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Phantasm II (1988) Poster

(1988)

Trivia

Brad Pitt auditioned for the role of Mike.
This was the lowest-budgeted film Universal produced in the eighties.
One of the headstones in the film bears the name "Alex Murphy", a reference to RoboCop (1987).
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Reggie Bannister did all his own stunt work for the film except the scene where he has to jump over a chainsaw, which they wouldn't let him do.
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The film's $3 million budget was 10 times larger than that of Phantasm (1979) and the biggest one in the entire series.
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Don Coscarelli has revealed that some elements of this movie were influenced by Stephen King, specially a few aspects of his novel 'Salem's Lot'. A small part of it at the end, when the characters go out on the road chasing down vampires, gave him the "road movie" idea of Mike and Reggie chasing The Tall Man.
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Reggie Bannister's wife was present on the set on the day Bannister's love scene with Samantha Phillips was shot.
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Don Coscarelli admits to the following direct influences by Universal during the making of the movie:
  • The illusory style of the first movie was discouraged and a more linear plot line with voice over narrations of various characters was required.


  • No dreams by characters were allowed in the final cut.


  • A female lead had to be added as a love interest for the character of Mike. Actress Paula Irvine was cast in the part.


  • Universal executives wanted to recast both A. Michael Baldwin and Reggie Bannister because they were unknown and had been out of the movie business since the release of the first movie. Don Coscarelli resisted their efforts and was forced to audition A. Michael Baldwin and Reggie Bannister for the opportunity to reprise their roles. In the end, his efforts won him a concession: he was allowed to keep one of the two, but had to replace the other; Coscarelli chose to keep Bannister and cast James Le Gros in Baldwin's place.


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There is a scene showing one of the Tall Man's henchmen smashing bone fragments with a hammer to be mixed with ashes and placed in an urn. The cremated remains are funneled into a bag labeled "Mr. Sam Raimi." During production, director Sam Raimi made an appearance at a shoot for Phantasm II. Raimi later directed Darkman (1990) for Universal Pictures, who also produced Phantasm II.
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The casting of James Le Gros has had a conflicted effect on the cast members. LeGros reportedly enjoyed his time on the production and got along very well with the cast and crew. Nowadays, Don Coscarelli, Angus Scrimm, and Reggie Bannister all speak glowingly of their experience with him. A. Michael Baldwin, however, appears to remain bitter about the incident: in the audio commentary for Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994), he twice referred to Phantasm II (1988) as "the film which shan't be named" and has stated in a podcast interview that he considers it a terrible movie.
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The new look and destructive weapons of the silver spheres seems to be heavily inspired by a short story entitled "Second Variety" written by Philip K. Dick, of whom Don Coscarelli is a devoted fan. Said story features a lethal type of small robots known as "claws" and literally described as "a churning sphere of blades and metal" that attack from ambush "spinning, creeping, shaking themselves up suddenly from the gray ash and darting towards any warm body".
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A sequence involving an entire house exploding in flames was filmed using a genuine house which was in the path of the California 105 freeway construction. The production company bought the house for $500 from the State of California, under the condition that they would move it from the site. The original house was one story but a second story was added to match the house from the first film. A safety officer was sent to supervise the stunt and kept restricting the amount of explosives due to the fact that the house was near an airport. When he asked what movie the scene was being filmed for and was told it was Phantasm II, he responded "This is Phantasm?... Blow the hell out of it" and allowed them to use as much explosives as they desired. The house was then rigged with primer cord, mortars, black powder bombs and a plenty of gasoline and blown up. The sequence was shot with six cameras and was tightly choreographed with Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, and Lorie Loughlin (doubling as a young Mike) requiring to walk or run away from the fireball of the explosion on film, all in one take. It also doubled as Reggie's house when the Tall Man kills his family by blowing up his home later in the film. Afterwards, the production company kept their word and removed what was left of the house.
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One of the undertakers can be seen filling a plastic bag labeled "Mr. Sam Raimi" with ashes. "Ash" is the name of the character played by Bruce Campbell in the The Evil Dead (1981) series, directed by Sam Raimi.
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This is the first entry in the series to feature the biggest, most destructive and deadliest kind of sphere: the Gold Sphere. It's the one armed with a laser, that pursues Mike and Liz crashing through several doors and ends up killing an undertaker by drilling his body from the back to the mouth.
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After a time lapse of approximately 10 years, the project of a sequel to Phantasm (1979) was green lighted and got financed by Universal Pictures mainly because one of the main executives at the Studio was a big fan of Horror movies as well as being Coscarelli's former attorney.
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Due to its menacing look and killing properties, the cast and crew jokingly used to refer to the Gold Sphere as the "Rambo" sphere during filming.
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This is the only installment in the Phantasm movie series that does not include the entire original main cast (Bill Thornbury and his character did not appear in this film), and the only one to replace a main character with another actor (James Le Gros played the part of Mike instead of A. Michael Baldwin).
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Lori Loughlin played young Mike at the beginning of the movie, which picks up after the first "Phantasm" film. Loughlin was only seen from behind.
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Due to the fact that A. Michael Baldwin had aged considerably since the previous movie, a female body double (always seen from the back) was used to complete the flashback opening from the original film's ending.
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A special version of the final dialogue exchange was filmed exclusively for the theatrical trailer and television spots set inside the mausoleum instead of the hearse. This way; the dialogue could be featured in advertising and still not spoil the ending of the film.
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This movie marks James Le Gros' first starring role in his acting career.
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Alchemy was written as a buxom blonde in the script.
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A love scene between Liz and Mike with them appearing in different locations throughout was filmed, but cut from the final version of the movie because it didn't work.
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The scene in which Father Meyers has one of his ears cut off by a sphere was shot by having the actor lying on a table, with the camera laying on its side, giving him the appearance of standing upright. The sphere was then just dropped by his head and the fake ear appliance was pulled off his head with monofilament by the effects crew. The sequence ended up having to be filmed twice because the key scene of the sphere passing by his head and the ear being cut off occurred in the split-second between frames on the film of the first take.
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The only Phantasm film in the series to be distributed by Universal Pictures.
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Reggie Bannister had quit acting in the nine years between Phantasm and Phantasm II and worked for a time at a funeral home and assisted in embalming bodies.
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Sam Raimi, good friends with Don Coscarelli, actually visited the set on more than one occasion.
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For the filming of the prologue sequence, Reggie Bannister dyed his hair black in order to look as young as he was during the last scene of Phantasm (1979), filmed 10 years before.
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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops greatly objected upon the movie's release, labeling it "morally offensive."
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This is the only movie in the Phantasm series not to feature the character of Jody, Mike's brother, played by Bill Thornbury in the previous and subsequent installments.
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Due to the passing of original sphere designer Willard Green in 1977 the newer, deadlier spheres including the ultimate killing machine Gold sphere, nicknamed the Rambo sphere, were created by Steve Patino and his then, 15 year old assistant, Steve Cotroneo. Sadly Steve Patino also passed away 11-19-94.
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The explosion of the house was done in a single take.
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Sam Raimi was listed as the deceased name on the bag for the cremated.
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