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 is released from psychiatry, when he agrees with the doctors that the terrible happenings in his past were just in his imagination. But once he's free, he contacts Redge and they team up to hunt down and eliminate the "Tall Man", who plunders the graveyards and steals the corpses with help of his terrible dwarfs. A beautiful strange girl starts to appear in Mike's dreams. He assumes she's in danger and needs their help - will they find her before the Tall Man can do her any harm? Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
(at around 22 mins) When Mike is in the room with the female cadaver, after he looks at the girl and walks back towards the door one of her legs moves when she's supposed to be dead. This happens just before the camera shot is fully on Mike by the door. See more »
I want to stop him.
The Tall Man? That story about me blowing up my own house because it was infested with midgets. Mike, that wasn't real. Your doctor said that it was your own paranoid delusions caused by your brother's death.
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Final credit (copyright notice): "...violators will face severe civil and criminal penalties and the wrath of the Tall Man." See more »
In the tradition of other horror movie franchises, Phantasm takes the action route for this sequel. The horror and sci-fi are still there but there's more combat, stuff blowing-up and gore than there was before. I suppose it does keep things fresh but it does get a bit too tongue-in-cheek sometimes. Kinda like Evil Dead II, I'm not sure if this really fits in with the tone set by the first film.
Phantasm II begins right after where the first film left off. The freaky dwarfs have invaded Mike's home and Reggie must foil the Tall Man's attempts at kidnapping him. Flash forward seven years and Mike is in a mental institution. He is released upon admitting that the whole Phantasm experience was made up only to find that in his absence the Tall Man has been plundering many of America's small towns and thousands of graves are empty.
After the Tall Man kills Reggie's family in a gas explosion, Reg teams up with Mike to hunt him down and kick his head in...again. All they have to do is follow the trail of dead people, right? And this time they are ready for whatever outlandish tricks he's ready to play on them, armed to the teeth with quadruple-barrelled shotguns, flame-throwers and chainsaws. Complicating matters are Mike's inexplicable visions of the future and psychic connections to a mysterious girl he has never met before.
As before, the Tall Man is the best thing in the film. Angus Scrimm is so wonderfully silent and unholy that no matter how slick and entertaining the rest of the film is he'll come out on top.
Don Coscarelli was given a budget 10 times that of the original by Universal, but they did interfere with production quite a lot, much to his annoyance. They said that only one of the original cast members could return, so he chose Reggie Bannister and re-cast Mike with James LeGros (after turning down Brad Pitt!). It does kind of ruin the continuity a bit but it's not terribly distracting.
They also demanded a more simple and linear story, so don't expect any of the bizarre dream sequences and flashbacks. If you're a big fan of the first this might seem disappointing but you know how studios love to think less of their audiences.
The higher budget helps Phantasm to have a bigger scope than the original. The first half of the film feels like a road movie with lots of pretty scenery while the rest is kind of like a low-rent Ghostbusters/Lost Boys clone. Which sounds like a negative point, but the hokey tone of the film vanishes when it heads off into HP Lovecraft territory.
If you're looking for answers as to what the first film was all about then you won't find many. In fact it raises more questions than anything else. But it's still a fun ride. I'm just kind of annoyed that the music took the more generic synth approach that was common in the 80's instead of the funky 70's beats we got before. The main Phantasm theme is still there for your enjoyment however and gets a great finish on the end credits.
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