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Phantasm (1979)

 -  Horror | Sci-Fi  -  28 March 1979 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 19,867 users  
Reviews: 251 user | 138 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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Title: Phantasm (1979)

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Cast

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 ...
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, 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 <cnicker@bgnet.bgsu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This ball wants to play with you...for keeps! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 March 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fantasma  »

Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 1971 Plymouth Barracuda was chosen because Don Coscarelli remembered a guy in high school had one, and was a little envious of him. A Barracuda was made to look like the Hemi 'Cuda. Though in one scene you can see the designation of 440-6 on the hood. Indicating the car had a 440, with a "six pack" (3 two-barrel carburetors).Bill Thornbury then took the car to a friend of his and had it custom striped so it felt like it was really his car. The true purpose of the car was so the brothers Mike and Jody could have a means of bonding. In fact, A. Michael Baldwin learned to drive in that car, he was only 14 at the time! After the movie was finished, the car was sold, and to this day nobody is sure what really happened to it. As a result the black Hemi 'Cuda became just as much of a hallmark to the series as the chrome spheres. See more »

Goofs

When Mike is hiding in the casket in the mortuary display room, we see him peek out from under the partially raised lid of the casket, with his Bic lighter resting on the side of the casket. An immediate cut to a longer shot from above shows Mike raising the lid the rest of the way and starting to climb out, but as he raises his right arm from inside the casket we see that the Bic lighter is clenched in his right hand. See more »

Quotes

Reggie: Okay. I see it, I see it all now. What we gotta do is we gotta snag that tall dude and stomp the shit out of him, and we'll find out what the hell is going on up there. Yeah! We lay that sucker out flat and drive a stake right through his Goddamn heart!
Mike: You gotta be shittin' me, man! That mother's STRONG!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Smallville: Hex (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The Chrome Sphere is 70s classic
7 November 2003 | by (U.S.) – See all my reviews

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 notch, unfortunately.

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 the film.

It's a labor of love by the truest fans of this film.

7 out of 10


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