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Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998) Poster

Trivia

One very difficult scripted sequence required filming on Wilshire Boulevard, the largest street in Los Angeles, only it had to be devoid of any people. As closing this major thoroughfare would be impossible and massively expensive, Don Coscarelli and his crew came up with a novel approach. Just minutes before sunrise on Thanksgiving holiday morning, the crew was ready to film, guerrilla-style, with the key actors A. Michael Baldwin and Angus Scrimm. They took over the street, without permission, and had ten uninterrupted minutes of filming with absolutely not a soul in sight. They only had that roughly ten minutes to film, but still managed to shoot the scene as they wanted it.
The synopsis for the canceled "Phantasm's End" script written by Roger Avary goes as it follows: "The year is 2012 and there are only three U.S. states left. Between New York and California is the wasteland known as the Plague Zone. Unfortunately, the evil Tall Man controls that area. Since many people are dead, the Tall Man is able to make thousands of dwarf slaves for his planet daily in the Mormon Mausoleum. Besides him, the other residents are "baggers," human-like creatures that are infected by the Tall Man's blood, the dwarves, and, of course, the silver spheres, all trying to break out of the barrier that contains them and into the real world. A group of hi-tech troops are sent in to destroy the red dimension where the Tall Man gets his power. Reggie follows so he can find Mike after a series of nightmares he had. Will they be able to finally destroy the Tall Man for good?"
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Roger Avary, a self-confessed hardcore fan of the Phantasm series, wrote an epic screenplay originally called "Phantasm 1999 A.D." as a follow-up to Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994). It was set in a post-apocalyptic near future, featuring Bruce Campbell as a co-star. As the time passed and they couldn't get the budget needed (around $10 million) Don Coscarelli wrote and directed this fourth installment as a pre-cursor to the project, that was conveniently re-titled "Phantasm 2012 A.D." before sticking into "Phantasm's End" as the definitive title. Ultimately, when the financing for such an ambitious sequel couldn't be secured, the idea was scrapped altogether.
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After a very mixed fan reaction and some harsh criticism received in relation to Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994), Don Coscarelli decided that he had already gone too far in the action/comedy direction. Subsequently, he wanted to bring the saga "back to its roots" crafting a low budget sequel more focused in the horror and surrealist aspects of the story, in the vein of Phantasm (1979). At the same time, plenty of unused footage from the original film was located after having being lost for years. The conjunction of both things ultimately became the basis for Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998).
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Filmed in 23 days.
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The scene in which the demon trooper drools yellow gunk into Reggie Bannister's mouth was shot five times.
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Bob Ivy burned his feet performing the dangerous fire gag involving the exploding police car.
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Don Coscarelli's son, Andy, as well as fans Todd Mecklem and Roger Avary have cameos in the Civil War flashback.
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The dwarf that gets shot in the face with the hand-gun by Reggie was played by a very young Wendy Coscarelli, Don Coscarelli's daughter.
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The dagger seen in the film is the same prop used in Phantasm (1979).
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This is the only movie in the Phantasm series not to end up with a character being pulled through a glass.
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The song that plays during the end credits, "Have you seen it?", was actually composed and performed by Reggie Bannister and his band under the name Reggie "B" & The Yizz Wailin' Ya' Doggies. It is included in their 1996 album "Fool's Paradise".
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In the original script, Tim's character, portrayed by Kevin Connors in Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994), was savagely eaten alive by the dwarves at the beginning of the movie. But budget constraints prevented the scene to never be filmed.
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Don Coscarelli originally wanted to call this installment "Phantasm Phorever," but ultimately rejected that particular title because he thought it was too cute.
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The scene in which Reggie finds out that Jennifer's breasts are in fact spheres and gets attacked by them was directly taken from a dream sequence featured in the original screenplay for "Phantasm's End", penned by Roger Avary. His inclusion in Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998) was intended as a homage / tribute to this doomed Phantasm sequel project. The scene in question was even fully storyboarded in color and depicted Reggie (dressed up with his ice cream vendor uniform, another idea also picked up in Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998)) trying to get laid with a dominatrix hooker in a brothel room. To his surprise, he discovers that her breasts are spheres attached to her chest and gets attacked by them. In the struggle, he gets both of his hands drilled and, before one of the spheres can penetrate his skull, he suddenly wakes up and realizes it was just a nightmare.
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Don Coscarelli originally offered the part of Jennifer to A. Michael Baldwin's wife, Jennifer Bross but she declined. Heidi Marnhout was cast instead. Ms. Bross did provide, however, the crackling voice for the fortune teller.
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Angus Scrimm was suffering from laryngitis during the filming of the opening scene. That's why his usually deep Tall Man voice sounds more like Orson Welles.
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Fred Myrow, composer of the emblematic main theme as well as the music for all the movies in the Phantasm series, died shortly after the film's release.
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The old lady sitting in the rocking chair outside Jebediah Morningside's house, who also appears next to Mike while driving the hearse, is supposed to be the fortune teller from Phantasm (1979), originally played by Mary Ellen Shaw. In this movie, the character is played by an uncredited, unknown actress.
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The sequence with Reggie Bannister pulling up to the abandoned rundown motel in the desert was shot without permits. Moreover, said motel was actually an old shack that was redressed to look like a motel.
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Almost all of the silver sphere effects were done in camera.
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In the sequence showing Mike, Reggie, and Jody playing guitar and sitting on the hood of a car, the same actors A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, and Bill Thornbury are actually the ones playing the part. No younger actors were used at all.
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As a sequel to the movie series, an official Phantasm comic book was released, edited by Xmachina. It featured a script written by Stephen Romano and artwork, coloring and visual effects by Mike Broom, Noah David Henson, and Ricardo Bernardini. The first issue was available only in a limited edition of 2000 copies, all of them autographed on the cover by Don Coscarelli.
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In a 1998 interview, writer director Don Coscarelli stated Phantasm IV was being filmed "just to make money out of the series".
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Reggie Bannister's future wife, Gigi Bannister worked on the production with the gory special makeup effects.
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Once again, the entire crew was forced to spend several long nights working in the cold, clammy real mausoleum of Angeles Abbey in Compton, California, among the entombed dead.
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The movie's working title was "Phantasm IV: Infinity", but it was changed for "Phantasm IV: Oblivion" during post-production.
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