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Phantasm II (1988) Poster

(1988)

Trivia

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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One of the headstones in the film bears the name "Alex Murphy", a reference to RoboCop (1987).
Brad Pitt auditioned for the role of Mike.
Reggie Bannister's wife was present on the set on the day Bannister's love scene with Samantha Phillips was shot.
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).
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.
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.
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.


Sam Raimi, good friends with Don Coscarelli, actually visited the set on more than one occasion.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops greatly objected upon the movie's release, labeling it "morally offensive."
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.
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.
Alchemy was written as a buxom blonde in the script.
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.
The scene in which Father Meyers has one of his ears cut off by a sphere had to be filmed twice because the first take was missing an essential frame showing the sphere cutting off said ear.
The explosion of the house was done in a single take.
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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This was the lowest-budgeted film Universal produced in the eighties.
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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 2-story 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 $200 from the State of California, under the condition that they would move it from the site. The house was rigged with primer cord, mortars, black powder bombs and a plenty of gasoline and blown up. Afterwards, the company kept their word and removed what was left of the house.
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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 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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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 movie marks James Le Gros' first starring role in his acting career.
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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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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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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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