Mike, a young teenage boy who has just lost his parents, is afraid to lose his brother. This fear causes him to follow his brother to a funeral, where Mike witnesses the Tall Man lift a coffin on his own. Mike decides to investigate and discovers a horrible world where the Tall Man, along with his flying spheres, shrink the to half their normal size and reanimate them as slaves. It is then up to Mike, his brother, and Reggie the ice cream man to stop the Tall man. Written by
Chris Nickerson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The stone-looking interior of the mausoleum was actually constructed of plywood and marble-colored plastic contact paper. See more »
(at around 1 min) Mike crashes his dirt bike from a side angle but in the second shot, the bike goes from flying upside down to dead still. The bike was obviously just sitting there in the next angle while Mike jumps into the edit. See more »
I just don't get off on funerals, man, they give me the creeps.
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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 »
There are two things that stand out in this film. The Tall Man (played
by Angus Scrimm) and the chrome sphere with hook-like blades that stick
out of it. Those are the two main elements when it comes to this horror
series directed by Don Coscarelli.
The Tall Man comes from another dimension where he takes some of the
earth's dead back to his home planet, reincarnates them and turns them
into slaves for his world. He even occasionally murders some earth
people in order to speed things up. Why wait for them to get old and
die natural deaths. That would take too much time, right? And what
better earth profession he can hide his identity behind than that of a
funeral parlor director.
Everything goes smoothly for the Tall Man until Mike Pearson (Michael
Baldwin) witnesses him carting a body away that's supposed to be buried
in the ground. At first his brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) doesn't
believe him, but when Mike shows him a cut-off finger surrounded by
'yellow blood' in a little wooden box he had saved as proof, Jody
starts to believe him.
Excellent scene of the chrome sphere zooming down the funeral parlor
hallway and 'accidentally' digging into the skull one of the Tall Man's
henchmen. A little screw appears out of it and starts to bore a hole
through his skull, ejecting the excess blood out a hole in the back of
the sphere. I wish there was more of the sphere although we'll get to
see a lot more of it again in PHANTASM II (1988).
I also like the portal gateway scene where if you go through the two
chrome poles, you'll get to see the Tall Man's alternative universe
where the slaves are busy carrying caskets down a stone pathway. We
even get to see Ice Cream Man, Reggie Bannister almost get sucked
through it as well.
I won't give away the ending but let's just say the Tall Man is
temporarily disposed of until the next sequel comes out, although the
dream element that's supposed to encompass the whole sequence of events
in the film, is a big negative against it. In fact, it brings it down a
Even so, I consider PHANTASM to be one of the best horror films of the
1970s. It managed to keep Avco/Embassy in business so they could bring
us later horror stuff like ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1980); THE FOG (1980)
and DEAD AND BURIED (1981)
The MGM DVD also has a lot more extras on it than you would expect from
other DVDs released by the same company, including 8mm
behind-the-scenes footage of the making of PHANTASM; a 1979 interview
down in Miami with director Coscarelli and Angus Scrimm; an appearance
at a 1989 Fangoria convention by Scrimm, and movie & TV trailers for
It's a labor of love by the truest fans of this film.
7 out of 10
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