A group of scientists have developed the Resonator, a machine which allows whoever is within range to see beyond normal perceptible reality. But when the experiment succeeds, they are immediately attacked by terrible life forms.
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.
Two orphaned boys, Mike (Michael Baldwin) and Jody (Bill Thornbury) notice some strange things happening at Morningside Mortuary. Bodies are disappearing from coffins; a lady in lavender has sex with men in the graveyard and then stabs them to death; little midgets in brown cloaks (making sounds like lions) are roaming about and there's a flying silver orb with spikes that embeds itself in people's heads! And then there's the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) overseeing it all...Soon Mike, Jody and their friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) are fighting for their lives...
The story is pretty thin (and REALLY out of whack at the end), the acting dismal, there's no characterizations or depth and some of the special effects are horrible but...this is STILL a classic horror film. It takes a while to get going (nothing much happens in the first half hour), but when it does there's scarcely a letup. Action leaps into high gear, there's some fairly graphic gore (including the now infamous flying sphere killing), there are plenty of scenes guaranteed to make you jump and the music score is very spooky...right up there with "Halloween". Also some of the special effects are impressive (considering there was no budget). Also Bill Thornbury is a VERY attractive man and there's gratuitous male and female nudity. What's even more surprising is Don Coscarelli wrote, produced, directed AND edited this at the age of 24! He's never matched it since and all the sequels really suck...but this stands alone as a classic. A must-see for all horror fans. Also Scrimm is EXCELLENT (and damn scary) as the Tall Man.
Trivia: This was awarded an X rating FOUR TIMES because of the sphere killing...Coscarelli went all the way to the head of the ratings board who overturned it and gave it an R--a rare occurrence that the ratings board kept in a gore scene!
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