A teenage boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber, known only as the Tall Man, who employs a lethal arsenal of unearthly weapons.

Director:

Don Coscarelli

Writer:

Don Coscarelli
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4,232 ( 1,323)
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
A. Michael Baldwin ... Mike (as Michael Baldwin)
Bill Thornbury ... Jody
Reggie Bannister ... Reggie
Kathy Lester ... Lady in Lavender
Terrie Kalbus Terrie Kalbus ... Fortuneteller's Granddaughter
Kenneth V. Jones ... Caretaker (as Ken Jones)
Susan Harper Susan Harper ... Girlfriend
Lynn Eastman-Rossi ... Sally (as Lynn Eastman)
David Arntzen David Arntzen ... Toby
Ralph Richmond Ralph Richmond ... Bartender
Bill Cone Bill Cone ... Tommy
Laura Mann Laura Mann ... Double Lavender
Mary Ellen Shaw Mary Ellen Shaw ... Fortuneteller
Myrtle Scotton Myrtle Scotton ... Maid
Angus Scrimm ... The Tall Man
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Storyline

Mike, a young teenage boy who has just lost his parents, afraid to lose his brother follow him to a funeral, where Mike witnesses the Tall Man lifting a coffin on his own. Mike decides to investigate, and discovers that the Tall Man, protected by his flying spheres, is shrinking dead bodies down to half their normal size and reanimating them as slaves. It is then up to Mike, his brother, and Reggie the ice cream man to stop the Tall man.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Where the dead are no longer that way... See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for nudity, violence, and intense scenes | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the Tall Man reappears at Mike and Jody's house, the original idea was to have him still missing the fingers Mike had severed earlier in the film. A long, phony arm was created for Angus Scrimm to wear, but it stuck out over a foot beyond his actual arm. The idea was dropped, and the Tall Man's ability to regenerate missing limbs was devised. See more »

Goofs

When boy is getting to the back side of truck, you can see the beam lights filling the scene, meaning they would light up the back of the truck. Once he get's there, it's dark and there is no light. 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!
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Crazy Credits

The cable TV version has a extra text in the credits that reads "enter the Tall Man's Mausoleum if you dare at www.phantasm.com" See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1998 MGM re-released Phantasm on VHS to buy. The movie had a Newly Remastered Dolby Stereo Soundtrack. Also, after the movie the video featured 4 Minutes of scenes cut from the movie. The cut fotage was two scenes
  • The first involved Mike entering a room with 2 coffins, one is open and a body is inside, the other is closed but Mike hears sounds from inside it and thinks its Reggie. As he tries to open the coffin, Reggie enters the room. When Mike sees him and then realises that something unplesant is in there, together the two close the coffin. Mike then tells Reggie that they need to find Jody
  • The second scene had Mike and Jody run into the Tall Man in the funeral home. Jody shoots the Tall Man several times with his shotgun but it has no effect on him. He then knocks Mike onto the floor and picks up Jody by the neck with one hand! Mike sees a fire extinguisher and remembers when the Tall Man reacted badly when he passed by Reggie's Ice Cream truck with its refrigerator open. Mike realises the Tall Man can be hurt by the cold ,so he takes out the fire extingusher and blasts the Tall Man with it as he's about to kill Jody. The Tall Man withers in pain, suddenly he screams and his head explodes splattering yellow blood all over the walls!
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Connections

Referenced in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Sittin' Here At Midnight
by Bill Thornbury
Thornbury Music
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User Reviews

 
In it's own way, a horror classic
28 January 2004 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

Two orphaned boys, Mike (Michael Baldwin) and Jody (Bill Thornbury) notice some strange things happening at Morningside Mortuary. Bodies are disappearing from coffins; a lady in lavender has sex with men in the graveyard and then stabs them to death; little midgets in brown cloaks (making sounds like lions) are roaming about and there's a flying silver orb with spikes that embeds itself in people's heads! And then there's the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) overseeing it all...Soon Mike, Jody and their friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) are fighting for their lives...

The story is pretty thin (and REALLY out of whack at the end), the acting dismal, there's no characterizations or depth and some of the special effects are horrible but...this is STILL a classic horror film. It takes a while to get going (nothing much happens in the first half hour), but when it does there's scarcely a letup. Action leaps into high gear, there's some fairly graphic gore (including the now infamous flying sphere killing), there are plenty of scenes guaranteed to make you jump and the music score is very spooky...right up there with "Halloween". Also some of the special effects are impressive (considering there was no budget). Also Bill Thornbury is a VERY attractive man and there's gratuitous male and female nudity. What's even more surprising is Don Coscarelli wrote, produced, directed AND edited this at the age of 24! He's never matched it since and all the sequels really suck...but this stands alone as a classic. A must-see for all horror fans. Also Scrimm is EXCELLENT (and damn scary) as the Tall Man.

Trivia: This was awarded an X rating FOUR TIMES because of the sphere killing...Coscarelli went all the way to the head of the ratings board who overturned it and gave it an R--a rare occurrence that the ratings board kept in a gore scene!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 March 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Morningside See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,988,469

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,988,469
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | 4-Track Stereo (Visurama)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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