Elvis Presley and a black "JFK" stay in a nursing home where nothing happens - until a wayward Egyptian mummy comes and sucks out the old people's souls thru their a-holes. The two decide to fight back.
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.
Although released in 1979, the copyright date shown during the closing credits of this film says MCMLXXVII (1977). See more »
(at around 1h 11 mins) After Reggie makes the physical connection between the two nodes on the gateway, he falls backward onto the floor. In the letterbox edition, the ropes used to pull him back toward the gateway are briefly visible as he falls. See more »
Now, remember: you don't aim a gun at a man unless you intend to shoot him. And, you don't shoot a man unless you intend to kill him. No warning shots. Hey, you listening to me? No warning shots. Warning shots are bullshit. You shoot to kill, or you don't shoot at all.
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The remastered version begins with the Bad Robot logo appearing in one of the Tall Man's spheres. See more »
There is a confirmed first workprint cut of the movie that apparently went over three hours long in length. It's been speculated that most of the excised footage from this version though served as padding and unnecessary characterization that merely slowed the overall pacing of the movie. Despite there being over ten minutes of deleted footage being officially released over the years through previous releases of the movie and through recycling in Phantasm IV: Oblivion, much of the missing footage from this first cut has never seen the light of day. However, it has been stated by Don Coscarelli at a screening of Phantasm: Remastered (Frida Cinema, 10/13/18) that he may consider releasing this cut someday through limited distribution after having been asked by a fan. See more »
Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) and his older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) are mourning the death of their parents in a small Oregon town. Together with their friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister), an ice cream man, they must do battle with a nefarious undertaker known only as The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) and his various minions...not to mention a neat flying sphere that can puncture skulls.
Writer / director / cinematographer / editor Don Coscarelli truly hit paydirt with this enduring fan favorite, a horror / fantasy classic that spawned a franchise spanning over three and a half decades. A great film it is not, but it sure is a fun and entertaining one. Admittedly, the acting is mostly amateurish and our heroes less interesting than our villain. But Coscarelli clearly enjoys himself playing with as much "it's all supposed to take on the tones of a nightmare" shtick as he can. He never does worry about any of this making sense.
Baldwin, Thornbury, and Bannister are at least likable as our heroes, especially Bannister, whose character turned into more of a badass as the series went on. Kathy Lester is alluring as a mysterious "lady in lavender". But "Phantasm" ultimately belongs to the imposing Scrimm, whose appearance is very memorable. "BOOOYYY!!!"
The film also benefits from a music score by Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave that is pretty catchy, in particular its haunting, somewhat "Halloween"-esque main theme.
The main set piece involves the sphere mutilating a caretakers' face; Coscarelli fought the MPAA to keep this sequence in the film and actually succeeded.
Worth watching, at least once, by devotees of the horror genre.
Seven out of 10.
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