Phantasm (1979)

R  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  28 March 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 21,431 users  
Reviews: 260 user | 143 critic

A young boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber known only as the Tall Man, who keeps a mysterious arsenal of terrible weapons with him.



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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


Horror | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

28 March 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Morningside  »

Box Office


$300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The alien dwarves bear a strong resemblance to the Jawas of Star Wars, but the design for the dwarves was already completed before Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) was released. See more »


In the car chase, Mike shouts that there is no one driving the car behind them, however some poor lighting reveals a tall man driving the car. See more »


The Tall Man: [startles him, then shouts] The funeral is about to begin... SIIIRRR!
Jody: [scared] Okay! Sir.
See more »

Crazy Credits

With the exception of the title Phantasm appearing on-screen, there are no opening credits. See more »


Referenced in Horror Business (2005) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Phantasm - feel the love
19 August 2003 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Phantasm is possibly my favourite film of all time.Why? It's not about the budget or the hype of a film, but mainly about how this film makes me feel. Phantasm director Coscarelli crafted a little gem of a horror movie that has bought me more enjoyment than any major Hollywood film I can remember. I first saw Phantasm as a kid in the 80's and it has stuck with me ever since. It was great to rediscover this film on a beautifully mastered DVD.

For me, Phantasm combines a nightmarish quality that few horror movies achieve with a nostalgic trip back in time to the late 70's. The central theme is that of young Mike being abandoned by his brother Jody, and overcoming his fears. The cryptic nature of the Tall Man's presence adds to the tension, and Myrow's eerie soundtrack is the perfect finishing touch.

Like a nightmare, there is no explanation or attempt to pander to desires for a logical conclusion. The little touches such as Jody and Reggie's jam session add to the homely feel of this movie - it's like a well worn pair of jeans. It's crystal clear that no studio executives were in the editing room at the last minute, trying to turn Coscarelli's vision into another mediocre horror film . For the director, this film was clearly a labor of love. Coscarelli is still an outsider from the Hollywood system. I am grateful that he hasn't been sucked into turning out mediocre movies for major studios but has stayed somewhat true to the original spirit of Phantasm.

Many of the comments here on IMDB criticize the film for weak FX and poor acting. When viewed in the context of a genre film made by young industry outsiders for $300,000 in 1979, I think the technical values are exceptional. Critics who claim otherwise have no idea of the work involved in the process of creating a movie, especially before the advent of video.

I've seen Hollywood blockbusters made for many millions of dollars with great technical values, and yet I can't think of one that I can enjoy time and time again like this film. If you consider yourself a fan of horror movies, you owe it to yourself to own this classic on DVD.


57 of 68 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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