Video's 1980 release.

This haunting, dreamlike hallucination of a movie was written, directed, photographed, produced and edited by Don Coscarelli, it doesn't make much sense but it's still a great bit of fun to watch with the lights turned out. This kid named Mike convinces his older brother Jody that there is something weird going on at the local cemetery. So he and Jody break into the old mausoleum and find out that it's actually some kind of factory where people are killed by a flying metal ball, crushed down to a height of about 3'2", dressed up like little monks and packaged up into round metal garbage cans and shipped off for use as slave labour in some other dimension. A dimension ruled and resided over by the six and a half foot tall mortician (known throughout the entire ordeal as just simply "The Tall Man") working at this cemetery. When The Tall Man kills another friend of theirs, they decide to put and end to him, or at least try to.

This movie has many different layered meanings, over the years some people have said that it's a reference to corporate America coming in (in the form of The Tall Man) and killing off everyone (by turning everything into a 'business') and some have said that this movie is also about a kid's loss of innocence and fears about everyone around him leaving (or in this case dying) Whatever the hell this movie is about, it's still great fun, followed by a couple of really disappointing (and belated) sequels.


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